Choosing the right forwarding partner can be quite a daunting task. Freight forwarders provide crucial services and are in charge of storing and transporting your goods. Due to that, more often than not, the success of your business depends and is tightly linked to the quality of their work and reliability.
The question at hand then becomes – How do you choose a good freight forwarder? How do you ensure you have a legitimate and trustworthy partner? Let’s discuss the top seven tips to consider when selecting a freight forwarder so you can make a great choice.
Be Clear About Your Storage and Shipping Needs
You need to know and define what your needs are as a business. Be clear about the types of services you would like to have from your forwarding partner, the modes of transportation and the average volume of shipments. Such information is important and can help you determine whether the forwarder can help you or not.
Check If The Forwarder Meets Your Requirements
Once you have taken the above step, the next one is to check if the forwarder can be able to fulfil all your needs. Conduct research and look at a few viable forwarding services in detail. See what they offer and compare it to your list of requirements. It is also important to get acquainted with the terms and conditions, industry terms and legal framework while doing your research.
Evaluate The Forwarder’s Experience and Credentials
When you find a good forwarding service that seems to meet your list of requirements, check if they truly deliver on their promises. Has it worked with your type of cargo? Do you trust it enough to know it will handle your goods and be in control when it comes to taking care of problems? A forwarding service provider that has enough experience is able to tackle unforeseen difficulties such as strikes and shutdowns, rerouting cargo or custom problems. So requiring references is a good step to take as you need to be sure it has the ability to provide as needed.
Check If Your Partner Is Properly Bonded
It is also very important that your freight forwarder is financially sound and stable. Being delayed with transportation because of your forwarder’s financial troubles is something you don’t want to be facing as a business. Forwarders are required to get a freight broker bond to get their operating authority. The bond is issued only after a complete assessment of financial status. An additional plus, is that this guarantees you compensation if they do run into trouble.
Find Out About The Forwarder’s Network
The company you choose to work with to handle your cargo may be great. However, if it is not well connected with other forwarders and transportation companies, it might still not be able to deliver the services you need. Make certain the forwarder you pick has a wide network of agents and partners. What you can do is to check their carrier contracts too – the more diverse and numerous they are, the safer its operations.
Make Certain Your Forwarder Is a Member Of Professional Organizations
Reputable freight forwarders also form part of professional networks. Before making your choice and using their services, find out if they are part of any trade association, freight forwarding circle or other networks. A lot of times, being a member of such organizations needs proof of professionalism, legitimacy, efficiency and financial solidity. What better than to choose a forwarder that has all of these aspects?
Finally, make sure that your freight forwarding company knows how to treat and communicate with its customers. You can judge its customer service quality simply by how they interact with you when you first make contact regarding their services. Having to speak to a few people to handle one easy question for example is certainly not a good sign. The kind of service you receive is very important especially in cases where there is a problem with your shipment. Don’t you ever then settle for an inferior choice.
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Source: Supply and Demand Chain Executive