A freight forwarder provides services that transport goods from one place to another internationally. They play a role as a link between the actual shipper and the transportation service providers. Freight forwards are the most popular methods of international transport of goods for personal and business use.
What are the responsibilities of freight forwarders?
Freight forwarders hold many crucial duties to help goods move internationally in a safe and sound manner. Here are their specific responsibilites so you can know what to expect:
- Mediates between customer and company, helping to resolve disputes that may arise
- Arranges the entire process for shippers, from storage to shipment of goods
- Works with several carriers and negotiates pricing and reliability of the transport
- Narrows down the field of carriers while understanding specific requirements and dealing with legal formalities
Note: Freight forwarders are not responsible for any shipping delays. There can be many unforeseen weather conditions, port delays or route changes which would not be in the company's control.
What types of services do freight forwarders offer?
Freight forwards specialize in the supply chain process and assist you in many different areas of your international move, whether its for personal or business reasons. Here are the top six services they provide:
- Customs clearance
- Insurance for your items
- Packing your goods
- Inventory management
- Storage for your belongings
- Export and import documentation for international moving
How can a freight forwarder can help you?
Freight forwarding can be an important asset to you, especially if you are moving abroad. They can provide you and your belongings an additional sense of security and protection to help ensure a smooth move.
Ultimately, by deciding to use a freight forwarder, you will be given a hassle-free option to import and export your belongings. Freight forwarders can be beneficial to you by:
- Planning the most affordable, reliable, and time-efficient route to ship your items
- Making sure that the goods arrive intact and undamaged
- Coordinating delivery so goods arrive at the scheduled time
- Assisting you with packing and customs procedures
- Providing you with the benefits of a pre-established relationship with the carriers
- Suggesting the option of a one-stop payment
- Confirming important paperwork and documents is up-to-date and valid, such as:
- Documents related to the exportation of your belongings, including inventories
- The bill of lading, as completed by the customer and moving company
- Customs documentation prepared on behalf of their customers
- The terms and conditions for the individual move, decided upon prior to the shipment
- Giving you different types of ways to insure your goods:
- Basic liability coverage includes the repair or reimbursement for a certain amount per pound
- Replacement Cost Protection covers the repair, replacement or reimbursement of your lost or damaged belongings but not depreciation
- Depreciation Value Coverage allows for the repair, replacement or reimbursement of lost or damaged belongings while taking depreciation values into account
How can you find a freight forwarder to hire?
Choosing the right freight forwarder requires close attention to detail and thorough investigation, since they will be taking your precious belongings a very long distance.
You want to pick a freight forwarder that is trustworthy, honest, transparent, and reliable. You also want to avoid any freight forwarders that are scammers or have poor work ethic to protect yourself as well as your belongings.
Here are ways to approach finding the right freight forwarder:
- Contact various freight forwarding services to get estimates and to see what each company has to offer
- Ask your friends and families for referrals and go through customer reviews online for each company
- Find out information regarding the forwarder's number of years in service, types of services and insurance provided
TIP: A promising freight forwarder will proudly advertise their membership in the Household Goods Freight Forwarders Association of America, American Moving and Storage Association and the Better Business Bureau.
Freight forwarders take a lot of stress out of the moving process and help to ensure that your goods have a safe, trouble-free overseas voyage aboard an ocean or air vessel. When moving overseas, it is almost always a good investment to reduce your moving stress.