• FREIGHT FORWARDING

    One of the most common questions we get asked is: What does a freight forwarder do?  The answer is not always the simplest to explain. The reason being that as freight forwarders we do many things.

     

         

     

    The simplest Freight Forwarders specialize in making things go from point A to point B.  That may not seem like the most technical explanation.  But the legal definition can be confusing to someone unfamiliar with international shipping.  The literal textbook definition can be found in US code  49 U.S.C. § 13102 and is taxing to read.  That’s why we’re here today to break it down so you can see the many ways a Freight Forwarder can help you with all your transportation needs.

    A SIMPLIFIED DEFINITION OF FREIGHT FORWARDING
    As mentioned above freight forwarder’s primary function is to do everything necessary to get goods from its origin to its intended destination.  It is often assumed that forwarders only handle the major movement of the cargo such as the ocean or air freight.

    But forwarders will also arrange for legal, government, and regulatory requirements for shipping cargo. They can also assist in the preparation and loading of cargo. Freight forwarders will also be experts in knowing how to protect cargo value with insurance products.  All this said we will break down some functions your forwarder may offer you may be unaware of.

    ROLLS OF YOUR FREIGHT FORWARDER
    MOVING YOUR CARGO
    This one is obvious.  But what is more important is a freight forwarder will move your cargo efficiently.  The best transit time, routing, and carrier will all be considered in accordance with your budget and timeline.  Not all modes of transit are created equal. Logistics is certainly not a one size fits all solution. Your cargo and your team goals will dictate different carrier requirements.

    Freight forwarders have a network of carriers they know and trust. They will be familiar with which carriers best suit your needs. Navigating through many carriers is taxing especially if you are unfamiliar with the market.  Also, many major carriers may require a shipping contract or other registration requirements prior to being able to book with their service. Using freight forward cuts through a lot of these steps saving you time and money.

    THE TAKEAWAY
    Forwarders have a network of carriers and are familiar with the best ones for your needs.  They will already have existing contracts or relationships with them saving you time of having to commit to a shipping contract or long registration processes.

    DOCUMENTATION SUBMISSION
    Shipping requires a lot of documentation.  From booking requests, dock receipts, bill of lading instructions, etc.  All of this documentation must be filed accurately.  Mistakes can cause delays and fines. Forwarders are very well trained in how to submit this documentation accurately and timely.  They can also help you create required documents for shipping if you are unfamiliar such as packing lists and commercial invoices. Shipping lines now require the proper declaration of HS and HTS codes.  A good freight forwarder will be able to guide you to find the right codes so your documentation is submitted correctly.

    THE TAKEAWAY
    A freight forwarder can handle the documentation requirements of your companies logistics needs.  Improper documentation can cause custom issues on departure or arrival. Relying on your freight forwarder for documentation needs can be vital to your logistical efficiency.

    CUSTOMS CLEARANCE AND REGULATORY PREPARATION
    Before cargo can move anywhere it must adhere to all local, federal, and international laws and regulations.  A good freight forwarder will be able to assist in accessing all necessary requirements and help the shipper gather the proper information.  Custom clearance is required for any shipment inbound and outbound to/from any country. A forwarder will be able to help get your goods properly classified so you pay the proper duties and taxes on your goods.

    They can also help fulfill any regulatory requirements from agencies such as the FDA, USDA, or other government entities. If your cargo is hazardous they can assist with hazardous paperwork as well as be familiar with how certain hazmat goods need to be prepared and shipped.  These important steps to ensure your cargo does not get rejected at the port or face delays.

    There are many things that may need to be done prior to your cargo being able to be transported.  A good freight forwarder will help assess your cargo’s requirements and the steps necessary to get them done.

    CARGO PREPARATION AND STORAGE
    Certain cargo may require special preparation prior to it being able to be loaded onto its intended vessel.  Cars may need to be dismantled and braced within a container. Fuel may need to be drained and accessories removed from machinery.  Special fumigation may be needed for wood products. All of these requirements must happen prior to special cargo moving anywhere. When cargo arrives at the destination a forwarder can arrange for warehousing or other special storage requirements to keep cargo safe and secure.  They can also arrange for cargo to reside in a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to manage proper duty assessment.

