When determining which freight forwarder is right for you and your business, you want to choose a company that you can feel confident in. But how exactly do you know which company to choose? With the many choices of freight forwarding companies available, and not knowing which company you can trust, this task can be daunting. Here are Top 5 Tips for Choosing a Freight Forwarder.
1. Choose a freight forwarder with experience
An experienced company will offer a range of freight forwarding services to meet all your shipping and logistic requirements. Years of experience means your freight forwarder can utilize their network of carriers to connect your freight with their air and ground partners, saving you time and money in the process. It also means your shipping needs will be handled smoothly as they have dealt with different customs issues, strikes and shutdowns.
2. Research the services the freight forwarder offers.
Be prepared before you contact a freight forwarder and determine what mode of transport you require as well as any other services you need. Make certain the freight forwarder offers the necessary services for your shipment.
A freight forwarder should have expertise in linking all modes of transportation. This includes the air or ocean shipping and ground services including dangerous goods handling and temperature controlled services. An experienced company will also offer consulting and may offer unique services such as helicopter shipping, transport of dimensional and heavy lifts cargo and 24/7, 365 day service for Emergency shipping.
3. Make sure the freight forwarder has industry certifications.
Industry certifications assure qualified services are being provided to consumers. An important Canadian certification for the freight forwarding industry is Partners in Protection (PIP) which is a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) program. Partners in Protection aims to secure the trade chain, enhance border security, and eliminate contraband smuggling. Members agree to adhere to high security standards and are recognized as being trusted traders. They should also be registered with Transport Canada as part of the Air Cargo Security program which is a similar program to PIP but specifically for your airfreight requirements. For Canada it is beneficial to work with a freight forwarder who is part of CIFFA (The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association) which ensures that its members meet all the professional training and security requirements.
4. Good customer service is key.
Customer service is an important part of any business and this holds true with your freight forwarder. You want to choose a company that responds quickly to any requests or questions you may have. Useful information and important forms pertaining to shipping should also be available to you and may be posted on their website for the convenience of their customers.
5. Trade associations and networks provide additional support.
Research the freight forwarder you are considering and see if they are a member of any trade associations or freight forwarding networks. These networks help companies provide their customers the most economical solutions. It also ensures the company is reputable, as most networks only accept top companies in their field.
Bonus tip – ensure that the freight forwarder has extensive shipping experience in the countries and cities you are planning to ship with. Look for a freight forwarding company that has years of experience in many countries, check their LinkedIn corporate profile to understand the company stakeholders’ network of influence and their track record with their customers.
For more information on freight forwarding, please visit www.scacli.ca.
About CIFFA – The Canadian Freight Forwarders’ Association
Sea Cargo Air Cargo Logistics Inc. is a Canadian-owned international freight forwarder that provides integrated logistics services in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Shipping demands and expectations are 24/7, 365 days a year – and often unpredictable. SCACLI provides the responsiveness and flexibility of 24/7 service combined with creative solutions to fit its customers’ demands. For more information on freight forwarders or international shipping, importing or exporting, visit scacli.ca.