Should You Join a Shippers’ Association?
When companies first get into import shipping, they do not always have the same resources that will eventually come about over time. Finding companies that fit into their schedules and budgets can be the only thing they think of when starting to ship in their goods from abroad. After awhile they might start networking within their own industry and find out that there is a whole group that they can work together with to get much better shipping rates. This is a shippers' association. These associations
can be a huge help in getting lower freight rates, especially if a company is small and has very little leverage with shipping lines. Even larger companies can benefit since it will only bolster the quantities of containers which will add further leverage when the contract is up. That in turn equals lower rates for everyone involved. Many times though, there can be drawbacks so before signing on the dotted line, it is worth reading all of the rules to find out just what the contract has. Maybe they you can only use the contract with certain commodities or maybe only from certain ports that might add more distance for your cargo. The beauty of many of the contracts is that you can also opt in only when you have goods that fall within the parameters of the association's contract. Your freight forwarder can help you with that. So where can a company find out about shippers' associations that might apply to them? One place to start is with the American Institute of Shippers' Associations. They should be able to help get you started. So should you join a shippers' association? If you can find one for your industry, it can only help!