You need to get your goods from one place to another in an allotted time frame, preferably without breaking the bank. With so many moving parts in the shipping process, it can be difficult to keep track of costs and schedules. Freight forwarding companies advocate on your behalf to find affordable shipping and storage options.
What Is Freight Forwarding?
Freight forwarding is a bit of an abstract concept. Based on the name, you might assume that freight forwarding companies ship your products for you. However, freight forwarders are actually middlemen in the shipping process that manage the logistics of getting your merchandise to its final destination. They oversee the movement of your goods by finding other companies to ship and store them.
You aren’t required to use a freight forwarder when importing and exporting goods, but they can make the process much simpler and save you money along the way. Instead of hiring someone to learn the ins and outs of international shipping, you can partner with a freight forwarding company that handles customs documentation, cargo insurance, bills of lading, and supply chain logistics.
Advantages of Using a Freight Forwarding Company
Just as you don’t need a real estate broker when buying property or an insurance agent when purchasing insurance coverage, you don’t need a freight forwarding company. However, partnering with one will make the shipping process much more manageable. Because it is your freight forwarder’s job to understand the ins and outs of the international shipping process, they offer unmatched expertise.
Freight forwarding companies provide many services to assist you in moving international freight. Learn more about some of the supply chain solutions that freight forwarders offer.
Door to Door Shipping Logistics
Freight forwarders determine how to get your goods from the factory door to the customer’s door. As your product makes its way across the ocean and through the skies, freight forwarders determine companies to handle shipping and they follow up to make sure your shipments are on schedule.
Ocean Freight and Air Freight Management
Your products have to make it to a port to travel by ship or airplane. Freight forwarders choose inland transportation providers and ocean and air freight transportation companies to move your merchandise, and they can save you money on small shipments by consolidating freight with a combination of your goods and other clients’ goods.
Unless you want to risk delaying your shipment as it crosses borders, consider enlisting the help of a customs clearance expert. Before your shipment can even make its way into another country, you need a commercial invoice and thorough shipment documentation. Freight forwarders ensure these items are taken care of.
Storing and Warehousing
If you need a place to store your goods during the shipment process, freight forwarders will identify low-cost warehousing options for your merchandise. They will determine the best place to store goods and product components in various locations to create the quickest, most efficient shipping route.
While it does cost you to outsource your shipping logistics, you can save money in the long run by having a freight forwarder on your side. Freight forwarding companies use their relationships with domestic shipping companies, warehouses, air and cargo shippers, temperature-controlled freight carriers , and customs brokers to find cost-effective solutions.
Third-Party Logistics vs. Freight Forwarding
You may be wondering if there’s a difference between freight forwarders and third-party logistics companies. The answer is yes—freight forwarders act as brokers to negotiate prices and identify the best shipping companies and warehouses throughout the shipment process, whereas third-party logistics companies manage all of your shipping needs from start to finish. Third-party logistics providers play a more active role in the shipping process by handling your merchandise and providing customer service on your behalf.
Both freight forwarding companies and third-party logistics companies are great options if you want supply chain assistance. The right approach for your company will depend on whether you want to completely outsource your shipments or partner with a company to help you in the process.
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If you need assistance managing your company’s international shipments, freight forwarders will take care of documentation, transportation, storage, and customs compliance. Freight forwarding services can save your company time and money and ensure shipments make their way to customers as quickly as possible.
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