A freight forwarding company acts as a middleman to arrange transportation of goods using air or motor carriers or ocean shipping companies, depending on whichever mode is ideal for the client. This company will manage the entire chain of events, so be sure to hire one that has good business sense and ethics. Fill in our user-friendly form below to help you find a freight forwarder quickly!
A freight forwarding company is also known as a third party logistics provider. Good ones are unbiased and consequently, can suggest the best transport mode for their clients, whether it be via air, ocean, sea, rail, road or a combination of two of more methods (known as intermodal). Members of the European Intermodal Association (EIA) know that they encourage industry players to use more than one method of freight transportation, consequently taking advantage of the benefits each method provides. A freight forwarding company will surely have vast knowledge of the maritime industry since 90% of world trade is done through international shipping. In this arena, freight forwarders are known as non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) or Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTI) and they are required to be licensed. Perhaps some of them will be members of the Logistics Association of Australia (LAA) or the World Shipping Council (WSC) and actively participate in finding solutions for the transportation industry.
If a freight forwarding company has been in business for a long time, it's a good sign that they have a solid network and strong reputation of reliability and timely results. It also means they have the expertise to administer paperwork like the bill of lading (or air waybill), Shipper's Export Declarations (SEDs), insurance and reporting. As such, they should advise you on certain rates like the General Commodity Rate (GCR) which is based on the weight of the cargo and the distance between the origin and destination points. If you are transiting goods by air, then you can check them yourself because the GCRs between cities serviced are published. In addition, a freight forwarding company might also offer Free Domicile services to the shipper, indicating that the consignor will pay all the transportation charges and duties and/or taxes.
It doesn't hurt to ask your freight forwarding company if it can give you a discount for large consignments or frequent moves. See if you can get a Negotiated Rate or Contract Rate to save some money and establish loyalty. On the other hand, the freight forwarder might want to charge you an Exception Rate if you are shipping hazardous materials, live animals, human organs for transplant or any other kind of special cargo.
People are starting to see the benefits of working with freight companies that cover the full supply and value chain in the logistics industry. Those that can sort, package, label and price goods may have an edge over those who do not. Some companies offer inventory management and use new freight tracking technology like Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) to scan and trace shipments. If a cutting-edge freight forwarding company can also offer warehouse management services, they could be using new voice-controlled software that makes it possible for computers to instruct workers via audible commands.