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What is Freight Forwarding?

Posted on March 4, 2014, 09:26 AM, by Rob Moreschi under International Moving Services

If you’re new to international moving, you might be unfamiliar with freight forwarders and what services they provide to people shipping their belongings overseas. Essentially, freight forwarders are responsible for handling the importing and exporting of international shipments. They serve as a “middle man” between the customer shipping his or her belongings overseas and the international moving company that customer has hired.

The freight forwarder will help you understand the requirements of international shipping, and act as a mediator to resolve any disputes or misunderstandings between you and your movers. Read on to learn more about freight forwarders and how to use them for your overseas move.

Why use freight forwarders?

There are plenty of benefits to using a freight forwarding service for your international move, many of which will help to make your international move go as smoothly as possible. Here are just a few of the reasons why you might consider hiring a freight forwarder for your overseas relocation:

  • They will ensure that your shipment arrives at its intended destination at the scheduled date and time. Serving as a middle man between you and the moving company, freight forwarders have one important job, and that’s to get your shipment from point A to point B safely, securely and on-time. While you deal with the movers at your origin location and at the destination, the freight forwarder will handle everything in-between – they are responsible for your belongings while they’re in transit. They’ll work hard to ensure that your household goods arrive when they’re supposed to, in good condition.
  • They will arrange the documentation necessary to clear Customs. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll be required to submit several documents and forms to the Destination Agent at Customs in order to clear your shipment. Depending on where you’re moving, this can be a complicated process, so freight forwarders will help arrange this for you and they will guide you through the Customs clearance process.
  • They will help connect you with other services you may need. One of the perks of using a freight forwarding service is having established connections with other carriers, such as air, ocean and ground transport services. Whatever services you require for your move, freight forwarders can help you find what you need.
  • They’re there to make your life easier. Freight forwarders exist to streamline the international shipping process to make move simpler and more efficient. They will even arrange airfare for you to get from your origin to the destination, as well as find the safest route for your shipment to travel.

How to find a freight forwarder

Freight forwarders are ultimately beneficial for you, especially if it’s your first time making an overseas move -- but how do you go about finding a freight forwarding service? How can you be sure that it’s a legitimate company? Here are some tips on how to find the right freight forwarder for your move:

  • Make sure to conduct the appropriate background research beforehand. Just like any other moving company or moving-related service, some less-than-honest freight forwarders can use certain deceitful and misleading tactics to lure unsuspecting customers to use their services. To make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, make sure to check the company’s background before hiring them.
  • Ask friends and family members who have moved overseas before. One of the best ways to find an honest and reliable freight forwarder is to ask for referrals from friends, family members or coworkers who have used the service before. These tend to be better and more dependable recommendations than you would otherwise receive from online review or other sources.
  • Check the company’s affiliations and inquire about their history. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: inquire about how long the company has been in business and ask them about their operations. Also, check to see if the company is a member of the Household Goods Freight Forwarders Association of America and the American Moving and Storage Association.
  • Get estimates and quotes from several different companies before choosing. Compare quotes from at least three different freight forwarders and keep a list of the companies you have received estimates from, as well as what kind of services each one offers. Then use this list to compare and contrast the companies to find the one that is right for your move.
  • Ask what kind of insurance is recommended. The freight forwarder will often let you know what kind of insurance they recommend for your shipment. Although most overseas shipments are generally secure, it’s always a good idea to add extra insurance coverage for your belongings during the move, just in case. You can often obtain this insurance through the freight forwarder, or the international moving company you’ve hired.
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