Sometimes the jargon in the world of logistics can be confusing. “What is a freight forwarder?” is one question we get from time to time, so here’s a brief description. A freight forwarder helps shippers with all the arrangements concerning shipping and storage for transporting materials or finished products to market. Freight forwarders usually offer many different services including tracking, arranging for cargo space, negotiating prices, handling insurance claims, preparing documents required for shipping and export, securing cargo and buying insurance.
The Importance of the Freight Forwarder
Freight forwarders are generally the intermediary between a shipper with freight to move and the wide array of transportation services available to move or store it. This includes the customs officials, cargo handlers and the freight carriers. Despite the variety of objectives, the final goal is to make certain that a client receives their products in good condition on budget and on time.
It is common for a freight forwarder to provide their clients with shipment preparation prior to shipping. If the product is being shipped within the United States, simpler packaging is appropriate, but if the product is shipped overseas, larger cargo containers may be required for multiple loading and unloading. Perishable products require storage at a specific temperatures to remain fresh. If the product is traveling on a ship, the packaging must be able to withstand the g-forces of severe weather. The freight forwarder will user lighter packaging for air travel to keep the costs as low as possible.
Labeling is another important service provided by freight forwarders. Every shipment must contain a label indicating contents, especially if it involves hazardous products, along with itemized lists of the products, proper documentation, details for the port of entry, an accurate weight in both pounds and kilograms, the country of origin and a few other important details in the language of the final destination.
The export packing list contains a detailed description of every item contained in the shipment including the measurements and gross weight of the packages and what type of packaging container is being used.
Overseas shipping generally requires complicated documentation, making the specialist knowledge and experience of the freight forwarder critical as they can help with things like an export license— a mandatory government document authorizing the business to export products to a predetermined destination in a specific quantity.
The freight forwarder also handles the bill of lading. This is the contract between the carrier and the business that actually owns the shipped cargo. A negotiable bill of lading enables the products to be traded, sold or purchased during transit. In order for the client to take possession of the product, they must have an original document providing proof they are the rightful owner.
The certificate of origin is a signed statement detailing the exact location from which the product was exported. The commercial invoice is the actual bill for the products, and is given to the purchaser from the seller. When customs assesses the value of the shipment, this document determines the actual value.
A freight forwarder, like a Freight Broker. is responsible for streamlining the shipping operations for any business, handling any issues along the way and ensuring that products get where they need to go. Our depth of experience as freight forwarders has served us well here at the Port of Savannah, and we think we can save you money and headaches. What is a freight forwarder? Find out from Port City Logistics. Contact us for a free estimate and we’ll work with you to come up with the best possible solutions for your freight moving needs.