What Questions Should I Ask A Freight Forwarder?

Sea Freight

Choosing the right freight forwarding company for your business is extremely important, as you want to find a company you can trust with your business or personal imports and exports. Before you choose a freight forwarder there are some essential questions you should ask them to make sure you know they’re the right company for you, which we have detailed below.

If you’re still looking for the right freight forwarder for your needs, feel free to get in touch with our team. With an established international network, we can efficiently ship all types of goods across the world. We provide free quotations on all freight forwarding work and would love to speak to you about your needs.

Do you hold any accreditations?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask freight forwarders. Accreditations demonstrate that the freight forwarders work meets industry standards. If they’re a member of industry associations, this not only demonstrates trust and expertise, but also a company that undergoes ongoing training and adheres to industry best practices.

Being accredited with IATA and AEO offers added benefits of being able to handle specialist goods and experience faster customs clearance, respectively.

At Seaspace International, we’re proud to hold the following accreditations:

  • IASA – International Air & Shipping Association
  • BIFA – British International Freight Association
  • IATA – International Air Transport Association
  • AEO – Authorised Economic Operator

Do you have the right insurance cover?

It’s important to know who is in charge of insuring your goods as they travel across the world. Does the freight forwarder offer freight insurance, or is this up to you to sort out? Having insurance is extremely vital, as worldwide travel does mean that there can be some hiccups along the way.

Do you have experience with my type of cargo?

This is one of the most important questions to ask your freight forwarder, as having specialist knowledge of your type of cargo will give you additional benefits. It will mean they have prior knowledge of the best way to get your shipment to its destination, as well as any documentation and clearance measures that may be needed at the destination country.

Our team has experience working with companies from all industries, from beauty and food, to pharmaceuticals and the arts, we can help to get your goods from A to B safely and efficiently.

What shipping services do you offer?

It’s always worth knowing the full range of shipping services on offer by a freight forwarder. Do they offer air freight and sea freight? Do they offer other modes of transportation? Do they offer other types of logistics such as warehousing, order fulfilment and customs clearance?

If they do offer the freight forwarding solutions you’re looking for, make sure to check the load services they offer. This can be either Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL) and whether this fits in with the cargo you’re looking to ship.

We offer all the services listed above and are happy to discuss your individual requirements to ensure that the chosen transportation method meets your needs.

Can you organise documentation and customs clearance?

Customs clearance and documentation for shipments can be a minefield, with different options needed for different countries. If this is not something you want to worry about yourself, then make sure the freight forwarder you’re speaking to is able to offer this.

As many freight forwarders deal with customs and documentation every day, this will be a relatively straightforward service for them to offer.

Do you offer online tracking?

Being able to reliably track your cargo is invaluable, as it allows you to ensure your goods are on schedule and update your customers accordingly. If there are any delays, you are able to see these in real-time and update your customers quickly. Most freight forwarders now offer this service as it is such an important solution for a business.

At Seaspace International, we offer online tracking for all shipments that give you updates in real-time about the whereabouts of your cargo.

What’s included in the cost?

Knowing the cost of using a freight forwarder is important, but also understanding what’s included in that is vital. A reliable and well-connected freight forwarder will be able to offer cost effective solutions that include all of the services you require.

Don’t forget that there can be charges at the destination for clearance, handling charges and release fees, so make sure you know who is paying for these or whether these will be additional charges.

How extensive is your network?

A freight forwarder that is well connected and has a reliable and established network across the world will be able to offer a far more streamlined service. From connections with shipping lines and an ocean carrier, to customs and ports, this will greatly improve the journey of your cargo and ensure the shipment runs smoothly.

Get a quote for international freight forwarding services

We’re proud to be expert freight forwarders who have been operating since 1988, offering us unrivalled expert knowledge when it comes to shipping goods across the world. Fill out our online form for a free quotation to ship your goods.

If you’d like to speak to one of our team about the services we offer, please give us a call on 01293 554620.

Posted in Freight Articles, Order Fulfillment, Shipping.