It’s almost impossible to discuss transportation — the movement of commodities or goods both locally and internationally without discussing freight forwarding. Though alien to some people, freight forwarding is an essential part of logistics planning. Contrary to popular misconceptions, freight forwarding transcends getting your commodities across borders. It also includes warehouse planning, customs brokerage, and cargo insurance.
As we mentioned earlier, freight forwarding is not limited to planning logistics and movements of goods on behalf of shippers. A professional freight forwarder is also saddled with other responsibilities such as brokering freight rate negotiations, customs documentation, customs documentation, and of course, consolidation.
What are the roles of a freight forwarder?
Having mentioned that, one may start to wonder, what are the roles of a freight forwarder and what does it take to become one? As for the requirements, one must have ample knowledge of custom standards and protocols — which of course, varies from one country to another. You also need to be able to think on your fee — agile thinking.
What agile thinking implies is that you need to have flexible problem skills while on the job. The weather, technology, and even humans that are part of the process may fail you and prevent timely travels. In such. a situation, what do you do? Would you start to panic and watch everything go south or take bold steps to salvage the situation?
Last but not least is your ability to build robust and reliable networks. Freight forwarding is not a one-man business. You need other people to perform certain tasks or also carry out their duties to build a strong supply chain. Then there is the need to get licensed.
We mentioned building a robust supply chain earlier. You should have it at the back of your that freight forwarding is regarded as a globalized marketplace where a lot of activities revolving around warehouse planning, customs brokerage, cargo scheduling, and cargo insurance are undertaken.
Let’s take a closer look at the roles of a freight forwarder
It’s part of your job description as a freight forwarder to provide freight insurance (or cargo insurance). Freight insurance ensures that you get adequate compensation for goods in the event of damage or loss of goods in transit. While you are at it, have it at the back of your mind that freight or cargo insurance doesn’t cover tangential losses related to the incident.
What that means is, say, for instance, the container falls off the truck and damages a nearby structure. The freight insurance will only cater to the financial loss incurred on the damaged goods or content of the container and not the financial loss incurred on the damage to the building.
Cargo scheduling entails coordination and the coordination of cargo space — skill sets that are essential to freight forwarding. To be successful in freight forwarding, you must be able to determine if it’s profitable to consolidate a shipment and secure timely sailings. Think logistics.
As we mentioned earlier, freight forwarders deal with different people in the course of executing their job — including customers and other experts. Freight forwarders have many customers, and sometimes their consignments may be less that than container load (LCL.) In such situations, the freight forwarder can consolidate smaller multiple consignments into one container and share the shipping cost between the participating customers.
In addition to all of these, a freight forwarder must also be skilled at negotiating shipment rates, advising the shipper, providing affordable warehousing, packaging, and distribution options, tracking shipments, and managing custom brokerage such as proper documentation of the import and export processes and representing their clients during payments of duties.