Since the Internet opens up global markets, a great number of are considering starting an import or even export business and are looking into selecting a freight company for the first time.
This can be baffling as the world of international freight is highly complex and the newcomer must be aware of some of the pitfalls associated with shipping forwarding.
The main role of all shipping services companies is, of course , to help importers and exporters transport their particular goods. But with varying requirements within each country and with many different transport options and routes to choose from, it is vital that you choose the right freight company to match the specific needs of your business.
To have the most out of your freight forwarding company, there are some simple tips and strategies to remember.
Firstly, avoid the common mistake of selecting your shipping organization on price alone: Using a shipping company can cut your costs since as they arrange for the transport associated with large numbers of consignments, they can consolidate a lot going to a single destination. A freight forwarder will be able to offer lower freight rates than you can negotiate along with carriers yourself. Of course , you should get quotes and compare costs from a number of freight forwarding suppliers to find the best level of cost and service for you : but do be aware that the lowest quote may not be the best option. Check out the degree of service carefully too. And watch out for any surcharges and additional fees that may not be immediately obvious. If you are a new comer to the world of international freight, it will also make a difference that you feel that the shipping firm will provide a guiding hand.
Be sure you use a freight services company that is a member of BIFA: There are thousands of freight forwarding businesses, so to sort the wheat in the chaff, use the freight forwarding business associations and in particular the British International Freight Association (BIFA) to draw up a shortlist. This is a membership body representing 1200 UK freight forwarding companies in the UK. BIFA and the Global Freight Forwarders Association (to which BIFA belongs) have codes associated with practice to which all member freight forwarding companies must comply, so this can help avoid problems and provide confidence that the shipping company you select features high quality. The freight transport industry associations can also help ensure that any disputes between freight companies and their customers are quickly solved.
Check relevant experience of shipping companies: To draw up your shortlist, look for freight services companies with experience of the particular routes and goods your company is dealing in. Ask for references through businesses with similar freight transportation needs. It is particularly important that the particular shipping company you select has great experience of the routes you need and also a good network of overseas brokers. Also check whether your freight services company understands the specific needs of your product type, such as whether it requires refrigeration. This is obviously very important for perishables and food, for example , but also bear in mind the potential impact on your product various climates. For example , if you are exporting in order to Scandinavia, have you thought about the feasible effect of frost? And if you are involved in China import, do you know what particular paperwork your import products will require?
Take advantage of secondary services from delivery companies: Many freight services businesses offer a wide range of additional services and logistics, including completing customs distance paperwork on your behalf, and paying any kind of taxes and duties owed. They also cover off any other documentation problems, such as Bills of Lading and insurance. Many freight forwarding businesses also offer help with inventory management or even supply chain management.
Some shipping transport companies can also help with gathering products from multiple locations or updating your customer about the standing on the freight delivery.
These extra services from your freight services company can help save your business time and money so do check out what exactly is available.
Provide full and precise information: When you choose to use a freight forwarding company, make sure you provide them with full and accurate information. The key thing to offer to your shipping company is a duplicate of the commercial invoice and the tariff classification for your goods (unless you have asked your freight services company to classify the goods for you. ) If you have it right first time, it will make your freight transport go more efficiently.
Check document turnaround time in the freight services company: How long will it take the delivery company to turn around key documents? It is important that this is fast plus streamlined, as time is cash – your money!
Use your shipping company for advice: You can use your freight services company as a source of information and advice about international trade. Many shipping companies have a wealth of experience, so tap into this valuable resource and make your freight company a genuine business partner.