How to Choose a Freight Forwarder

Check their experience –

Experience is one of the most important reasons to choose a freight forwarder. The international shipping industry is not the easiest business to be in and if you don’t know what you are doing, you won’t last long. If a company has years of experience it means they have dealt with all kinds of different situations. They will know how to avoid customs, warehousing or routing problems before they even start, which will make your international run smoothly and efficiently.

 Find out about their network of agents and business partners in the country you are exporting to or importing from –

This is important for the local handling of your international shipments. Your freight forwarder should have a strong network around the world, but you need to know that they have the connections in the countries/cities of origin and destination for your imports and exports. If your Freight forwarder has great connections in China, that doesn’t help with shipments too and from India or anywhere else. So make sure you ask about your freight forwarder's connections and experience in the specific locations you need. Business partnerships around the world also allow your freight forwarder to offer additional services.

Make sure they offer the services you need –

This one is a given. Why would you hire a company if they don’t offer the services you need. Freight forwarders should be able to handle all aspects of your shipping needs. So if they only offer Air and Ocean shipping but you need Rail or Trucking services as well, you may need to find a different company.

Check for good references -

This is good advice when you're looking for any kind of service, not just freight forwarding.If there's no one willing to say a freight forwarder did a great job taking care of their imports and exports, that's a big red flag. They should have a testimonials page, but you should also Google around to find more info. Believe it or not, there are a lot of scams out there.

 Do they have good customer service? -

How long does it take them to get back to you? Do they answer all of your questions? Can they walk you through the process of international shipping, if you are new to it? One freight forwarder may offer shipping rates well below the rest of the competition, but you'll usually find yourself paying for choosing them in additional costs, delays, and very poor customer service. But if you follow the five tips above, you should find a freight forwarder who has the contracts and network which allow them to offer competitive rates.