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Published On: Thu, Jan 31st, 2019

What Is International Freight Forwarding and Why Should Corporations Care?

Freight forwarding is an essential role in the seamless international shipping experience. Most businesses would not be able to import or export without the use of a freight forwarder.

Without international freight forwarders, shippers would be forced to absorb the overwhelming logistical burden of supply chain management. If that were to happen, it would drastically reduce the wherewithal of shippers to perform their key role in the global marketplace, selling commodities,” explained Joe Barry, CEO of CAF Worldwide.

CAF Worldwide is a leader in freight forwarding since 1982.

Freight forwarding is NOT the same as a customs broker–although many freight forwarders are now licensed as custom brokers. While customs brokerage is sometimes called “travel agents to cargo,” the freight forwarder is responsible for the planning and organization of the entire process from origination point to final destination and will interact with freight forwarders and supply chain managers on a regular basis.

Freight Forwarding: The Liaison Between All International Transportation Parties

Freight forwarders essentially arrange for the importation and exportation of goods on behalf of a shipper. Their primary customer is the shipper of the goods and they represent the shipper in all transactions.

These professionals manage all of the organization and complicated details of each shipment without any hassle or disturbance to the shipper. The global network of shipping associates a freight forwarder acquires is critical to the success of their shipments.

And they use the latest technology to create efficiency and save money.

photo/ Gerd Altmann

Daily Tasks

The tasks and responsibilities of a freight forwarder are nearly endless. Their roles begin with picking up the shipment and ends either at the port or at the door of the final customer of the shipper.

These tasks are highly varied, including insurance, storage, bill of ladings and airway bills, transport to and from the port, customs clearance, track shipments, file insurance claims, freight consolidation, negotiate freight charges, book cargo space and much more.

The daily tasks of a freight forwarder require attention to detail and superior organizational and communication skills. And they will work with nearly all modes of transportation. Shipping technology is essential to connect all the pieces of the shipping puzzle in a streamlined manner.

Users of Freight Forwarders

A wide variety of industry professionals will utilize the services of freight forwarders.

Banks will work with them to complete financial documentation required for the guarantee of highly expensive shipments. Trucking companies, air freight companies, railroad lines and ocean lines will all work with freight forwarders to book shipments and negotiate prices.

The most common user of these services are the shippers of import and export goods. Because freight forwarders do not charge excessive fees, small and medium-sized businesses are able to import and export alongside large corporations and enterprises.

If you have international shipments and you are a logistics manager, supply chain manager or customs broker, you will likely work with freight forwarders.

Benefits of a Freight Forwarder

You do not have to be in the same town, region or even country of a freight forwarder to use their services.

A freight forwarder works hard to establish a positive working relationship, and they will go out of their way to provide you with the ultimate international shipping experience. This is a priceless service. They leverage their shipping volume to secure the best prices possible.

Barry elaborates, “Freight rate negotiating can be a bit like walking a tightrope. The most-effective forwarders are those who can find a balance between appeasing trusted partnerships and practicing savvy deal-making, even if the latter means keeping their business open to bids from other carriers.”

They have all the right connections in domestically and internationally so you do not have to establish them yourself.

These shipping professionals are also aware of the most recent changes to rules and regulations, they know which products have limitations and restrictions and they provide peace of mind once the cargo leaves your dock so that you can focus on other shipments.

Freight forwarding is a critical component to the success of international shipping. It’s important to work with someone who is knowledgeable–not just about logistics, but also various industries, so that they know exactly what’s required. People who use a freight forwarder will save money, reduce labor hours spent on each shipment and improve customer satisfaction.

Author: Blair Nicole

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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