The transport and logistics sector plays an important part in business operations in India. Records from 2017 show that close to 2.5 trillion tonnes of freight were moved across the country by road. This amounted to 67% of the total freight for the year. The numbers in themselves are overwhelming! Freight forwarders are industry experts in getting the job done for both business and personal use, playing the role of a perfect intermediary between the sender and the recipient. If you plan to use their services, here’s what you should know.
What are Freight Forwarders?
Simply put, freight forwarders are responsible for transporting goods between destinations, both domestic and international. Essentially, freight forwarders act as necessary intermediaries between the shipper and the recipient. They negotiate with a wide range of carriers and offer quick, reliable, and economical routes. Besides transport and logistics, they help with custom clearances, storage during transit, and other logistics aspects, including, but not limited to:
- Storing goods
- Inventory management
Benefits of Hiring Freight Forwarders
Freight forwarding services offer many benefits, primary among them being:
1. Taking the hassle out of transporting goods
Freight forwarding service providers have a lot of experience at different supply chains levels. Right from packaging to navigating customs, they allow for swift movement of goods. Choose a company with a strong track record and a vast network. That way, you’ll only be relying on one partner for your transportation needs instead of contracting several companies. This can take a pretty heavy load off your shoulders, literally and figuratively, for businesses serving different locations!
2. Route optimisation for consistent delivery efficiency
It’s not as simple as drawing up the shortest route between pickup and delivery points. Freight forwarders help decide on the optimal routes based on several parameters such as cost, time, and mode of transport for domestic and international shipping. Especially on international routes that require several stops, they use their local network to ensure delivery efficiency without compromising on timelines.
3. The Right Mode of transportation
Today, expedite shipping is no longer a luxury but a bare necessity. Based on the requirements, freight forwarders will arrange for flight, road, or rail freights, ensuring goods are transported safely, keeping with delivery timelines. For instance, trucks are ideal for small loads of domestic shipments and can be fairly cost-effective. On the other hand, air is ideal for fast-track shipments, including overseas routes.
4. Packaging Solutions
Goods and cargo need to be prepared and packed for transport. Depending on the type of goods, mode of transport, and route, this task can prove to be of varying complexities. For instance, goods would have to be packed differently for shorter routers when compared to long-haul transport, which might involve various rounds of loading and unloading. Likewise, air freights might have to meet specific requirements to keep shipping charges low. Freight forwarders help ensure that cargo and freight are appropriately packed to keep them safe during transit while keeping costs economical.
5. Improved costs for economies of scale
Freight forwarder having strong working relationships with several other logistic partner companies, giving way to economic costs. Their quotes usually cover 10-20 odd parameters like packaging, pickup services, warehousing, special container requirements, documentation, etc. By setting a single-fee, it not only optimises costs but also paves the way for a smarter plan to move your goods and cargoes.
6. Simplifying Documentation Processing
Managing documentation, particularly for the international transfer of goods, is tedious and time-consuming. With expertise and experience in different logistics-related paperwork, freight forwarding companies are instrumental in simplifying complex processes like docs preparation, procuring licenses, clearing customs, liaising with authorities, etc.
7. Selecting Comprehensive Freight Insurance Plans
Many uncertainties surround transport and logistics, making insurance crucial in mitigating associate risks and financial losses. Freight forwarders in India will also help you arrange the right insurance. This is imperative to protect you against the risk of damages and delays if any.
8. Custom Clearance
The international transport process can be complex with multiple ports of entry and exit, each having its custom processes. Since freight forwarding companies have a global presence, they help negotiate tariffs and navigate different customs regulations. You wouldn’t have to worry about delays or added charges this way.
9. Keeping you updated
With almost all businesses offering real-time updates, freight forwarders are no different. You will be kept updated on your goods’ status along with their current location and expected times of deliveries.
How to Choose the Right Freight Forwarder?
While the advantages of the right freight forwarder cannot be overstated, you need to choose a freight forwarding service with prudence. Here are some handy aspects to check for:
- Are they duly registered?
- What is their client portfolio?
- Can they offer references?
- Are their terms and conditions clear?
- Is their pricing structure transparent?
Making the right choice of freight forwarders in India can go a long way in saving you time and stress in the transportation of goods. That will mean quick time-to-market, which can become a significant competitive advantage!
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