What Is A Freight Forwarder?

Transporting goods, especially internationally, can require a lot of documentation and paperwork. Not to mention the varying regulations that are entirely dependent on the country you’re shipping to. 

This article will not only answer the questions “what is a freight forwarder?” and “what does a freight forwarder do?” but also show you why a freight forwarding company like Freight Match can give you the best solution for your transportation needs. In doing so, it will save you time and money. 

What Is A Freight Forwarder?

A Freight Forwarder is a company or individual that organises shipments from the manufacturer to the final destination. Freight Forwarders offer assistance to customs, goods, cargo handling, transportation industries and stock consolidation. It involves the optimisation of the shipment of freight using different methods so that your freight is delivered in an efficient and cost-effective approach. 

There are many benefits to using a Freight Forwarder, the first involving accurate planning and performance. Lacking basic organisation and planning in your business will create issues when attempting to export goods around the world. A Freight Forwarder can handle the planning and save you time and money during the process. 

Hiring a Freight Forwarder means having access to more shipping services. You can have your goods shipped from A to B, whether it’s by air, sea or land. The Freight Forwarder company or individual can also offer you their expert opinion on what transportation mode best suits your goods, allowing you to save time and have that peace of mind.

A Freight Forwarder can also anticipate any legal issues as a result of their knowledge of international shipping. Additional caution should be taken when shipping food, items of children, and medical products because of the level of encounter. This can ultimately result in a product being pulled by Customs. Freight Providers will help you prepare for any potential problems to avoid future losses. 

What Does A Freight Forwarder Do?

Freight Forwarders handle the logistics, involving services such as risk management, documentation and the most reliable and cost-effective mode of transportation. Their focus is to ensure your goods are transported safely and without hassle to your customers. A Freight Forwarder offers services like insurance, packing, inventory management, storage, customs clearance and export and import documentation. 

Other services that Freight Forwarders can provide includes the assisting of dangerous goods and delivery tracking, as well as paperwork and documents to prevent incidents during the transportation process. Such paperwork consists of export licences, inspection certificates, original statements and commercial invoices. 

It’s important to note that a Freight Forwarder doesn’t actually move your freight but acts as the mediator between the shipper and transportation services like cargo shipping and goods shipped by air and rail. Freight Forwarding uses their relations with carriers to arrange the most cost-effective price to move goods on the best route. 

Here is an overview of the process: 

  • Export haulage: this is the first step where goods are transported from your location to the Freight Forwarder’s warehouse. 
  • Items checkpoint: Freight Forwarders will carry out an inspection to make sure the goods weren’t damaged or lost. 
  • Export customs clearance: Before goods are shipped they require clearance from the country they’re transporting from. 
  • Import customs clearance: the country of destination must inspect the items before granting clearance. 
  • Destination arrival and handling: as the final step, the Freight Forwarder must certify that all information is accurate and documents are received. 

The Difference Between A Freight Forwarder & Broker

As mentioned earlier, a Freight Forwarder is an individual or company that handles shipments from the manufacturer to the final destination. They are responsible for risk management, documentation and for finding the most cost-effective means of transportation. 

A Freight Broker is a transportation mediator between shippers and carriers. They also plan the logistics of shipments and ensure that both consumers and suppliers obtain the goods on time and without issue. 

The responsibility of a Freight Forwarder and Freight Broker vary depending on client contracts. A Freight Broker coordinates shipping and transportation activities. Because they don’t actually interact with shipments they aren’t necessarily accountable if something negatively impacts the products during transit. Instead of the broker being liable for any damaged goods, the shipping carrier or client must cover costs. 

Freight Forwarders are liable for the goods they transport as they directly handle and oversee shipments. When a client signs a contract with a Freight Forwarder, they’re handing over the responsibility to the Freight Forwarder. If a carrier loses or damages the shipment, then the Freight Forwarder must pay the client. However, by handing over liability of the goods being transported, the Freight Forwarder has the ability to handle logistics and business decisions.  

Freight Forwarders and Brokers both manage shipping goods, custom forms, counting inventory, insuring packages, unloading cargo, storing goods and writing international shipping agreements. 

The difference between the two is that Freight Forwarders manage the movement of goods, whilst a broker handles the entry of goods to ensure customs clearance. 

Do I Need A Freight Forwarder?

Ok so we’ve answered “what is a freight forwarder?” The next thing to consider is why your company might need a freight forwarder. 

Importing and exporting goods can require a significant amount of documentation, with regulations that vary depending on the country you’re wanting to ship to. That’s why you need a Freight Forwarder to help with the logistics, as well as knowing the customs laws and documentation. Using a Freight Forwarder can reduce stress and time as they help you with transportation industries, customs, goods, cargo handling and stock consolidation. They also find you the most competitive prices to suit your transportation requirements. 

Freight Forwarders are recommended for businesses encountering international shipment of goods, especially when domestic resources aren’t overly familiar with the procedures of international transportation. 

Using a Freight Forwarder can also help improve customer satisfaction. This is because the Freight Forwarder oversees the work that handles and organises shipping, offering you more time to attend to your customers and other business operations.

How To Find A Freight Forwarder 

Having now covered what is a freight forwarder, we can now focus on how to find a freight forwarder.

 Before getting started you should have a list of requirements for your shipments. These can include the number of services you need your freight forwarding company to provide, or specific storage, handling and transportation requirements. 

It’s important to do your research. Just google it! That way you can have a look at all the options available and what best suits your transportation requirements, whether you’re wanting to ship refrigerated goods, fresh produce, dangerous goods or bulk materials. 

Reading reviews from customers can also help you determine whether their services are reliable and worth looking further into.

Book With Freight Experts 

Finding a reliable and quality freight provider doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Freight Match is here to help!

Freight Match is an online freight matching service that helps you find quality freight options in only seconds. It’s a straightforward and easy process, just enter your location and destination details and choose the preferred time frame. No follow-up calls or emails, your quote is ready for you! 

Click here and get your free quote with Freight Match today. 

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