    Freight forwarders can also make proper arrangements for when your cargo isn’t moving at all!  Ask your forwarder for how they can assist should your cargo have special storage requirements.

    VALUE PROTECTION
    Insuring your goods properly is an important part of shipping.  Most carriers will not offer any type of protection so insurance products are the only way to protect the value of your cargo.  A good freight forwarder will help advise the best insurance product for your goods. They will also be able to help walk you through a claim process should your cargo get damaged in transit.  Again, these products and services are unrelated to the actual movement of your cargo. However, a freight forwarder can be of great assistance with cargo insurance and claims.

    Freight forwarders will be able to properly find the best insurance products for your cargo.  They can also help you with your claims should you need to file one.

    WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN YOUR FREIGHT FORWARDER?
    A good forwarder will not just provide the best price.  In addition to being competitive in pricing, a good forwarder will seek to explain the terms of your shipment, the method of transport available, and the pros and cons of each solution.  We recommend not just focusing on price because although it is important to get competitive rates, rates themselves do not tell the whole picture. For instance, a general forwarder provider may have set rates they give generally to a multitude of customers.  But those rates may not have the best transit times, insurance coverage, or safest packing methods.

    There may be options that are faster, more efficient, and better insured for a slightly higher price, but protects your goods and your customer’s interest much better.  Ultimately it is up to your team to decide the best option, but in order to do so, you need a forwarder that will take the time to present to you all of the options and explain them thoroughly.

    At Vital Worldwide Logistics, we want to ensure that our customers fully understand the scope and details of their shipment so they feel confident in their logistic decisions.

    It is clear that a freight forwarder plays many roles in the transportation of cargo.  Many of which are not related to the actual movement of cargo. Be sure you choose a reliable forwarder to ensure proper transportation of your cargo.  At VWL we love to take the time to truly understand each and every one of our clients. We aim to develop long term relationships and to grow with each of our customers.  Please contact us today for all your shipping needs. We look forward to hearing from you!

    More details here: Freight Forwarding Services Edison NJ

     

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  • Best Freight Forwarding Tips 2020

    We all know how overwhelming shipping your freight can be. There’s a lot of aspects to take into account.  For example, choosing freight forwarders that have the most experience with the best references. Here, in this article, we’re going to discuss the best freight forwarding tips so you can feel confident about choosing a freight forwarder.
     

                                              
     

    WHAT EXACTLY IS FREIGHT FORWARDING?
    Freight forwarders in the industry are responsible for shipping of goods from one destination to another. Freight forwarding company’s whole purpose is to arrange the process for their clients with anything from the storage process to the shipping of their goods. They act as a mediator between the client and transportation services, connecting with various carriers to negotiate on the price and decide on the most economical, reliable and fastest route.


    SIMPLE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
    International freight forwarding companies abide by strict regulations. Shipping restrictions apply to certain products, goods, and substances, particularly by air or sea freight. These restrictions may vary from country to country but freight forwarders are generally prohibited from carrying: Although the list of prohibited items varies from country to country, freight forwarders are generally restricted on:

    • Prescription drugs
    • Recreational drugs
    • Dangerous items – things that are highly flammable or toxic.
    • Alcohol
    • Sharp objects that could cut or penetrate
    • Batteries
    • Perishable items (unless they have specific terms)


    KEEPING PAPERWORK UPDATED
    Your paperwork plays a critical role in the entire freight forwarding process. Before leaving your goods with the freight forwarder you’ve chosen you should always make sure your paperwork is in order. This includes:


    PROFORMA INVOICE
    Consists of information such as the buyer and seller, a detailed list and description of the goods, the price, the delivery details, and then the currency used in the quote.


    COMMERCIAL INVOICE
    Much like the proforma invoice, the commercial invoice lists the buyer and seller, detailed lists and descriptions of goods, as well as the price, delivery details, and currency. This invoice also tells you order numbers, customer reference numbers, and additional banking and payment information.


    CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN –
    Certain countries require a certificate of origin to see where certain goods have come from.


