What Does A Freight Forwarder Do?
We live in an increasingly global world that relies on the constant and complex movement of goods to function. A Customs Brokerage has been a trusted industry leader for decades, and we’ve seen the global economy and international shipping practices expand and evolve firsthand. For businesses, shipping products internationally can be both risky and stressful; the process is riddled with dozens of decisions to make, logistics to understand, and vital legal documents to obtain. Freight forwarders exist to simplify this process and help businesses safely transport their product from one place to another.
What is a Freight Forwarder?
A freight forwarder coordinates the import, export, and storage of goods as they travel domestically or internationally. Essentially, freight forwarders are project managers for global imports and exports. Now, they are not shippers and will never be the party responsible for physically moving goods. Instead, they work with shipping companies to safely transport goods on their owners’ behalf because international transport can be unpredictable, tricky, and extensive.
Today, products are transported via unique combinations of air, ground, and water transit, meaning that a product can pass through dozens of hands on a singular shipment. Freight forwarders focus on simplifying the logistics and physical movement of goods so that business owners can concentrate on what’s important: growing and managing their companies.
The coordination of internationally bound goods is a blanket statement that encompasses the many steps that happen between loading docks. Among other services, freight forwarders offer cargo insurance and insurance claim filing, warehousing, tracking each node of transportation (including inland carriers), freight consolidation and deconsolidation, and the negotiation of freight charges. Freight forwarders provide all the services necessary for business owners to avoid common industry pitfalls, damaged or missing products.
The Bill of Lading (BOL) and other legal documents are required throughout the customs and shipping process. Freight forwarders offer the preparation and completion of all these necessary documents. They most often ship under their own BOL, known as a House Bill of Lading or HBL, and ensure compliance with all specific regulations according to a client’s needs, shipping departure, and arrival destinations.
Customs Broker Vs. Freight Forwarder
It’s worth delineating the difference between a customs broker and a freight forwarder because they aren’t the same thing, despite being closely related. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a customs broker can be an individual, partnership, association, or corporation that is licensed, regulated, and empowered by U.S. Customers and Border Protection (CBP). In other words, a customs broker mediates between the government and any company importing or exporting goods; they have specific expertise in everything from valuation to taxes and fees to entry procedures.
Freight forwarders have fewer regulatory requirements and are much more wide-ranging in their services. They focus on the logistics of global shipping but deal less with government agencies or protocols directly. However, freight forwarders and customs brokers play vital roles in international freight. A Customs Brokerage happens to be both a freight forwarder and customs broker so we can handle as aspects of your international transportation.
The Benefits of a Freight Forwarder
While freight forwarders’ insurance filing and legal document services are among the more compelling reasons companies opt to use them, there are countless reasons to consider integrating a freight forwarder into your business model. For businesses operating domestically, expanding into international territory can generate new opportunities and broader client bases. It is vital for those companies already selling internationally that shipping and logistics practices evolve as your business grows. Freight forwarders, and customs brokers, for that matter, play integral roles in those ventures.
Freight forwarders are deeply integrated and connected to the shipping and logistics industry. They cultivate positive relationships that facilitate and improve their clients’ freight process – regardless of industry, company size, and shipping constraints. By capitalizing on long-term relationships with industry professionals and relying on extensive logistics and global shipping experience, freight forwarders negotiate the most streamlined, economical way of getting goods from one place to another.
Freight forwarders are not required for businesses to physically transport items overseas or expand internationally, but they function as safety nets for you and your business. They take on the role of trusted and capable advisors who can radically improve your business’s shipping and logistics operations. Their global partners and agents mitigate risk, alleviate stress, and provide the transparent, secure transport of products over long distances.
Let A Customs Brokerage Help Your Business
We’re here for you when it comes to navigating complex global freight needs. We’ve been doing it since 1978, and no one cares for their clients more than we do. Running a business is complicated enough without dealing with the ever-evolving nuances of safe and speedy global shipping.
While many folks dread navigating the unpredictable waters of freight and logistics, we love it. The A Customs Brokerage family sees the movement of goods within our complex supply chain as an opportunity to help businesses thrive, contribute to local and global economies, and strengthen communities. Armed with expansive knowledge, experience, and a passion for global customs and client-based work, we take pride in everything we do. The A Customs Brokerage team looks forward to helping your business with its freight and logistics needs.