If your company sources raw materials or finished products from China regularly, you surely need a reliable freight forwarding partner. An experienced international freight forwarder will get you the products at the right time by avoiding all the issues that might take place in the process.
There are many freight forwarders in China, and all of them claim to deliver the best services. Well, blankly depending on someone will get you nowhere, and thus proper research before hiring anyone is crucial. So, let’s see who is a freight forwarder and how you can find a reliable one.
Who is a freight forwarder and how to find one?
A freight forwarder can be a big company or an individual agent who has extensive logistic knowledge. He/she will be able to arrange the transport of goods either by land, sea, or air.
Besides freight forwarders, there are 3PL (third-party logistics) companies in the market as well. These are larger companies that offer a variety of services along with the transport of goods. They procure and source products for you, export them and handle customs clearance as well.
Furthermore, one more term that you will come across while looking for a freight forwarder is NVOCC (Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier). This type of company only focuses on transporting goods via sea. They don’t exactly have their fleet and containers, but are affiliated with other companies that do.
When you will start looking for freight forwarders in China, these are the terms that you will come across and they are used interchangeably.
Tips to find the right type of freight forwarder
First off, who is the right freight forwarder will depend on your requirement. For instance, it is observed that larger companies are more dependable, but if you need someone to handle smaller shipments, they are not your guy. For this, the services of an independent freight forwarder will prove to be useful. Now, let’s see what are the qualities of a good freight forwarder…
1. Should have enough industry experience
It will work in your favor to collaborate with a freight forwarding agent who has extensive knowledge of your industry. For instance, if you want specific goods, from certain key destinations, it is best to work with someone who has done it before or does it regularly.
If you are trying to find a freight forwarder via online platforms, check their reviews, for how long they have been certified, and some background information about their business.
2. Should efficiently handle risks
When it comes to global transportation, a variety of political and economic factors are in play. A well-experienced international freight forwarder should be able to understand these risks and plan to minimize them. Some bigger freight forwarding companies have cargo insurance that can cover such liabilities. Check this in advance.
3. Should offer different services
When it is about successfully sourcing products from China, a series of services will be required. Your freight forwarder should be able to deliver these services. Some of the services that you may require in the process are:
- Pickup and delivery
- Handling inspections
- Customs clearance
- Re-packing and labeling products
4. Should be able to communicate well
Your international freight forwarder must speak your language fluently. Also, you want to work with someone that responds timely, is always proactive, and transparent, offers online tracking of shipped goods, notifies you about every small detail, and overall has a solution-based approach.
5. Should have proper licenses, certifications, and permits
Freight forwarders in China need proper certifications to work, and some special licenses to carry dangerous goods. So, if your products require this, ensure they have proper certifications.
Local freight forwarding companies in China offer many benefits. So, instead of trying to do everything by yourself, it is best to hire their services. After all, it will prove cost-effective in the long-run.