Freight forwarding is a service used by companies that deal in international or multi-national import and export. The freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between the client and various transportation providers. Sending products from one international destination to another can involve a multitude of carriers, requirements and legal concerns. A freight forwarding service handles the considerable logistics of this task for the client, relieving what would otherwise be a formidable burden.
A freight forwarding service is an asset to almost any company dealing in international transportation of goods, and is especially helpful when in-house resources are not versed in international shipping procedures. A good freight forwarding service can save the client untold time and potential headaches while providing reliable transportation of products at competitive rates.
Freight forwarding services guarantee that products will get to the proper destination by an agreed upon date, and in good condition. The freight forwarding service utilizes established relationships with a variety of carriers, from air freighters and trucking companies, to rail freighters and ocean liners. Freight forwarding services negotiate the best possible price to move the product along the most economical route, by negotiating various bids and choosing the one that best balances speed, cost and reliability.
A freight forwarding service generally provides one or more estimates to the client along with advice about the options. Considerations that affect price will range from origin and destination to special requirements, such as refrigeration or, transport of potentially hazardous materials. Assuming the client accepts the forwarder’s bid, the freight is readied for shipping. The freight forwarding service then undertakes the responsibility of arranging the transport from point of origin to destination.
One of the many advantages of using freight forwarding is that it handles ancillary services that are a part of the international shipping business, such as insurance, customs documentation and clearance. As a consolidator, a freight forwarding service might also provide Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) documentation, or bills of lading. Warehousing, risk assessment and management, and methods of international payment are also commonly provided to the client by the freight forwarding service.
Freight forwarding work has been compared to that of a travel agent who, like freight forwarders, bundles products to deliver a complete solution for their clients and customizes the service for each client to address their shipping requirements.