What is a Freight Forwarder and Why Do I Need One?

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Undeniably, the shipping industry is the lifeblood of global trade. It is responsible for connecting nations and creating a stable network of commerce that fuels different economies. However, it can be a minefield.  There’s a lot to know when transporting goods across borders and around the world.  

Shipping companies and freight forwarders are indispensable components of the transportation industry. At present, over 20 million shipping containers are in use across the globe for cargo storage and carriage. They are moved from port to port by more than 55,000 registered merchant’s vessels. Some 1.5 million people work in the shipping business of which around 250,000 are seafarers. In a nutshell, it’s a very large and intricate industry that requires professionals to assist importers and exporters navigate the waters.

The Shipping Industry

International traders rely heavily on shipping, the service of transporting goods by means of high-capacity vessels that transit regular routes on fixed schedules. Goods carried by ships are stored in tightly sealed and fully labelled shipping containers. Ships can carry hundreds of cargo which can be containerised at the factory of the origin or at designated warehouses.

It may seem simple but the process can be comp0licated for the non-professional.  International finance regulations, language barriers and the various border rules and regulations require an in-depth knowledge of the process.  Without a professional to support your business when importing or exporting, you run the risk of unexpected costs, long delays and even the possibility of the confiscation or seizure by authorities of your shipments.

Choose an Experienced Freight Forwarder

Understanding the process and knowing the pitfalls of international shipping is what your nominated Freight Forwarding company is there for.

Customs Clearance – is documented permission that a national customs authority grants to imported goods so that they can enter the country or to exported goods so that they can leave the country.  The customs clearance is typically given to a shipping agent to prove that all applicable customs duties have been paid and the shipment has been approved.

A licensed Customs Broker has qualified people that understand customs tariffs and will help you avoid delays and costs.  Talking with your Customs Broker before you import or expect a particular product for the first time will ensure there are no nasty surprises with the first shipment. Choose a Freight Forwarder with an experienced Customs Brokerage team and avoid the problems which may affect your business.

Other factors can also affect the timely delivery of your shipments.  Damaged or missing cargo is always a possibility when shipping goods around the world but working with a Freight Forwarding company that has experience will lessen the lost shipments or damaged cargo.

Unfortunately, airlines and sea freight companies can do nothing about bad weather and the delays they can cause to your shipments. Working with a Freight forwarding company that understands the pitfalls means they will keep you in the loop on delays and could offer alternative options such as receiving an emergency supply y airfreight, to lessen the impact of delays to your shipments and in turn your business.

Good, reliable communications from your Freight Forwarder is imperative.  Choose a Freight Forwarder that will keep you in the loop and offer solutions, if suitable.

Some Tips

  • Do your homework – before you start importing or exporting speak to an experienced freight forwarding company about the products being bought or sold, the country of origin or the country of destination, so they can advise you on the customs regulations relating to that product and that country and the best shipping/airfreight options.
  • Packing and packaging shipments or getting your supplier to pack your shipments correctly will ensure their safety when being transported. If you are unsure of the level of packing required, ask your freight forwarder for advice
  • Secure cargo insurance- don’t take the risk.
  • Declare items correctly – any items that are incorrectly declared could be at risk of seizure.

Choose the Right Freight Forwarding Company

An experienced Freight Forwarding company, with a knowledgeable Customs Brokerage team, is 8mpersatiuve for any business when entrusting them with the safe handling of shipments around the world.  Talk to Sneddens Global Logistics today and let them help you navigate what can be the very complicated business of Freight Forwarding.   Call 0800 76 33 33 or email info@sneddens.co.nz or go to www.sneddens.co.nz.


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