Why do I need a Freight Forwarder?

When people first get into international shipping, they start to find out about the various aspects of moving their goods and maybe wonder why they would need an international freight forwarder. Freight forwarders are much like a travel agent for your shipping cargo. If you are travelling the world you might use a travel agent to set up your logistics abroad, and you would expect to have everything laid out including visas and paperwork for you before you leave. A freight forwarder does the same thing with your goods. They will follow your goods from origin to final destination through their agents and create a paper trail that leads through each port, customs, and transport. Their main responsibility is to transport goods so they are the experts. Freight forwarders can also handle many other aspects of your cargo for you. Depending on the type of forwarder or their specialty, they will set you up with insurance, they may assist in inventory management and some will handle customs clearance. Many times freight forwarders are specialists in a particular market. If they handle the same cargo for various different companies who are shipping similar goods it can be very beneficial financially. For example, if your company handles cargo for several footwear companies importing from Italy to the US, they may be able to get great volume rates for footwear to the US. There are so many aspects of international trade that it is only in your best interest to have a good freight forwarder on your side.