Or Is The Forwarding Agent’s Service More Important?
Your shipment is worth more than the shipment value, it’s needed to grow your business, so you want someone you can trust to handle your valued goods.
The stories you’ve heard about the number of containers lost at sea are urban myths. In fact, only a very small percentage of containers go missing each year. Much more commonly, shipments do get lost, stolen, damaged and delayed. If this seems to happen frequently with your shipments, it’s time to start looking for a more reliable forwarder.
Many larger forwarders are also 3PLs (third party logistics providers) who specialize in providing broader support (contract logistics) for their customers. They can provide useful services for importers, like superior shipment tracking and warehousing. The tradeoff, of course, is likely to be on price.
But service isn’t just about breath it’s also about quality. Good old-fashioned customer service. Freight forwarding takes a lot of coordinating. Airlines, ocean carriers and especially customs agents aren’t forgiving of incorrect, incomplete or late paperwork. If your forwarder isn’t on top of your shipment, it risks being delayed and incurring unnecessary additional charges.
As a logistics service provider, your forwarder should communicate regularly and transparently with you. If you wait a week to get a freight quote before shipping, that might be a good indication that you could be waiting to get status updates on delayed cargo. A good forwarder will provide status updates, quickly alert you of any problem, and just as quickly work to resolve them, for instance, if a glitch occurs at customs or the warehouse, or when a shipment is behind schedule. If this isn’t happening, then it’s time to start looking for a new forwarding agent.
Good communication is important with freight charges as well. Freight quotes shouldn’t require deciphering. They should not have hidden charges or include unfair terms and conditions that get the forwarding agent off the hook.