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4 tips when choosing a freight forwarder

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1 – Understanding your requirements

You need to know exactly what you need before you even begin to look for a forwarder.

Decide on what mode of transport and what specific services you will need. In general, the type of transport you will need depends on a number of factors:

  • The products you sell (e.g. perishables or non-perishables)
  • Supplier production lead times
  • Product availability
  • Customer lead times
  • Source of supply (e.g. UK or abroad)
  • Customs and Excise rules (e.g. duty or quarantine)
  • Volume

Air

Airfreighting is commonly used by businesses for the delivery of goods from distant suppliers. This mode of transport is useful to deliver products with short lead times, fragile goods and products that are not bulky. Products in high demand and in short supply may also be airfreighted in order to meet customer demands. The bulk/value ratio will be a determining factor.

airfreight

Advantages

  • Fast delivery, usually between 24 and 48 hours
  • Customer is not kept waiting for order fulfilment
  • Reduced lead time on supplier
  • Improved service levels

Disadvantages

  • Flight delays and/or cancellations
  • Customs and Excise restrictions
  • Cost

 

Sea

Sea transportation is used by businesses for the delivery of goods from distant suppliers. Most sea transportation is conducted in containers which vary in size. Goods can be grouped into a container (LCL) or fill a container (FCL). Sea tankers are used for bulk shipments of loose goods such as oil, grain and coal.

Advantagessea

  • Ideal for transporting heavy and bulky goods
  • Suitable for products with long lead times

Disadvantages

  • Longer lead/delivery times
  • Bad weather
  • Difficult to monitor exact location of goods in transit
  • Customs and Excise restrictions
  • Could be costly

 

Rail

Businesses use rail transportation for the delivery of a wide range of goods including post, coal, steel and other heavy goods.

Advantagesrail

  • Fast delivery
  • Capacity
  • Cost effective
  • Safe mode of transport
  • Reliable

Disadvantages

  • Subject to unforeseen delays
  • Reliance on rail freight operator’s timetable
  • Suppliers/customers are not always located near a rail freight depot and delivery to/from the depot can be costly and time consuming

 

Road

A very popular mode of transport used by suppliers and businesses to deliver orders. Many transport companies provide scheduled delivery days and next day delivery services, depending upon your needs. Goods can be packed/grouped in box vans or in containers which are also used for sea transportation.

Advantagesroad freight

  • Cost effective
  • Fast delivery
  • Ideal for short distances, national or mainland Europe
  • Ideal for transporting perishables (e.g. fruit and vegetables)
  • Easy to monitor location of goods
  • Easy to communicate with driver
  • Ideal for sending by courier shortages to customers

Disadvantages

  • Transport subject to traffic delays
  • Transport subject to breakdown
  • Goods susceptible to damage through careless driving
  • Bad weather
  • Driving regulations can cause delays

 

2 – Do they have the experience you need?

 

What modes of transport do they have experience in? What commodities (e.g. garments, machinery, cars, food, garments, chemicals, perishables, hazardous, etc.), regulations and origin/destinations do they have experience with?

Not all freight forwarders can handle all of these combinations. Therefore it is important to ask potential forwarders what experience they have in your type of shipment. Usually they should be able to bring up examples of a similar shipment they have handled in the past.

 

3 – How will they manage your operations/shipment?

Who will be your point of contact for submitting documents, coordinating the shipment and who to ask for when there is a problem? Some companies may have several people, each handling a defined responsibility for your account or like us, you will get a dedicated person who will handle your shipment from beginning to end and you will be able to get hold of us 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. If you need to utilise our warehousing services, you will be also be able to track your items with our online inventory system.

4 – Do they have a network of agents in your destination country?

This is can be vital for any DDU, DAP, DDP shipments and also if your customer overseas has any unforeseen issues such as a port strike, customs issue or other delay. Their destination agent can help smooth out many of these issues.

Ideally you would want the freight forwarder to have an office overseas so that they can manage all imports or and deal with any issues but a company with a good partnership with a local agent who work with each other frequently would be just as good.

By |July 7th, 2016|Audio, Design, Photo|Comments Off on 4 tips when choosing a freight forwarder

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