As with all aspects of international trade, it’s prudent to do your research before choosing a Canadian international freight forwarder to look after the transportation of your goods. An international freight forwarder books or arranges space for shipments between countries via common carriers. Making these arrangements can be a complicated business, especially when shipping internationally over long distances.
Freight forwarders also prepare and process the documentation and perform related activities pertaining to client shipments. Some of the typical documentation reviewed by a freight forwarder include commercial invoices, shipper’s export declarations, and other documents required by the carrier or country of export, import, or transshipment.
An effective freight forwarder will help your business succeed and should be a trusted partner for your logistics needs. In this competitive world which is highly reliant on supply chain optimization, it can be a game changer to select the right freight forwarder for your international and domestic logistic needs.
When you’re doing homework on your International freight forwarding needs, make sure you clearly know what your forwarder can and cannot do for you. A freight forwarder should be able to handle more than just the air shipping or ocean shipping and should also be able to handle the rail and trucking portion of your international shipping.
There are many modes of transport, commodities and regulations. Be mindful of the reality that not every freight forwarder can handle all of these combinations. It’s never a bad thing to know what experience they have in your type of shipment. There’s always a deeper level of comfort working with someone that deals with your type of product so they know how to handle it for export.
And be sure to determine the level of communication you’re going to get with your freight forwarder. In other words, are they switching your call from one person to another or do you have one designated person who handles your cargo?
Companies often rely on an international freight forwarder to handle some or all of these areas:
- Assistance with freight quotes and costs of international shipping
- Booking space for freight on airliners, ships, trucks and other modes of transportation
- Providing shipper with all the foreign destination’s documentation requirements
- Preparing shipper’s documents, banking and other paperwork necessary in the transaction
- Processing shipping documents and handling all necessary certification and legalization procedures, as required
- Distribution of documents to necessary parties in the transaction
- Arranging for insurance coverage, if necessary
- Arranging for customs clearances and pre-shipment inspections, if necessary
- Providing facilities for warehousing at foreign destinations
- Providing information on hazardous materials, if needed
An effective Canadian international freight forwarder should be experienced enough to be able to balance your speed and cost requirements, offering a range of shipment choices—ocean, truck, rail, barge, or plane. While service pricing is important, you should be careful to look for a top notch provider who can help you save management time and ensure the smooth operation of your supply chain.