Freight forwarding

To understand the importance of freight forwarding, firstly, you need to know what exactly the term is. Freight forwarding is the process of organizing or coordinating the movement of goods from the manufacturer to its final destination. It can be likened to the series of activities you perform every morning to transport yourself to school or work. You wake up, brush your teeth, have your bath, iron your clothes. If you have a car you ensure there is enough fuel before you begin your commute for the day.

It refers to the series of events that ensure the smooth movement of goods from point A to point B, and it is necessary that all checks are conducted at this point. Those responsible for the transportation of these goods are known as freight forwarders. They are the experts in charge of arranging the transport of cargo from one point to the next. They simply act as the middlemen who do all the work, and because they essentially act as mediators, it is important that you also learn to conduct due diligence when engaging with them.

Every one of us will get fascinated when we realize that there is someone able to perform every task, but have it in mind that key checks are performed. At this point, let’s discuss the need to conduct your due diligence when selecting a forwarder. Some key factors to consider when choosing what freight forwarder to deal with include:

  • Adherence to policies: No one wants to be associated with a person or organization that is known for breaking the laws. I am sure that you will also not want to partner with a forwarder who has an awful track record of adhering to policies. Therefore, you should take out time to discover their compliance level before contracting them to control the movement of your goods. Working with forwarders who have a bad track record of compliance can leave a negative stamp on your brand.

  • Level of Knowledge: In any industry in life, knowledge makes the difference. The same applies when it comes to freight forwarders. The advantages of engaging forwarders who have an in-depth awareness of the market in which they operate will be of tremendous help. They will apply this knowledge as they interact with people, conclude paperwork, execute, manage and control the various operations pertaining to your goods.

  • Level of Expertise: The most important factor to evaluate here is whether or not the freight forwarder you intend to partner with has the capacity to handle your type of cargo. Some key questions to answer are, if the forwarder is familiar with the cargo's evaluation criteria? Or if they are aware of the cargo regulations and documentation relating to each country. You can assess this by enquiring about any similar jobs they may have handled and the procedure involved in its completion.

  • Client Management History: When engaging with freight forwarders you should also consider their client management history. Do they deal with integrity? How do they resolve and tackle issues that arise during a job? Your ability to conduct relevant research to ascertain their relations with clients will help you determine whether to work with them or not.

  • Customer Service Experience: You can also research their customer service experience. Based on your findings, you can draw conclusions about if they can deliver a service that will be cost-effective and efficient in a timely manner. You should have it in mind to engage a freight forwarder who offers proper service because they will always deliver value.

In summary, you should keep in mind the reputation the freight forwarder has built-in moving goods from one destination to another. You should also consider how best they manage the regulatory elements involved in the entire process.

Adopting the practice of freight forwarding or engaging with freight forwarders can be greatly beneficial to you. Some of these benefits are:

  1. Forwarders are experts with extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, cost, regulations etc. Using the information they have acquired, they can negotiate better deals to minimize costs. They can beat down prices than you could ever do yourself. In summary, they can save you money.

  2. They have updated information regarding the customs regulations of all countries. They have no problem completing the paperwork, paying tariffs and handling all other taxes and payments as required. They save you the hassle and create ease in importing or exporting your goods.

  3. Forwarders are well-experienced in the trade so they have the ability and resources to deal with unexpected situations or roadblocks that may arise in the process. They ensure the flow of goods in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

A successful trade means having and harnessing the right tools and resources at your disposal, and freight forwarders are some of such valuable tools.

It is extremely important that you identify experienced freight forwarders. This would ensure that your products meet the agreed terms of delivery, so to be well prepared you can:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the different transport modes required to deliver the goods.

  2. Conduct research on at least three freight forwarders.

  3. Visit the online database of freight forwarders, customs brokers and cargo agents in Nigeria at here

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