A freight forwarder collects merchandise or general goods from the clients and forwards them to the shipping company for being transported to specified destinations.
Since freight forwarding is an onerous responsibility involving huge monetary risks, it is imperative that you do due diligence before selecting a freight forwarding company. Here are some important points to consider before handing over your valuable cargo.
Size of the freight forwarding company
Check the sizes of the cargo generally dealt with the company to see if it is enough to handle your cargo requirements. Established air freight forwarding companies have contacts with various shipping companies and carriers. The reputation of the company ensures that your consignment is shipped on the first or the second vessel sailing towards the destination of your shipment. This problem becomes quite acute during times of space scarcity that happens in peak seasons.
Check if the freight forwarder possesses the special transport facility that can handle your cargo such as meats, vegetables and perishable commodities. Do the staffs have sufficient knowledge about the kind of commodity they are handling? Do they provide any insurance or guarantee secure transportation and delivery of your cargo?
Does the freight forwarding company have sufficient network of distributors or agents in the destination country so that your cargo reaches the clients safe, fast and at competitive rates?
Check that your freight forwarding company has adequate technological infrastructure to enable you to track the real-time location of your cargo during the journey.
Financial position of the freight forwarding company
Sometimes, the freight forwarders receive the freight charge from the consigners but use it in different accounts instead of paying it to the ocean carrier. As a result, the delivery is held up at the destination port and delayed. You may have to pay the demurrage and detention charges if you deal with unscrupulous agents.
Prompt and efficient customer service
Ensure that the freight forwarding company has efficient and knowledgeable customer service staff. In case of any major transportation issues, the last thing you want is to listen to background music with your call put on hold indefinitely. The company should actually provide you with a dedicated manager so that you can contact them directly in emergency situations.
Check the references
Ask the freight forwarding companies to share contact details of their existing and past clients. Spend some time to seek their stand on the quality of the company’s services and relationships.