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How Freight Forwarders Save SMBs Time and Money

Managing shipping logistics is not exactly every business owner’s idea of a good time. For most people, it can feel like an endless game of Tetris. You’ve got all those oddly shaped packages that need to somehow fit onto trucks, planes, boats, or trains – going to who knows where.  As your business expands into the new markets, or as you scale operations, this can become even more complex – not to mention the customs forms, taxes, and various regulations you need to get your head around. It’s enough to give you a headache. Freight forwarders have become an essential tool for businesses to utilize.

Of course, we all wish we could close our eyes, snap our fingers, and have an assistant handle everything for us – Kardashian-esque. But for many small business owners, they feel like shipping falls solely on their shoulders. Since shipping your products on time and accurately is absolutely essential for keeping customers happening and sales flowing, you absolutely need to get it right.

freight-forwarders

But here’s the good news… you don’t need to go it alone in your quest to master global shipping logistics. Freight forwarders offer a much needed lifeline to businesses of all sizes. They speak the lingo, understand the jargon, and know exactly the right way to get packages delivered from Point A to Point B – without a hitch. As such, they have the power to save you time and money – but only if you know how to tap into their services. 

What are Freight Forwarders

To put it simply, freight forwarding services operate as coordinators that help untangle the spider’s web of global logistics for businesses. Just like when you go to a travel agent that books all of your transfers, flights, and hotels, freight forwarders provide a similar service in the world of shipping logistics. They handle all of the back end complications that come with the territory of global supply chains and provide businesses with a single point of contact. This drastically simplifies and optimizes the entire shipping experience.

One important thing to note is that freight forwarders themselves don’t physically carry items anywhere They don’t own planes, trucks, or ships. Instead, freight forwarders are experts who handle all of the operational details to get your packages delivered using third-party transportation companies. At their core, freight forwarders provide services like:

  • Selecting the best carrier and plan for your needs 
  • Preparing shipping documents and customs paperwork 
  • Coordinating pickup and delivery 
  • Tracking your shipment’s movement 
  • Helping with claims if issues come up

In other words, they save you logistics headaches and coordinate smooth end-to-end delivery by air, land, and sea.  

Benefits of Using Freight Forwarders for Small Businesses

As a small business, paying for extra services that you can do in house is always going to raise questions. Capital is precious, and you need to allocate sources wisely. With that said, there is a strong argument to be made that freight forwarders are more than worth the outlay, for a number of reasons. Let’s dig into some of the key benefits: 

Cost Savings

First things first, freight forwarders can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. If you operate an export-heavy business where you’re constantly shipping either domestically or internationally, you’ll know that shipping costs can add up quite quickly. When you go it alone, it’s very hard to negotiate deals with suppliers. This is where freight forwarders come in.

Using economies of scale, freight forwarding services can aggregate bulk shipments across clients. This means they can secure significantly lower shipment rates. On top of this, they already maintain existing relationships with multiple carriers, and they can tap into special discounts that will be otherwise inaccessible. These discounts are then passed onto you.  

Time Saving

What may seem like a daunting process for you is just all in a day’s work for a freight forwarder. With their documentation knowledge and optimization expertise, freight forwarders sweep in to handle all the complex logistics tasks that would normally take small businesses owners a significant amount of time and resources. This includes things like route optimization, negotiation with carriers, filling in customs forms, dealing with issues, and so on. With all of this handled, you can focus on more mission critical tasks. 

Expertise and Navigation

International shipping brings a stormy sea of regulations, trade agreements, duties, and border policies. But armed with their industry mastery and data technology, freight forwarders guide you safely through potential hazards and delays to keep cargo on track. No more worrying about getting drowned by paperwork or incurring unexpected fees at foreign ports. 

Convenience and Single Point of Contact

Rather than manage multiple carriers and supply chain pieces yourself, freight forwarders streamline everything under one umbrella. This “air traffic control” provides a simple, centralized point of contact for your logistics operation.  

Scalability

As your sales ebb and flow, freight forwarders expertly ride the waves, coordinating capacity you need to meet rising demand. Got a big sales month or landed a major retailer order? Freight forwarders rapidly secure additional carriers so you can meet influxes in volume without stock-outs or delays. Entering a hot new export market? Lean on their global network and compliance knowledge to sail through cross-border complexities. 

How to Choose the Right Freight Forwarders

freight-forwarders

Not all freight forwarders are created equal. Like finding any compatible business partner, you want one aligned with your needs and goals. Some key traits to look for in selecting:

  • Experience – See if prospective freight forwarders have worked with companies your size and industry before. Do they have experience shipping to your target geographies?
  • Wide Network Reach – A freight forwarder should connect you to a broad network of trusted, vetted carriers for air, ocean, rail and road. A global roster with solid partners
    in your key regions should be a big plus point. 
  • Tech Savvy – Today’s shipping landscape requires digital coordination, so seek forwarders with online tools for scheduling, tracking, analytics, and forecasting. Tech know-how helps optimize logistics and keeps information flowing.
  • Communication – Top rated forwarders earn customer raves for responsive, proactive communication. Since shipping mishaps happen, you need customer service personnel to roll up sleeves quickly to resolve issues and provide alternatives. 

Final Word on Freight Forwarders 

As dedicated logistics specialists, freight forwarders save time and money by managing the end-to-end details that make shipping a headache. Forwarders tap into better rates through their networks, optimize routes, handle documentation, track shipments, and consolidate your supply chain under one roof.

The result? Forwarders enable small businesses to scale more profitably while focusing energy on higher priorities. Not to mention it enhances the delivery service for the end consumer. With an expert logistics sidekick, saving thousands in supply chain costs isn’t just possible—it’s the new normal.