Do you need a freight forwarder to handle your exports?
A freight forwarder is an independent business that handles export shipments for compensation. At the request of the shipper, the forwarder makes the actual arrangements and provides the necessary services for expediting the shipment to its overseas destination.
Your freight forwarder performs many functions which can including some or all of the following:
- Arrange inland transportation of your freight from your warehouse to the airport or port of export
- Act as a consolidator combining freight for cost effective shipments
- Book your freight with an air or ocean carrier
- File the Shippers Export Declaration with US Customs
- Assist in preparing the required export documentation to execute your shipment
- Prepare and present letter of credit documentation for payment
- Provide insurance for international shipments
- Assist in customs clearance in the country of import
Freight forwarders provide a wide variety of services that can make your exporting experience very profitable. Few companies are set up to export without using a freight forwarding service. Choose your freight forwarders carefully based on their experience in your market. Freight forwarders often have niche routes and are not ideal for shipments to certain areas of the world. Ask questions about their service history to fully understand their capabilities before using a freight fowarder for the first time. There are different types of forwarders, air, ocean, small package (such as Fedex or DHL) or project cargo (oversize freight that can not travel by container but must go breakbulk).
You should use an RFQ (Request for quote) process between 2 or 3 forwarders to get competitive bidding for your business to make sure you get the best price. Using only one freight forwarder usually results in higher costs.