A freight transport company picks up and delivers your freight from point A to point B, whereas a freight forwarder will receive your freight at a dock or airport or other international border, and then see that it is delivered the rest of the way. When shipping internationally and choosing a freight forwarding company, you need to understand what is involved and ask the right questions, since freight forwarding is a bit different than hiring one transport company to deliver your cargo to its final destination. Note some important factors when choosing an international freight company for your cargo.
1. Ask if they have agents in the destination country
This will be important so that you know your deliveries are handled in case of an issue with customs, if there is a port or dock strike, if there are natural disasters in that country of which you're not aware, and as laws change for accepting deliveries from the country of origin.
Having agents in the destination country can mean an easier transition to another type of transport company when needed, and being informed of anything that may delay your shipment immediately, as they happen. If a freight transport or forwarding company does not have agents in the destination country, they themselves may get information about delays well after they occur, and your shipments may be consistently late or otherwise held up at the border.
2. Note if they have multiple service contracts
A freight forwarding company often does not handle deliveries themselves, but works to find delivery companies that will pick up your cargo at the border and then take it the rest of the way. They should have multiple service contracts with a variety of delivery or transport companies. This will ensure that your shipments are not delayed due to one company being fully booked, and will also ensure your deliveries can be rerouted via rail, air, or another method when necessary.
3. Be sure they can assist with customs and other paperwork
You may prepare all your customs paperwork in-house, but a freight forwarder can double-check your papers and also note if anything additional is needed, such as placards on freight containers, licenses from various government departments such as fish and wildlife, and so on. Because the laws on imported goods will vary with each country, your freight forwarder should offer you assistance with your paperwork and not just with coordinating deliveries, so you know that nothing will hold up your cargo at the border.
Learn more by contacting companies like Star Freightlines.