A Guide to Freight Forwarding and Worldwide Supply Chain Logistics

23 April 2019 | Freight Forwarding

International shipping moves about 90% of the world trade. In fact, about 481.8 million tonnes of freight pass through the UK ports each year. 

Managing your supply chain logistics is a vital part of the successful management of your business. When your business begins to grow, you’ll eventually want to go international

This step in expanding your supply chain is a significant change and requires someone experienced in international logistics. Keep reading for a guide to getting started building your global supply chain.

What Is Supply Chain Logistics? 

Supply chain logistics is the entire process of obtaining the supplies needed for your business. This starts with your manufacturing or materials supplier.

Then it moves to your shipping service. The final phase is the distribution process to your customers. 

When you take your supply chain global, you need to think about what parts of the process you want to take internationally. Are you looking to move the manufacturing process overseas? Or are you looking to expand distribution into new markets?  

What Is A Freight Forwarder? 

Instead of managing the freight shipping process yourself, you can hire a freight forwarder to manage the entire process for you. This includes storage of your shipment, negotiating shipping price, and ensuring that your shipments get from one destination to another.

A freight forwarder is a firm specialising in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers. It usually provides a full range of services including: tracking inland transportation, preparation of shipping and export documents, warehousing, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims. Freight forwarders usually ship under their own bills of lading or air waybills (called house bill of lading or house air waybill) and their agents or associates at the destination (overseas freight forwarders) provide document delivery, deconsolidation, and freight collection services. Freight forwarders are also called forwarders. For more information visit http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/freight-forwarder.html#ixzz3LQNLBUHO

Why Use a Freight Forwarder? 

International freight shipping is a confusing and intricate process. Working with an experienced freight forwarder can make the process go more smoothly.

They will know the different regulations imposed by each country. They will also be able to walk your shipments through the different customs procedures for each country. 

They will also secure you better rates by leveraging their shipment volume. Freight forwarders have long term relationships with carriers, which helps in securing lower rates. 

Your freight forwarder can also manage your shipments during the process. This means you don’t have to worry about locating storage if a delay happens. 

When you let a freight forwarder handle the arrangements, you can focus on growing your business. 

Services Your Freight Forwarder Can Provide 

The freight forwarder’s basic service is the organisation of the movement of goods internationally by all modes of transport.

A forwarder would typically be appointed by an importer or an exporter to act on their behalf to move goods into, or out of, the country, and all that this entails. Freight forwarders provide one or more of the following services:

  • Air freight consolidation and forwarding
  • Maritime transport and Intermodal services.
  • European road and rail distribution
  • Trade facilitation and Customs brokerage
  • Logistics and supply chain management.

Extra Services 

Ask your freight forwarder if they provide extra services for an extra fee. 

These could include cargo insurance or tracking. Even if you don’t need these services right now, it is good to know what options you have available to you.

Delays Will Happen 

When you expand your supply chain to be international, understand that you are opening up your supply chain to a lot more variables. When there are more parties involved in your supply chain, you need to plan for this.

If you manage your own international supply chain, your relationships are probably limited to international freight carriers. However, if you work with a freight forwarder, they will have more connections and the ability to be flexible in managing your supply chain.

There Are Restrictions on What You Ship 

Before you decide to start shipping internationally, make sure that there aren’t restrictions on what you plan to ship. Some commonly restricted items are:

  • Sharp objects 
  • Alcohol 
  • Batteries 
  • Drugs 
  • Perishable items (food and produce) 
  • Dangerous items (flammable or toxic) 

If your merchandise falls into one of these categories, you will need to take extra precautions when shipping internationally. It will be essential to work with a freight forwarder to aid in this process because they will know the specific regulations.

Freight Forwarder Specialisation 

To comply with country restrictions, some freight forwarders specialise in a specific type of cargo. This is great if you have the type of freight that they specialise in. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep looking for a forwarder.

Working with a freight forwarder that specialises in your type of cargo means they have the most robust logistics network possible for your particular kind of cargo.

They will have experienced a multitude of problems associated with your specific cargo. This will let them resolve any issues quickly and efficiently. 

Documents You’ll Need When Shipping Freight Internationally 

We’ve briefly mentioned that there is a lot of paperwork involved. for more detailed information, visit the following site.


Manage Your Global Supply Chain 

Whether you are new to international supply chain logistics or have been shipping internationally for a while, a freight forwarder can help you optimise your supply chain. 

By fostering a positive and solid relationship with your freight forwarder, you can create a reliable supply chain. When you know your supply chain is in good hands, you can focus on your main priority, growing your business. 

Contact us today to get started building your global supply chain. 


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