Last week, we shared eight great reasons to choose a freight forwarder instead of working directly with a carrier to move your shipments. This week, we dive deeper into the work a forwarder does before your shipment even leaves your warehouse.
Getting on the same page
First, your forwarder will discuss your desired arrival time for your shipment, and any considerations that could affect its arrival. They then consult with you regarding things like Letters of Credit, Terms of Sales, and Incoterms.
Here’s a quick run-down of what those are and how they impact you:
- A letter of credit is a promise by a bank on behalf of the buyer (customer/importer) to pay the seller (beneficiary/exporter) a specified sum in an agreed-upon currency, provided that the seller submits the required documents by a predetermined deadline.
- Terms of sale define the buyer and seller’s obligations, risks, and costs for the delivery of goods that make up the export transaction.
- Incoterms are standard sets of terms and conditions intended to clearly communicate the costs and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods. Read our post on Incoterms here.
- Letters of Credit, Terms of Sale, and Incoterms all ensure buyers and sellers are clear, comfortable, and on the same page—essential before the shipment leaves the warehouse.
Working the logistics
Next, your freight forwarder will engage with the nuts and bolts of planning your cargo’s journey from point A to point B.
- reviewing all aspects of the move to make sure it aligns with all international laws, sanctions, and embargoes;
- giving advice on routings and potential conflict areas along the journey;
- climate considerations and impact on the commodities being shipped; and
- other risks and how to minimize them including cargo insurance, and packaging considerations.
Weighing your priorities
Your forwarder will ask you questions to understand what’s most important to you.
- Is cost the sole focus?
- Quick transit?
- Some combination of the two?
Your forwarder weighs these considerations when determining which carrier is most appropriate for you and your shipment.
Choosing a carrier
After all that groundwork has been laid, you and your forwarder will discuss carrier options. They’ll offer opinions regarding the carriers’ reliability to fulfill their commitments, and advise on which company can best meet your needs and priorities.
This thorough foundation is what separates freight forwarders from simply calling a carrier. Transportation companies don’t tend to focus on this preparation—they assume you’ve got the awareness and are doing the groundwork yourself.
Ready to connect with a seasoned professional who can guide you through all the steps of your cargo’s journey? With half a century of experience in shipping and freight solutions, we can help.
Freight Forwarding. It's what we do.
Information provided by: Freight Dept. - Cole International