If you’re a brand manufacturing your products outside the US, then international shipping is a key aspect of your supply chain. Managing shipping is a complicated task for any product company. The process, paperwork, and regulations involved in international trade can easily become overwhelming. It is for this reason that companies hire outside professional help to manage their shipping. These professionals are called freight forwarders.
What is a Freight Forwarder?
A freight forwarder is the intermediary between a shipper and various shipping services, not the actual freight carrier. A freight forwarding service utilizes established relationships with carriers like; trucking/rail companies, ocean freighters, and air cargo. By analyzing bids from a variety of carriers they are able to determine the most economical shipping route for your product. They are also able to negotiate the best possible price that balances speed, cost, and reliability.
Why Should You Use a Freight Forwarder?
A freight forwarder is not required for importing or exporting goods. However, there are several major problems that can arise when importing products like:
- Long shipping delays
- Damage to your product during transport
- Large fines resulting from improperly submitted customs/duties forms
Hiring a freight forwarder is a smart way to mitigate your shipping risks. When importing products from a factory in Asia, a freight forwarder manages the following:
- Shipping price negotiation
- Freight carrier coordination from factory to port, port to port, and port to delivery
- Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier documentation
- International payment
- Bills of landing
- Proper Customs documentation
- Insurance against damage
Another thing to consider is that every country has different regulations and required documentation for importing/exporting. Knowing the shipping companies, documentation, and customs laws of various countries is a freight forwarders’ job, so you don’t need to worry. Because of their established carrier relationships your product gets on a ship faster, clears customs without hiccups, and ensures safe delivery.
A good shipping partner will save untold time and potential headaches that you can out back into aspects of your business that matter most.
How Do I Hire a Freight Forwarder?
Blacksmith International customers do not need to worry about hiring a reputable freight forwarder as we manage that for all of our clients. However, this list from Global Trade Mag lists the top 10 freight forwarders for 2021.
If you have any questions about international shipping, we’d be happy to answer them. Contact Us anytime.