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Freight Forwarding Companies in the U.S

Freight forwarding companies in the U.S have saved a lot of companies and individuals a lot of stress and money when it comes to transporting their cargo whether it is by road, air, or sea.

Those companies or individuals who chose to handle the process themselves have ended up paying more than they would have. Many have been penalized, others have had their cargos delayed, and in some cases lost their goods altogether. Even forwarders can be penalized if they don’t comply with guidelines set in place. Visit https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/all-articles/24-compliance-a-training/export-management-a-compliance/48-freight-forwarder-guidance to read more about the freight forwarder guidance.

The advantages of hiring the services of a forwarder are so great that choosing not to hire one is quite unwise. Hence, to give you a better understanding of the benefits you stand to gain when you hire a forwarding agent, we will discuss the services provided by Freight Forwarding Companies in the U.S.

What a Freight Forwarding Company Does

The first thing you need to know about these companies is that they don’t operate vessels or vehicles or any mode of transportation. In other words, they are not the ones who move your cargo. Instead, their job is to help you to locate the best services and transportation mode or modes as the case may be that will ensure the safe delivery of your merchandise to the desired location as efficiently as possible.

For such a company to provide you with the best service, they will analyze your needs and also determine if you require any special needs. The timeframe that you need the cargo delivered is also put into consideration.

When this is done, it will help them to make the right selection of shipment routes. They will also determine which transport mode is more appropriate. If the timeframe is urgent, they might choose air freight which is further dependent on whether the cargo can be transported in that manner. Or they could settle with ocean freight if they deem it the best option most likely due to the nature of the merchandise.

This company will manage all the required documentation. Hence, you don’t need to worry about things such as export declaration, permits, bills of lading, etc. All this stress is taken off your table allowing you to focus on other areas of your business.

Main Stages Involved in Freight Forwarding

As a supplier, it makes sense to find out more about freight forwarding as it will help you understand how the company you hire to forward your goods operates. Although the whole process might seem very complex (and indeed it is), we have chosen to simplify it into its main stages for easier understanding.

1. Haulage

This is the process of moving goods from your warehouse or factory to the forwarding company’s warehouse.

2. Export Clearance

At this stage, the preparation of documentation is done and reviewed to ensure that everything is in place. The documents that are prepared at this stage include custom forms, commercial invoices, bills of lading, etc.

3. Destination Handling

Your cargo is unloaded at the designated destination port. Also, the cargo will be checked and inspected at this point to see if it meets the relevant documents.

4. Customs Clearance

The customs will then check the goods upon arrival at their destination. It will also be identified and required custom charges will then be paid.

5. Import Haulage

This involves the acceptance and movement of the goods to the import warehouse by your chosen forwarder company or the company’s partner in the country where you exported your goods to.

6. Destination Haulage

The final stage is where the cargo is then taken to its final destination; maybe the warehouse of a wholesaler from the import warehouse where it was originally kept upon arrival.

Services of Freight Forwarding Companies

The following are the services most freight companies based in the United States of America will provide when you hire them:

1. Administrative Tasks

Freight forwarding involves a lot of administrative tasks which can become somewhat cumbersome. A good way to free yourself of such a burden is to hire a forwarding agent.

When such a firm is hired, they end up taking care of these administrative tasks. Hence, the inventory reports, bills of lading, letters of credit, and receiving of reports are all handled by the company.

Furthermore, they can handle custom documents for you. Hence, you don’t have to bother about commercial invoices, carrier waybills, permits, certificates of origin, etc. Click here to learn more about certificates of origin.

Merely seeing the number of tasks that have to be taken care of, it is very easy to see how one can fail to carry out some of these requirements. Failure in meeting any of these requirements will affect the outcome of the freight forwarding process.

2. Selecting the Freight Carrier

Another service that these companies offer is that they help you select the freight carrier. They ensure that the carrier fits the needs of their client.

During this process of selecting a carrier, the company will also decide which shipment route, as well as a transportation mode, is best. While road, air, and ocean are the major transportation modes, a shipment could either use one of these or a combination. This is dependent on the location from where the cargo is coming from and where it is being transported to.

When they make these decisions, their intention is to reduce additional costs without compromising the safety and the speedy delivery of the merchandise.

3. Customs Brokerage

Dealing with customs regulations can be tedious since several documentations need to be taken care of. While this is done, it is expected that you pay attention to every single detail within those documents.

Besides, any operation that involves customs brokerage can only be handled by a licensed individual or company. This is where freight forwarders come in handy as they are usually in association with such licensed professionals. In some cases, some of them are even part of their in-house unit making such individuals easier to access.

If you also need any form of consultation related to exporting such as compliance standards, marking, packaging, etc. you can reach out to a forwarder to give you the necessary advice you need.

4. Warehousing

This involves maintaining, arranging, and storing the goods in a warehouse. A lot of forwarding agents provide packaging as well as purchasing support under inventory management services. They are able to provide this service easily as a result of their cooperation with warehouses.

It is not rare to see companies whose inventory management services are handled by in-house staff. When you hire such a company, in most cases, the inventory management services are usually offered at a lower price since they don’t have to give out commissions to any third party.

5. Cargo Insurance

Despite the fact that most forwarding companies will assure you of the safe delivery of your goods, it doesn’t take away the fact that the cargo is exposed to all kinds of risks. The cargo could end up being lost, stolen, or even damaged while being transported.

As a result of this, most of these companies secure cargo insurance. This relieves you of the burden to secure insurance for your cargo.

The expertise of the company makes it possible for them to find the best policy that will suit your needs which you would have been able to get on your own. The cargo insurance they provide has a maximum cover and reasonable premium.

Conclusion

Freight forwarding companies have made the process of exportation and importation much smoother than it has ever been for shippers. The fact that they can take care of the entire logistic process affords shippers rest of mind.

The services these companies provide are diverse but include administrative tasks, selecting the freight carrier, customs brokerage, warehousing, and even cargo insurance.

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