What makes a good freight forwarder?
1st January 2024
Without really understanding what's the best fit for your business, your benchmark will naturally become focused upon price. Here we try and explain how you choose the right freight forwarder for your business, products and shipments.
What to consider when selecting a UK based freight forwarder
You first need to have a clear idea of what you want from a freight forwarder. You know your product and export or import needs (i.e. The volume and frequency of your shipments, the origin and destination countries, the customs and regulatory requirements, the delivery time and budget). What you need to establish as a benchmark to make an objective selection is the level of service and communication you will be given if you select a company as your freight forwarder.
These details will help you focus on your needs on the most relevant freight forwarders based on their experience and capabilities. There are thousands of businesses providing freight forwarding services. They range from one man bands to major global logistics players. You need to pick the right fit for you, because freight forwarding is about communication, tracking, delivery and problem-solving experience when the unexpected happens.
Understanding your needs
If you import or export to or from anywhere in the world, there is typically no generic off-the-shelf service. Which is why we take every measure to understand your specific product and shipment needs. Our aim is to become an extension of your business to support your international business growth strategy. Providing you with a seamless end-to-end solution.
Spatial Global have built their freight forwarding reputation on expertise and a highly personalised service. We are an award winning independent international freight forwarder with facilities in the East Midlands and Heathrow, which means we are at the heart of the UK's cargo network.
What makes a good freight forwarder checklist
1 - Experience and Reputation
Look for a freight forwarder with a solid track record and years of experience in handling shipments similar to yours. Check customer reviews, testimonials, and references to assess their reputation in the industry.
2 - Services Offered
Evaluate the range of services offered by the freight forwarder. Consider whether they provide the specific transportation modes (air, ocean, road, rail) and services (customs clearance, documentation, warehousing) that match your business requirements.
3 - Global Network and Coverage
If your business involves international shipments, ensure that the freight forwarder has a strong global network and coverage. This includes having offices or reliable partners in key locations relevant to your supply chain.
4 - Licensing, Accreditations and Certifications
Verify that the freight forwarder holds the necessary licenses and certifications required by regulatory authorities. This ensures compliance with international and local shipping regulations. A company's membership in organisations like BIFA (British International Freight Association) or the FIATA (International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations) is the strongest indicator that it operates ethically and complies with all applicable legal requirements.
5 - Technology and Tracking
Consider the technology and tracking capabilities of the freight forwarder. A forwarder with advanced systems and real-time tracking can provide better visibility into your shipments, helping you manage your logistics more effectively.
6 - Financial Stability
Assess the financial stability of the freight forwarder. A financially stable partner is more likely to withstand economic fluctuations and provide consistent service quality.
7 - Communication and Responsiveness
Communication is crucial in logistics. Choose a forwarder that is responsive to inquiries, provides clear communication and offers a single point of contact for your shipments. Accessibility and responsiveness are key factors.
8 - Insurance Options
Inquire about the freight forwarder's insurance options and understand how they handle insurance claims in the event of loss or damage to your cargo during transit.
9 - Customs Expertise
If your shipments involve international trade, ensure that the freight forwarder has expertise in customs clearance and compliance. Familiarity with local customs regulations is essential to avoid delays and penalties.
10 - Cost Structure and Transparency
Understand the freight forwarder's cost structure, including fees, charges, and any hidden costs. Seek transparency in pricing to avoid unexpected expenses.
11 - References and Case Studies
Request references or case studies from the freight forwarder, showcasing successful projects or partnerships with businesses like yours. This can provide insights into their capabilities and performance.
12 - Sustainability Practices
If sustainability is a priority for your business, inquire about the freight forwarder's environmental practices and commitment to sustainable logistics.
Whether you need Air, Sea, Road, Rail or Multimodal Freight Forwarding
The more complicated your import and export needs, the more we can potentially save you. How' Because you get a bespoke service designed by specialists in import and export - customs administration - transport and route options. Spatial Global is a widely accredited freight forwarder, with an extensive, reliable, and established international network. This helps us facilitate streamlined end-to-end shipping process, smoothing the passage of your cargo through the myriad of processes and regulations required by the different countries.