What Is a Freight Forwarder and Does Your Company Need One?

If you transport goods across international borders, you may very well need the services of a freight forwarder. Note a few factors about a freight forwarder, what they do, and if your company may need to hire one.  

1. Multiple types of transport

One reason you may need a freight forwarder is that your goods may need multiple forms of transport when crossing international boundaries, as not everything can be delivered from one point to another with a truck. For example, if you're shipping something overseas, then it would arrive in that country by plane or boat. A freight forwarder would then arrange the trucking needed to transport your goods to your customer or warehouse, if it cannot be picked up at the docks or airport. If you're shipping to customers and not to your own warehouse, or cannot pick up materials with your own company truck for whatever reason, you should consider having a freight forwarding service manage this last part of transport for you. 

2. Storage

A freight forwarding company usually also provides storage options for your goods, whether that's long-term warehousing or short-term storage while materials are in transit. This can be vital for the protection of your goods, as leaving things on a dock or in an airport cargo area may not be safe, if it's even allowed. Freight forwarders may have more options for high-security storage, storage for hazardous goods, storage for frozen items, and the like. Storage provided by a freight forwarder may also make it easier for your customers or other locations of your business to pick up items, if they provide storage that is more centrally located than an airport hangar, dock, or other facility at the border.

3. Paperwork

 A freight forwarder usually assists any company with the paperwork needed to transport goods into another country, and this can be invaluable especially if there are language barriers between the countries. Some countries may require paperwork to be in their native language, or both their language and English, and the like. There may also be additional requirements for paperwork in other countries that you're not familiar with, and a freight forwarder can ensure this paperwork is included and filled out correctly. Rather than trying to manage customs requirements, insurance certificate requirements, bills of lading, and other such paperwork yourself when shipping goods across international borders, it can be good to have a freight forwarder handle this for you.