https://en.oxforddictionaries.com defines a freight forwarder as follows:
A company that receives and ships goods on behalf of other companies.
‘the freight forwarder chooses whether to ship a consignment by road, by rail, or by sea’
However, this is a very broad definition of the freight forwarders roles and doesn't take into account the many facets involved in a full service freight forwarding business. A more in-depth definition can be found at BusinessDictionary.com where they explain the roles as a freight forwarder as follows:
'Firm specializing in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers. It usually provides a full range of services including: tracking inland transportation, preparation of shipping and export documents, warehousing, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims. Freight forwarders usually ship under their own bills of lading or air waybills (called house bill of lading or house air waybill) and their agents or associates at the destination (overseas freight forwarders) provide document delivery, deconsolidation, and freight collection services. Also called forwarder.'
Too complicated? Let's break the value of a freight forwarder down for you.
A freight forwarder is a company that arranges your imports and exports of goods! We remove the stress away from the logistics process so you, as an importer or exporter, do not need to worry about paper work, customs, regulations and any element of the shipping process. Whether your a start-up or a large company, getting bogged down in this logistics process is a waste of your time and resources. A good freight forwarder will arrange any service you need and be able to offer you a door to door service. Many businesses struggle to grow because they do not find the right freight partner from the onset.
Freight Forwarders main functions
Here are just a few ways freight forwarders help you, whether you are importing or exporting:
Advice on export costs, including freight costs, port expenses, consular fees, special documentation costs, insurance costs and merchandise costs.
Planning the most appropriate route for a shipment, taking into account the perishable or dangerous nature of the goods, cost, transit time and safety.
Reservation and contracting of the necessary cargo space on a ship, aircraft, train or truck.
Advising and contracting insurance for transportation of the merchandise on behalf of the client and, if applicable, assistance in the event of an accident.
Advice on the most appropriate way to transport cargo and carry out the procedures for packing, stowing and loading the merchandise.
Preparation and presentation of documentation required for export and import, such as the CMR, Bill of Lading, Airway Bill, etc.
Handling with customs agents abroad to ensure that goods and documents comply with customs regulations.
Acting as an intermediary in customs negotiations around the world to guide the cargo efficiently.
Use of e-commerce, Internet technology and satellite systems to allow real-time tracking of the transport of goods.
Advice on legislation affecting international trade, political and social situations (strikes) as well as other factors that may affect the movement of goods.
How Does a Freight Forwarder Add Value?
There is a lot that goes into arranging your international shipping.
A freight forwarding service utilizes established relationships with carriers, from air freighters and trucking companies, to rail freighters and ocean liners, in order to negotiate the best possible price to move shippers’ goods along the most economical route by working out various bids and choosing the one that best balances speed, cost, and reliability.
As you can now appreciate a freight forwarder handles a considerable logistics process of shipping goods from one international destination to another. As outlined above, this task would otherwise be a formidable burden for a business to manage on their own.
International Delivery Service can assist you with all your freight needs, not matter the scale of your business. Give us a call today and find out how we can help your business!