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If you’re importing or exporting cargo in large enough quantities, you need to make sure you’re following the rules. A freight forwarder can make this easier for you.
Freight forwarders handle shipping administration, dealing with customs clearance, logistics, and documentation.
But do you need a freight forwarder? And if you decide you do need one, how much do they cost?
Businesses can import or export a small amount of goods using parcel couriers with little hassle. But when it comes to bigger shipments, there’s a larger logistical challenge.
That’s where freight forwarders come in – they handle moving cargo for importers and exporters.
For a freight forwarder definition, freight forwarders are essentially the intermediary between the importer or exporter and the shipping company, whether goods are being moved by air, rail, sea, or road (or a combination of these).
Therefore, the best freight forwarders have great access to contacts all around the world, seamlessly getting goods to where they need to go. And you only need to work with the freight forwarder, rather than lots of separate businesses and organisations.
According to gov.uk, some of the tasks that freight forwarders might deal with include:
Think about the needs of your business when deciding which service to use. If you’re confident about moving the goods yourself, you might only want to hire a customs broker.
The best freight forwarders simplify a complex process and have expert knowledge on transporting goods.
You might choose to use a freight forwarder to:
It’s important to find a good freight forwarder that you can trust, because you’re leaving a complex process in their hands – and if something goes wrong, it’ll affect your reputation.
Some downsides to freight forwarding include:
It’s impossible to give exact costs because it depends on what your business needs. But there are different factors that influence the price, according to NI Business Info:
There’ll usually be extra charges for transporting dangerous goods, perishable goods, animals, outsize goods, and other irregular goods. You also have to bear in mind security for dangerous goods travelling by road.
When you get a quote, ask for a breakdown of all the services, fees and charges you’ll be paying for. That should make it easier to compare charges from different providers.
There are a number of professional bodies for freight forwarding services:
You can also use a freight forwarder quote comparison tool, but make sure you research the results properly.
Are you thinking about using a freight forwarder? Let us know in the comments below.
Sam has more than 10 years of experience in writing for financial services. He specialises in illuminating complicated topics, from IR35 to ISAs, and identifying emerging trends that audiences want to know about. Sam spent five years at Simply Business, where he was Senior Copywriter.
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