What is a Freight Forwarder?

by | Nov 29, 2021

The term ‘freight forwarding’ refers to the process of transporting goods from one place to another. As simple as this seems, it is far from an easy process and there are many obstacles that need to be overcome for goods to arrive at their right destination and at the right time.

The logistics of transporting goods all over the world is complex and requires a huge amount of documentation at every stage of the process.

A good freight forwarding company can help by:

  • Arranging transport from the origin – such as your supplier’s factory or warehouse – to the port or airport for shipment
  • Preparation of documentation, including licences, bills of lading, customs declarations for export at the point of origin
  • Negotiating, booking and loading cargo for sea or air freight on your behalf
  • Securing the best insurance cover for your cargo
  • Preparation of documentation, including licences and UK customs declarations for importation to the UK
  • Arranging transportation and delivery of your cargo to your UK destination

What are the drawbacks of doing it yourself?

  • If you’re new to importing goods into the UK, you will now understand how complicated the process is.
  • Getting the right paperwork together in order to import goods can be fraught with difficulty – you’ll probably need to speak with an army of people, try to arrange transportation with air, sea freight and haulage companies, negotiate the best prices, arrange insurance for your cargo, not to mention the meticulous documentation you need to submit to the Customs authorities…….the list goes on.

What are the benefits of using a freight forwarding company?

Freight forwarding companies are experts in the logistics of transportation of goods around the world. They have a deep understanding of the rules and regulations of the import/export sector, what is required and when.

Consider these benefits to you and your company of using a good freight forwarding company:

  1. You’ll only need contact with one person who will arrange your shipment instead of several different haulage and freight companies.
  2. You can rest assured that many freight forwarders are experts in import/export paperwork and can help you navigate the complex processes involved.
  3. Freight forwarding companies have a large network of connections across the globe including air, sea, and haulage service providers who they can call on to arrange suitable transportation.
  4. Because of their connections, they will be able to negotiate best prices on shipping, haulage, and warehousing on your behalf.
  5. Freight forwarding companies will offer you peace of mind that your shipment transportation is being overseen by an expert at every stage of the process. If something goes wrong, or you need to submit an insurance claim, a good freight forwarding company will be able to help.

The process of importing/exporting goods worldwide is highly skilled, complicated and requires an expert freight forwarder. With the changes to the process following Brexit in January 2021, transportation to and from the EU has been even more difficult for UK Companies to understand and comply with the new regulations. Equally, it’s been difficult for the freight sector to build in these changes to their processes, particularly in the early months of 2021.

A word about Brexit

We have been asked many times about the impact on businesses that the Brexit changes will have. We’ve set out here how the changes affect imports and exports to and from the EU.

Finally, a word about Covid19

The Covid pandemic placed huge demands on the global logistics and transportation sectors, with the closure of many international ports. This saw thousands of workers trapped at sea with their contracts expired.

However, all big ports have had to set new rules concerning 14 day quarantine for tankers arriving from China. This obviously has had a knock on effect to the entire international supply chain.

Governments started looking at alternative methods of transportation, including the temporary use of passenger aircraft for cargo-only operations to ensure that critical food, basic items and essential medicines and medical equipment was still transported. There was also a removal of the night flying curfew at most airports to facilitate essential cargo transportation.

China accelerated cargo release from its ports to 45 minutes by the implementation of special counters and green lanes that provided swift clearance at critical ports.

New pick up and drop off services in China helped to get perishable cargo and essential medical supplies to their destination as quickly as possible.