We have been working with logistics companies for very large furniture fittings export . In this period , we met with many forwarders who wanted to get our transportation business and we have had a chance to get to know forwarder closer . Being on one side of the business gave us great knowledge in understanding what importers need from their logistics partner. We are going to tell you what we needed from our forwarders in the past and what ultimately made us decide which forwarder to work with.
Loading furniture fittings was stressful and at times challenging. Fittings are very time sensitive cargo and being late with your delivery to the customer may cause our partners delay in their manufacturing system . The clock is always ticking and you constantly need to be aware of your shipment status and they should be on top on of very shipment, with updated information.
Every industry has different expectations from a freight forwarder. Based on industry needs the expectations of a freight forwarder might change. For some corporations it is simply to bring the cargo from point A to point B with a competitive rate but for some it is more then a simple forwarding operation. They might expect you to provide additional value-added supply chain services if the need arises.
We believe the key word for me in the past when we were choosing our forwarder was “are they a trusted logistics partner?”. Now we are referring logistics services based on our experience and with our aim with my customers is to be a trusted logistics partner and be available whenever they need our assistance. All importers/exporters want to work with a trusted logistics partner who will help them grow their business. You want a forwarder working efficiently with excellent information flow who is always aware of your cargo status.
Here are some personal tips on how to choose a forwarder from someone who has been on both sides of the business, these are questions you should ask yourself before making your
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 local forwarder's agency 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 ?
7. Can they give you good references ?
Our partners always ask us 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?
9. Do they secure the best pricing with truck lines, air freight companies, and steamship lines ?
10. Please contact us for further assistance . ERA will be ready to assit for this matter anytime.