15 Tips – Choosing a Freight Forwarder to China
Finding a freight forwarding company that works well for you can be frustrating. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons when choosing a freight forwarding company. You may be asking yourself, what’s so different about each company? The fact of the matter is that each company has its own requirements, prices, and process. Some even have their own personal methods of transporting your goods. This is why it’s extremely important to fully research every company so you can find out which one will fulfill your requirements. Here you will find some helpful pointers to choosing a freight forwarder that’s right for you.
Every country has different requirements for items to process successfully through customs. So it’s important to understand what types of restrictions may apply when shipping your goods to China. You must check to see if your shipment has the proper dimensions and weight requirements. Certain shipments may need special modes of transportation such as if you have a large weight-bearing shipment, then you would more than likely need to find an experienced ocean shipping freight forwarder to ship your goods to the desired destination.
Keeping your paperwork up to date and accurate can be one of the most important aspects of shipping with a freight forwarder. It’s extremely important to make sure all of the documents you will be needing are updated to the needs of each shipment. Otherwise, things can become delayed and you won’t be seeing the progress you would like.
China, just like most other countries, has certain restrictions on specific food items and other goods such as fresh food, dairy, and plants. Please note that these items can regularly change so it’s best to look at the customs website and see if your items are safe for shipment.
Freight forwarders are here to make your life a little more simple when it comes to shipping freight. There are a lot of aspects to take into account; what paperwork will you need? How will you store your packages? Which mode of transport will you be needing? So choosing a freight forwarder that best fits your needs is a must. These companies are meant to take the hassle away from you by handling your shipments, storage, and packaging so you don’t need to.
To put things simply, air freight is generally more expensive than ocean freight. It’s not just the prices that you need to study when you’re looking for the right way to ship. It’s also the method and quantity of your shipment that you need to take into account as well. That being said, air freight is typically used when the cost of shipping is less than 15 – 20% of the value of the goods.
Knowledge is Power
Knowing the companies history can help you choose the proper freight forwarder. How long has the company been around? Do they have a strong network with other freight forwarders in the region that you’re needing to ship?
Wide Network and Strong Connections
When a company has strong networking connections it typically means less hassle and delays in the long run. This means that the company you choose has worked in this region many times and has an abundance of knowledge to get your items shipped faster.
Freight Forwarder with Solid References
This is because it means that the company has a good reputation to uphold. You wouldn’t want to choose a company that has a terrible reputation or no references to lean on. This shows a lack of experience or networking on the company’s part. Experience and networking are a vital part of this industry, so it’s important to find a company that has its roots.
Best Times to Ship
We all want to save money. The trick to saving your money when dealing with freight shipping is to try and ship during the offseason. During the peak season, demand becomes high, prices go up, and more mistakes are made around this time of the year. The peak season is generally around the holidays and the Chinese New Year.
Understanding Freight Forwarder’s Service Options
Most freight forwarders will offer services other than just shipping freight. Many of them offer services like tracking and preparation of shipping. They can export documents, handle the warehousing and storage aspects and even negotiate freight charges.
Comparing Rates and Methods
Another way of saving money is being very critical of which shipping method to use. As you know, air freight is generally more expensive than ocean freight. Rates will vary between shipping methods and during the peak and off-seasons. So it’s important to research which method is best for you and the time in which it’s best to ship.
Confirm your Packing List
Your packing list is quite possibly the most important item other than the goods itself. This list tells your freight forwarder what items they have and where they need to be. This will keep your shipment organized and help protect it from being lost or damaged.
A company that cares for its customers is a company that strives for the best. If the company doesn’t have good customer service then they probably don’t have good references either. It’s almost impossible for a company to have a good reputation and great references.
Understanding International Law
There are a number of items that international law prohibits people from shipping. Due to health and safety violations, certain items cannot be shipped such as prescription drugs or recreational drugs, supplements, toxic materials, and certain weapons.
Tracking Your Shipment
Tracking is becoming the norm in the shipping industry. It’s a convenient way to keep in touch with the customer without touching base with them. You can now track your packages or cargo and see in real-time where your shipments are at. This helps you run your business and your life more smoothly.
Make no mistake, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re trying to figure out which freight forwarder to choose. However, it becomes clear who to choose once you’ve done the proper research and vetting.