Making use of the opportunities
Personal shippers and businesses should be taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the existence of freight forwarders. For example, a recent survey of 100 randomly selected people showed that many are not conversant with shipping industry terminologies, let alone the services. Hence, it is not surprising that early analysis indicates that 8 out of every 10 participants in the survey had never heard of the term “freight forwarding.” Yet, this is an essential service at a time when many are now using online shopping. This article untangles the benefits of freight forwarding.
So, what is freight forwarding?
Freight forwarding is a service within the shipping industry that helps people, groups, and businesses organize or arrange their imports and exports. The freight forwarder deals with the logistical side, including tracking, documentation, and insurance. As the segment has grown, some freight forwarders offer more service options than others. However, the underlying principle is that customers choose services that best fit their needs. Nevertheless, these choices can be problematic if the customer is unaware of the services or is aware but does not fully comprehend them.
Apart from the convenience for individual shippers, freight forwarding is essential for businesses dealing with any form of importation or exportation. Firms with large volumes and complex shipments may delegate the entire task to the freight forwarder. In exchange, they anticipate high-quality services, such as full-time tracking in real-time, full compliance with regulatory requirements, warehousing merchandise, surveillance of the supply chain, visibility in case of bottlenecks, insurance subscriptions or claims, freight consolidation or deconsolidation, negotiation, collection, and delivery. These processes and procedures are essential if one is to ship merchandise successfully. However, that does not mean that the freight forwarder is the comprehensive and universal answer to every need in shipping. These are specialists in selected areas of practice.
Providing essential freight forwarding services to personal shippers
It is important to understand that the freight forwarder is hardly expected to physically handle the movement of your goods. That is the feature that distinguishes them from carriers that do this work. Rather, the freight forwarder is a reliable intermediary who removes the frustration from the inevitable administrative tasks when shipping and receiving goods or parcels. These logistics professionals have industry links with ports, carriers, and government officials to make the receipt and delivery of merchandise as smooth as possible. They are not just middlemen but critical links between the sender and receiver of merchandise.
The idea that one can make savings by not engaging freight forwarders is often misplaced since these actors in the shipping industry provide a vital service to business and personal shippers. For example, they offer guidance and advice on some of the most delicate matters in international shipping. They also help you avoid some of the bureaucracy or red tape that can be a stumbling block to international trade. For instance, there are many diverse regulations as your cargo traverses the globe. If you do not have an expert whose job it is to know and follow these rules, you are likely going to make a serious mistake along the way.
Businesses cannot do without freight forwarders if they wish to expand
Those having second or third thoughts about the need for freight forwarders must consider the needs and prospects of their businesses. If you hope to expand into new territory or to a new scale while keeping your customers happy, the support of a professional is of the essence. Having hired a freight forwarder, you can anticipate a business model that is transparent, organized, and flexible. By leveraging their exceptional customer care and networking competencies, these freight forwarders will open doors that were once closed for your business. In a competitive context, these freight forwarders must be the element that takes your business over the line.
Well-organized businesses that manage their obligations to their customers are generally more successful than those overwhelmed by demand. By consistently raising the standards of your engagement with the shipping and logistics industry, freight forwarders mitigate the burden of competing demands when addressing diverse customer needs. Even the small business units that have employed this type of service have achieved a sense of control over their operations and shipping. As a result, your supply chain will significantly improve when dealing with professionals rather than independently trying to navigate alien terrain.
A better option than third-party logistics companies
One of the advantages of using freight forwarders is the wide range of service scales they can offer. For example, a traditional third-party logistics outfit may be so large and complex that it cannot provide the kind of personalized small-scale attention that a small business is looking for. Freight forwarders bridge this gap by scaling up or scaling down their operations depending on the needs of the customer or supply chain. The freight forwarder is the human face behind the institutions and bureaucracies that run international trade for many small-scale or individual clients.
The simplicity of setting up working contracts with freight forwarders offers another advantage to customers. It is no longer the case that one must be tied to a single contract for months or years. Instead, they may only pay for the services that they are using at the time rather than having to maintain payments even during quiet periods. The trials and tribulations of the post-Covid 19 era mean that everyone is watching the pennies and cutting costs where possible. The use of freight forwarders can achieve this by accessing appropriate services at reasonable prices that are consistent with the clients’ needs at all levels in the hierarchy of businesses.
Overall, this article has highlighted the challenges of shipping that require the expertise and support of a freight forwarder. The article details the patterns of a lack of awareness about the true nature of freight forwarding services from business and personal shippers. Hence, the article has shown that these professions are the key link between clients and the vast machinery of the shipping industry so that they can access high-quality services at a reasonable cost. This is in addition to other benefits such as flexibility, accessibility, visibility, scalability, and the invaluable personal touch.
Article from Amanda Callahan, October 12, 2022