How to Choose the Right Freight Forwarder

If you need to use a freight forwarder, it is crucial to make the right call first time.  The company will be handling important cargo and you need it safely transported to the right place at the right time.  An incompetent agency could cost you thousands of pounds, waste precious time and harm the reputation of your business.

So how do you find a freight forwarder you can trust?  The first thing to do is check out their reputation and credentials. Look at their website to find out if they are well-established and experienced, and see if they provide customer testimonials.

Check to see if the company is a member of BIFA (British International Freight Association). If they are, it means they will trade under a nationally accepted set of Standard Trading Conditions which are backed in the insurance sector.

Make sure the freight forwarder has a strong network of contacts in the country you are exporting to.  What is their geographical proximity to your export destination? A shipping agency based in Hull, for example, can be expected to have good connections with the Baltic States, Russia, and Eastern Europe.

Establish your requirements before beginning your search.  For example, do you need a company that handles vehicles, or specialised container shipment? Does the cargo require heavy lifting equipment, or is it hazardous?  Do you just require a port to port service, or a door to door service?  Make sure the forwarder’s services match your needs.

Exporting and importing can be a complex business, with a lot of paperwork to handle. You need to feel confident not just in the transport of your goods, but also in the people you are dealing with.  Speak to their customer service team, and consider if they offer a friendly personal service which will deal with any problems without fuss.