There Are Good Reasons To Use A Freight Forwarder When Importing Goods

Finance

  • Author Mark O'connell
  • Published April 21, 2020
  • Word count 712

If you are importing goods into the UK there are a lot of processes involved in getting them from the supplier you buy them from to your warehouse here in the UK. This is why using the services of a freight forwarder may be a good idea, since they can take a lot of the stress out of the process of international shipping. They will deal with all the processes of shipping from end to end and in most cases will also deal with customs clearance.

When you are shipping goods internationally there is a whole lot that goes on behind the scenes in order to ensure that your goods arrive safely. However, a good freight forwarder – whether an individual, or more often a company – will take care of all that and make it seem simple, even though it isn’t. In general, customs brokers deal with the import and export side, while the freight forwarder deals with the actual logistics, but many freight forwarders can act as customs brokers as well, thus dealing with all of the customs requirements under one roof, so to speak. 

The freight forwarder can get involved in any or all of the following steps:

Arranging transport from the point of origin – such as your supplier’s factory or warehouse – to the port or airport for shipment

Preparing documents, licenses, and all relevant paperwork for export at the point of origin

Negotiating, booking, and loading cargo for sea or air freight

Arranging for insurance and tracking delivery as needed

Preparing documents, licenses, and all relevant paperwork for UK customs authorities

Arranging haulage and delivery to your agreed location in the UK

Those are the basics, but where a freight forwarder comes into its’ own is having all the necessary contacts to handle the various parts of the job. Very often, the freight forwarder will outsource things such as haulage from your supplier to the port or airport and arranging international shipping insurance through an insurance broker. 

If you are new to importing, or even if not but you want to make the process as simple as possible, then a freight forwarder is the answer. There are a number of considerable advantages, not the least of which is that you only have to deal with one person rather than several different freight and haulage companies. With contacts internationally, they will be able to find service providers wherever you happen to need them. They can also negotiate on haulage, shipping, and warehousing costs for you. With the knowledge that they have, they can deal with all of the tiresome and complex paperwork that is involved in international shipping.   

However, there are some disadvantages to using a freight forwarder, not the least of which is that you have to allow for its’ own charges, so if you have all the right connections you may be able to save money by keeping everything in-house. It also means that you surrender control over your shipment to a third party, so you need to be able to trust them. 

When you get a quote from a freight forwarder it is essential to go over it thoroughly in order to see exactly what is, and what is not, covered. This should obviously include transport costs, such as from your supplier to the port or airport, sea or air freight costs, and costs of collecting your goods this end and delivering them to your warehouse. Then there may be special costs, such as refrigeration for perishables, or perhaps the use of a crane for very heavy items. You may need storage before or after shipping. 

For some routes there may be extra port charges. Then there is the cost of all the export and import documentation. There may be surcharges to cover fluctuations in currency exchange rates. You will also obviously need insurance in order to cover the goods against loss or damage, and ideally a specialist shipping insurance broker should be used for this. There could be extra charges for palletisation or packing of the goods. 

You can see that there is a whole lot more to importing – and exporting – goods than you might think, if you are new to the business, but a freight forwarder can take all of this off your hands.

The Insurance Broker is a specialist in arranging international shipping insurance for goods being imported or exported and can arrange for the best sort of cover applicable to your individual situation.

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