    PACKING LIST
    Packing lists are extremely important. It identifies items in the shipment. These items are categorized by their net and gross weight as well as the dimensions of the packages in both U.S. imperial and metric measurements. It shows any special markings that may appear on the packages and any special instructions for ensuring the safe delivery of the cargo to its final destination.


    BANK DRAFT
    A bank draft functions similarly to a cashier’s check. Because the money is drawn upon and issued by a bank, a bank draft guarantees the availability of the underlying funds. Buyers or sellers make or require payments through bank drafts as a secure method of payment.


    SHIPPER’S LETTER OF INSTRUCTION
    A letter from the exporter instructing the freight forwarder on how and where to handle the export shipment. Think of it as a letter that tells your agent/forwarder how and where they need to send your products


    BILLS OF LADING
    It is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. A bill of lading also serves as a shipment receipt when the carrier delivers the goods at a predetermined destination. There are three common bills of lading documents: inland, ocean, and air waybill.


    DANGEROUS GOODS FORMS
    Your freight company can assist with this. This will also reduce the risk of your items not being released from customs or the bank refusing to release your funds.
    It’s incredibly important that the paperwork is accurate, this will reduce the risk of your items not being released from customs or the bank refusing to release your funds – neither of which would be beneficial to your business.


    DO THEY HAVE THE EXPERIENCE YOU NEED?
    No one wants to worry about their shipments because they chose a company with limited experience. Your freight forwarder should have a strong network around the world, but you need to know that they have connections in the countries/cities of origin and destination for your imports and exports as well.


    QUESTIONS TO ASK

    How long has your company been in business?
    Is your staff equipped and large enough to handle shipments?
    How long have they been working with your company?
    How large is your freight forwarding network like? 
    Do you have any global partnerships?
    How much experience do you have with types of payment, including letters of credit?


    WHAT IS THE COST FOR YOU?
    Sometimes freight forwarders will try to charge you extra fees for certain services. They may have to load or unload the cargo, wrap some pallets, or make additional stops. There also could be weight adjustments and additional handling fees. Sea freight transportation is typically a cheaper option than air freight, especially for international shipping.  You also need to take into account the different fees related to different countries you are shipping from or to. There will be differences between different International shipping cost vs. China shipping cost or India shipping cost.  So make sure that due diligence is done on all costs so you aren’t surprised when you receive your invoices.


    WHICH SERVICES WILL YOU NEED?
    It’s very important to know which services your freight forwarder provides. These extra services can also include warehouse storage, cargo insurance, cargo tracking, and dangerous goods handling.shipping. They also provide services like port to port shipping or door to door shipping whether it be by ocean shipping or truck Depending on the type of cargo or freight you plan on shipping will help you decide which service you want to use. If you have a large number of items to ship with an overseas destination then ocean shipping would help you more. Smaller amounts of items that need to be delivered overseas are usually shipped with an air carrier.


    CONSIDERING THE METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION YOU SHOULD USE
    Whichever method of transportation you choose needs to be the most efficient. Depending on the type of cargo you plan to ship and the destination will often help you decide whether you want to use and air carrier or ocean shipping. You may want to use truck shipping if the destination isn’t a great distance and if you don’t have a bulk supply of cargo to ship.


    WHAT YOU CAN DO IN CASE OF A DELAY
    Contacting your freight forwarder if they have not already tried to contact you is the first thing you should do. Unfortunately, sometimes delays are inevitable and unavoidable. These delays often occur due to bad weather, breakdown, port delays or unforeseen route changes. In this scenario, you should understand that freight forwarders are not liable for delays but they will do everything the can to expedite your cargo to get it to its destination. Delays are extremely frustrating but the company is working as fast as they can to solve the problem.


    ARE THEY ABLE TO HANDLE MULTIPLE TYPES OF SHIPMENTS?
    It’s an important thing to know if you decide to continue doing business with them. Do they strictly work with ocean shipping or can they handle an air carrier as well? Do they have the experience, know-how, and partners around the world to handle all of your shipments?
    As you can see, there is a multitude of factors that come into play when using a freight forwarder. We hope these tips help you along in your journey of shipping freight.

    More details here: Best Logistics Services in Edison NJ

     

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