Freight forwarding is fundamentally a logistics business. When searching for the right freight forwarder for your commercial or domestic needs, you need to be sure that they’re up to the task of managing every aspect of the transportation process. In this article we run through a few points to bear in mind when looking for a freight forwarder you can trust.
Is the company committed to its clients?
Freight forwarding is a business dominated by large operators, and in this industry at face value it might seem tempting to opt for a well-known global brand. However, if yours is a business operating primarily in Ireland and the UK with a relatively simple supply chain, it may be better to opt for a company that specialises in freight forwarding within your own geographic area. Local companies are often nimbler as they tend to have forged long-term relationships with partners in their region. They also tend to be more responsive to client’s needs: as Cargocare founder Liam Brewer has pointed out, many SME’s found they were neglected by larger freight forwarders, and in recent years this has allowed smaller companies to offer a better service to customers and to successfully gain market-share with commercial and domestic clients.
One good tip though; if you are considering a smaller freight forwarder as a supplier; it’s worth finding out how long they have been in business. Small businesses are hugely dependent on their reputations and if they have stood the test of time – that’s a great sign. Also, of course, look for client references.
Has the Freight Forwarder direct experience of handling your type of product?
This point very much depends on the type of cargo that needs to be transported. Items such as food, medicinal products and beverages have to be kept in carefully controlled environments at all times through the transportation process. To take another example, garments are a time-sensitive commodity and need to be transported within tight timeframes. Another question to ask is whether the Freight Forwarder has got the necessary facilities to handle your goods at both the departure and destination points – a local supplier is likely to be well set-up in this regard.
What is their representation at the destination point – own office or agent?
The last link in the supply chain is by far the most important as this is where the freight forwarding company acts as an ambassador for your business. This can be complicated if the company in question relies on a large number of external partners or agents, and again this is where smaller companies are often a safer bet – especially if they have their own offices at the destination point; where they can be hands-on in managing your freight. Also, as their interest is in maintaining long-term relationships with clients; they will do their very best to represent your company’s brand in a good light throughout the transportation journey.
How good are their communications?
Freight forwarding requires simultaneous co-ordination of numerous processes, and good communications are essential to keep all stakeholders in the loop throughout the freight forwarding process. A good initial indication of the effectiveness of a freight forwarder’s communication lines is how quickly and how clearly they respond to your preliminary queries. It has been shown countless times that many of the major players in the industry simply don’t communicate well with their clients, and as a result they are losing business to smaller and more nimble operations with higher standards of customer service. A good online presence is a great sign as well: as a recent Freightos survey showed, 71% of a sample group of businesses would consider changing suppliers on the basis of a particularly good experience with a website.
Check the detail of the paperwork
Have a good look at the terms and conditions of doing business – these should be transparent and fair. Make sure the freight forwarder has insurance and ask how many claims they have had in the last 12 months. Are there liability limits and if so – what are they? This information should be easily accessible and will re-assure you that your property is in good hands.
Freight forwarder services offered by Cargocare
With over 30 years of experience under our belts, here at Cargocare we know everything there is to know about freight forwarding. We specialise in the British and Irish market, and over the years we’ve built up an enviable list of trusted partners and long-term clients. Just have a read of some of our customer testimonials to get an idea of our reputation. If you’re looking for a freight forwarder that can deliver on time and to budget, why not get in touch with us today and find out what our business can do for yours.