Whether your business has traded internationally for many years or is on the verge of expanding, freight forwarding is a phrase you’ll need to become familiar with. The process of moving items between countries is complicated and governed by many rules. These help to ensure items abide by local laws, don’t pose a risk to those living these and can be delivered to the end customer easily. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about international shipments and the process of freight forwarding too.

What is freight forwarding?

Let’s start at the beginning – what exactly is freight forwarding. In short, it is the movement of goods throughout the world. This activity is done on behalf of companies that are involved in both the import and export of goods. Freight forwarding businesses are in place to help support the general public in these processes. They take care of everything from the general organisation of freight movement through to customs clearance and documentation handling.

How does freight forwarding work?

As we mentioned above, freight forwarders take care of all aspects of international shipments. This includes:

  • Organising transportation from the original location point. This could be a factory or warehouse. A freight forwarder will ensure your shipment is collected and delivered to the port or airport for shipment.
  • The preparation of relevant shipment documents. This includes any licenses, customs documentation and shipping requirements.
  • Negotiating the charges associated with all types of freight movement.
  • Booking and organising the loading of cargo on to your chosen freight type.
  • Arranging haulage.

Freight forwarders are your point of contact. Whether you’re working with an individual or larger team, everyone involved will have a detailed and in depth understanding of international cargo movement. This gives them the upper hand and means you don’t have to expend excessive energy learning these complexities for yourself. They are also there to help you create connection and to easily work your way through the importation and exportation process.

What businesses use freight forwarding?

Freight forwarders are particularly useful for businesses, regardless of size. No matter your industry, if you’re looking to sell or distribute your goods within another country, having a specialist on hand offers significant benefits. They are not a requirement for import or export. However, as a business owner, it is likely that you have limited resources to layout for all of the documentations and regulations needed to successfully move cargo.

Any business that deals with international transportation of goods will find a freight forwarder to be an invaluable asset to their company.

Benefits of working with experienced freight forwarder?

Freight forwarders save businesses money, improve shipment speeds and allow you to redirect resources to more valuable means. Some of the benefits they offer include:

  • Bringing in-depth knowledge of the logistics industry into your business.
  • Providing you with a global network of agents to create the most streamlined cargo movement process.
  • Leverage the volumes of freight that they deal with daily to reduce your costs.
  • Guaranteed time slots for the arrival of shipments.
  • The ability to identify the best method of cargo movement for your product and budget.
  • Management of required documentation to minimise hold-ups due to things such as customs restrictions etc.
  • Reduce risk when it comes to severe losses, damage etc…

How much does it cost to use freight forwarding services?

Generally, freight forwarders will agree to a quote to cover the entire process. This allows you to plan financially and ensure your consumer shipping fees are suitable. They’ll take into account everything from moving your item from the warehouse and through to the final direct location. As a consumer, you can request an itemised quotation which allows you to determine what is covered. In here, you’ll see information such as:

  • Detailed transportation fees. This will include sea freight costs, local transportation to the end destination and any other transportation that is needed.
  • Specific information about the product in question. This includes any additional charges that may be needed for very heavy cargo or specialist pallets.
  • Storage costs, if required.
  • Additional fees including toll fees, speedier delivery etc
  • Document costs for raising things such as exportation and importation paperwork
  • Insurances
  • Surcharges, including fuel fluctuations and currency exchange rates
  • Any admin fees or handling fees.

How to find the right freight forwarder for your business

As with any significant investment, either financial or time-wise, you should thoroughly research the freight forwarding companies available to you. Look for a company that has been in the industry for a significant period of time. You’ll want them to have built up a good database of contacts throughout the international shipping field and to have the resources to get you the best prices.

Get quotes from your top 3 suggestions to understand variations in prices and ask for as much detail as possible. This will help you to understand whether you’ll need to finance other essentials on top of your freight forwarding fee. And, from here, you can establish whether the quotes given will fit in with your existing pricing strategy.

Ask for information about the services that a business offers. You may not need all of them straight away but if you’re looking to grow, this may change. Understanding the full scope of what a company can offer will ensure you can develop alongside them and build long-standing relationships.

Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services – Freight Forwarder

Originally founded in 1996, Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services offers freight forwarding services within the South East of England. During this time, we have worked with many different countries, clients and suppliers. This has given our experts the knowledge and training needed to support you as you grow. We specialise in USA and Far East inbound and outbound movements while offering services to and from more other worldwide origins.

If you have any questions about the services that we offer and how they can be used to support your business, get in contact with the team here today.