How to Choose Freight Forwarder

How to Choose Freight Forwarder

1. Is the freight forwarder’s company big enough to handle your global business? How many service contracts do they have?
If it is important your goods are shipped with the first sailing vessel then you should work with forwarders who have various carrier contracts. This is also very important in peak season when space become a problem. If your forwarder has more than one carrier option then the chance of your cargo getting on board will be higher. Your forwarder can always find an alternate option if they have various carrier contracts.

2. Can the freight forwarder handle the product you want to ship or do they specialized in certain commodities?
Make sure the freight forwarder has some knowledge of your product.

3. Does the freight forwarder have a good network of global agents at origin/destination ports?
A good network of overseas agents ensures a smooth information flow which helps you to know where your product is and help you to get your product in a timely manner.

4. Is the freight forwarding company financially strong?
Even though you are the paying party, you should always check their financial strength. Let’s say you made your payment for the freight to your forwarder then you find out your cargo has not been released because your forwarder couldn’t pay to the ocean carrier. This might delay your cargo release and accumulate other charges such as demurrage and detention which might cause you to pay more.

5. How is the communication level with the freight forwarder?
Are you getting personal service or are you calling a 1 800 number and keep waiting on the line to get one simple answer? Are they switching your call from one person to another or do you have one designated person who handles your cargo? Are they picking up the phone when things go wrong or are they are nowhere to be found?

6. What is the freight forwarder’s document turnaround time? Are you getting the information you need on time?
Specially the air and sea freights, you will need documentations as quick as possible. Considering demorages in terminals, waiting cost should be more than freight cost.

7. Can they give you good references?
Ask for references, to see if their other customers are happy with them and what their customer satisfaction level is.

8. Does the freight forwarder have cargo insurance?
Check your tender if insurance is included. If you want insured freight, then you can ask insurance policy.

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