Six steps to choosing a freight forwarder
There are a few steps to take to make the best choice of freight forwarder for you and your industry.
1. Do your homework
Before you start your search for a logistics provider, it is important to analyze your company’s transportation needs, what kind of services your business will need, and the volumes you plan to ship. The right forwarder will be able to help you grow your business while maintaining a personal level of contact.
2. Consider industry experience & reachDoes this freight forwarder have experience in your industry? Freight forwarders are generally able to move cargo well, but they may not have specific expertise in your market. It is important to choose a company that has local experts in your field.
The freight forwarder you choose to do business with should have global reach. Are they located close to your customers and suppliers? Can they grow with you as your business expands?
3. Ensure risk managementBy nature, worldwide transportation offers unstable conditions. You need a freight forwarder who can mitigate risks and have the knowledge to handle issues when they occur. They should be proactive and offer solutions in a timely manner.
One risk mitigation strategy is cargo insurance. Be sure to ask about what kinds of cargo insurance are offered because exposing your company to standard carrier liability could prove to be a costly mistake.
Look for open communication and transparency. You want a partner during times of crisis.
4. Confirm a wide array of servicesIf your business requires multi-modal shipments or you need to store goods in a warehouse for a prolonged period, it is important to work with a freight forwarder who provides air freight, sea freight, road transport, and logistics solutions. You should discuss all aspects of your supply chain with possible forwarders to ensure they provides all the services you will require. If they are only local or are narrow in their offerings, they might not have the ability to be flexible when you need to step outside of the norm.
5. Ask about communication and customer service
Communication is key. Logistics is a tricky business and your forwarder should handle your freight from door to door. However, you need the details. Your logistics provider should offer online tracking, timely notifications, and personal calls when you have questions or concerns.
6. Check licenses, certifications and permits
Freight forwarders are required to have different permits and documentation to handle your cargo, as well as special licenses for carrying sensitive and dangerous products. Ensure that your provider has the appropriate licenses for you and that they are posted somewhere publicly.
Following these steps will help guide you in your search for the right freight forwarder for you.