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Choosing the right freight forwarder

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Five tips for choosing a freight forwarder:

 

Experience matters

In a business where dealing with the unexpected, from weather delays to labor disputes to customs clearance issues, is a routine occurrence, experience matters. An experienced freight forwarder will be able to anticipate and solve problems, such as a sudden need to re-route cargo, or resolve customs or warehousing issues. They will ensure that the cargo is appropriately packed and documented, and is loaded onto a known and reliable carrier.

Established companies have technical expertise and solid relationships with reliable agents and carriers. They are also financially secure, minimizing the risk to your delivery. A less stable and experienced company may not provide the same service.

The freight forwarder should provide the services needed for your specific shipment needs

There are many modes of transportation and types of cargo, regulations and ports.

An experienced freight forwarder can discuss with the customer the best mode of transportation and routes for the shipment. They should provide relevant complementary services such as assistance with packing, insurance and documentation. They should have experience in dealing with the content of your shipment and, in the case of hazardous materials, the required training to do so.

Reliable networks

It is very important that the freight forwarder has trustworthy networks in the countries that the customer is exporting to or importing from. Having known agents on the ground is critical in dealing with your shipment and any problems that may arise.

Good references

Ask the freight forwarder to provide current references and contact these references directly. Ask how any problems were resolved.

Excellent customer service

Along with excellent technical expertise involved in logistics and documentation, customer service is critical. It is important that the freight forwarder clearly understand each customer’s business needs and that they communicate effectively in a straightforward and timely manner. A flexible, adaptive and detail-oriented approach to issues is very helpful in sorting out any problems or situations that may occur.

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