If you are attempting to ship goods internationally, then you will need to hire a cargo transportation company that provides freight forwarding services. You want to ensure that the company you choose can handle any potential shipping issues and allow your goods to arrive on schedule and in good condition.
Follow these five questions to ask freight forwarders in determining whether they are trustworthy and reliable.
1. How Much Experience Do They Have?
Companies that have been open longer likely know how to deal with potential issues, such as strikes, cargo reroutes, and customs holdups. Those that have been open longest likely prioritize customer service to maintain business.
Family-owned businesses will likely deal with potential issues in a more client-centered and friendly fashion.
You also want to ask if the company has experience transporting the type of product you need shipped. Ask what types of difficulties they have previously encountered with your product and which precautions they will utilize to protect this type of material.
Things can always go wrong, and an experienced company will likely take a more proactive approach to crisis management and avoid potential disasters.
2. What Type of Insurance Coverage Do They Provide?
You want to make sure that the company you hire can provide proof of insurance that covers in case of damage, loss, or theft. Avoid places that have multiple coverages with multiple carriers, as this often leads to gaps in coverage. Insurance coverage is often complex, but ideally, your freight forwarder will have a comprehensive policy that places coverage under one roof.
You also want to ensure that the insurance provider has a positive reputation and is knowledgeable of the complex nuances of freight forwarding.
3. What Does Communication Look Like?
Ideally, the company you work with will handle the shipments from start to finish. Choose a company that allows you to have direct contact with one person who is responsible throughout the process with sales, customs, lost orders, and other operational details.
Aside from a contact person, communication also involves shipment tracking and updates. You want to be able to access the location of your shipment at any time or day using an automated online or telephone system, as well as remain updated with any delays or problems. Some companies now offer a login portal where you can track the status of your shipment.
4. What Services Do They Provide?
Confirm that the freight forwarder you choose offers all of the services you need, such as preparation of documentation, packing and storage, customs clearance, and freight charge negotiation. You may have additional services that you need, and the shipping process could significantly slow down if you are forced to find another company to fulfill these needs.
5. What Credentials And Certifications Do They Hold?
Memberships in trade and industry associations represents a good record for that freight company. Certifications and credentials indicate whether the company has the specialized training and security requirements needed for your specific goods.
Choose a company that is an affiliated member of such associations such as the Intermodal Association of North America. IAMX validation assures service quality through licensing and claims oversight.
In addition, ask for at least three references that indicate sufficient experience. Ideally, the references will come from individuals or companies that shipped to the same location or the same type of goods. You can also ask for recommendations within your industry.
Overall, do your research and take your time as you navigate choosing a freight forwarder. Choose a family-owned business with an excellent reputation. Contact Tri Star Freight System, Inc., today for your freight forwarding services.