If you currently engage in international trade, or are considering doing so, you will have no doubt come across the term ‘freight forwarder’. If you are not sure what that means, in simple terms, a freight forwarder helps companies move their products from A to B in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
Freight forwarders contract with the most appropriate carriers – airlines, shipping lines or hauliers – to organise the seamless transportation of goods. They use their expertise in logistics to determine the best way to move goods, dependent on the nature of the goods and their destination – among other things.
Moving goods from one country to another can be complex and involves more than simply moving consignments. Freight forwarders should be able to help with the following aspects of exporting your products:
There are lots of advantages to using the services of a freight forwarder, not least of which being their expertise in this area that can be very complex and bureaucratic. They also have the contacts and buying power to secure much more favourable rates than you are likely to be able to achieve yourself.
Bear in mind though that you will need to do your due diligence as freight forwarding is not regulated so, in theory, anyone could trade in this area. They also don’t have any control over scheduling as this is the responsibility of the carriers that they contract out to or check with BIFA.org.
No, you can choose to oversee the whole process yourself, if you prefer. However, the vast majority of companies trading internationally do use them because it makes things much simpler and allows them to take advantage of their expertise and contacts.
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