International freight shipping is a complex procedure that requires the services of an international freight forwarder.
A freight forwarder is essentially a company or a person whose duties are to organize shipments of corporations or individuals, and to get large orders from manufacturers to the market or to the final point of distribution.
Freight forwarders contract carriers to facilitate the shipment of goods. The forwarder himself is not a carrier per se, but is skilled in supply chain management. Basically, these forwarders can be thought of as a travel agency for the cargo industry or as a third party logistics provider.
Freight can be booked for a whole host of carrier types, which include ships, trucks, planes and railroads. Some shipments can use multiple carrier types on route before it reaches its designated destination.
Freight shipping calls for very specific documentation as it has to go through multiple custom checks before being allowed to pass through. The forwarder would organize the carriage of your international shipment, along with helping the handling and processing of all the necessary paperwork. International forwarders also make sure that your shipment is arriving at the correct place at the specified time.
An international freight forwarder should traditionally guide you through the complicated process of international shipping, as they are the experts on the international freight shipping process. This way you can understand and aid your shipment and your freight forwarding company can benefit from this information.
A day in the life of a freight forwarder would consist of the following tasks:
The primary task of a forwarder at work would be conversations and negotiations with clients and warehouses that they deal with worldwide. This is because they need to gather information for the purpose of passing it on to the concerned parties that they are doing business with or need to report to as authorities. These would include an SSL – Steam Ship Line, the United States Customs or they might even be the customer themselves.
Other tasks include ensuring that the freight being imported or exported by the client always gains entry into the country it is being forwarded to. The forwarder must always arrange for the freight in question to be picked up and delivered to the consignee’s final place of business.
This would mean being in constant contact with trucking companies and rail lines to ensure that everything is operational and will reach the assigned designation in time.
With the advent of modern communication technology these tasks are relatively easier for the modern freight forwarder, which means that today, a typical forwarder would like most professionals, spend his day in front of a computer, where he controls and tracks the freights processing and progress.