How to Change Freight Forwarders

 In China Shipping Companies, Freight Forwarder, International Shipping, International Shipping Company, ocean freight, ocean shipping, shipping companies

cargo ship in water overlooking sunsetAre you unhappy with your current freight forwarder? It might be time to change your freight partner. To be sure you are changing a freight forwarder at the right time, look for these telltale signs you should get a new freight forwarder business partner. The more red flags you notice, the more imperative it is to get a new freight forwarding company to work with.

Signs You Need a New Freight Forwarder

Changing vendors for your business requires a serious commitment to the search, but if your current freight forwarder is not working well for your company, you could be losing business and wasting time. Here are some of the most common indications you need a relationship with a new freight forwarder.

1. Poor Customer Service

You know how vital providing excellent customer service is for your business, and you should expect the same from your vendors. Poor customer service from your freight forwarder means the company shows unprofessional behavior in one area. In how many other areas does that establishment also cut corners? Customer service should be at the forefront of any business that deals with others.

Skimping on providing a quality relationship with you means you won’t be able to communicate your needs with the freight service. Don’t accept brusqueness from your contacts with a freight company. That business’ representatives need to treat you as a valuable partner, not as a means of making money. A freight forwarder’s attitude toward you is essential. You should never accept poor customer service from any company your business works with. This sign may be subtle, but it is a red flag that changing your freight forwarder should be your next move.

2. Company Growth

You probably don’t have the same needs for your company now as when you first started. Perhaps you were initially able to arrange for shipments on your own and handle the freight movement, especially if your shipping was local. As you grow, the companies you do business with should reflect your changing needs.

two shipping agents walking in a warehouseNow your business has grown, it’s time for your vendors to change with it. If you are now shipping internationally, you need a freight forwarder that can handle customs clearance as well as managing the cargo. Insurance along with these services is another factor to consider. Not every freight company has the staff with the knowledge to navigate the ever-changing customs rules. Find one that does to get the most from your freight service.

3. Technology

If your freight company still relies on 1990s tech, you need to find a new freight forwarder fast. Paper ordering and a lack of a website take up too much of your valuable time. Most modern freight forwarding companies have evolved beyond these concerns. If the one you work with has not chosen to invest money in technological upgrades, how much time and effort will the company invest in you?

Today’s shipping requires the integration of technology throughout the process. With the aid of technology, your goods are less likely to get lost, and you will always know when they reach their destinations. Don’t keep using outdated shipping methods or companies that implement them. Upgrade to a business that embraces the latest technology to give you the best service.

4. Communication

In a business world where open communication is an expectation, you deserve to be able to reach your vendors during working hours. Contacting your freight forwarder can be critical when you need to make changes or ask about the arrangements the company has made. If you cannot reach your contact at the company, something is severely wrong.

Your forwarder needs to be open to communicating with you and responding to your needs. A sign you have a subpar freight forwarding company is a lack of communication. If the company ignores your emails for days or fails to respond to your phone calls, search out a new vendor.

5. Insurance Coverage

When shipping, you should not put your cargo at risk. While no one can predict storms and other unexpected phenomena, you can get financial protection in the form of cargo insurance. Insurance covers you if damage or loss occurs to your shipment.

hand holding cargo containers and text about insurance coverage for cargoIf you work with a freight forwarder who cannot or will not provide insurance, you need to switch now. You cannot afford to continue shipping uninsured goods. The risk of accidental loss of damage remains too high. Part of a freight forwarding company’s responsibilities involve making all the arrangements for your shipping, including insurance. Without insurance, it becomes a matter of time until you suffer a severe financial hit from lost or damaged cargo. Switch to a forwarder who will offer coverage along with its other services.

6. Recurring Problems

If your forwarder arranges with shippers that regularly lose shipments, arrive late or have other problems, you need to switch to a new company. Freight forwarders should learn from their mistakes and take steps to prevent them from happening again. Failure to do so results in constant failures and mishaps in your orders. Even if your cargo carries insurance, you can never recoup the time it costs you to resend the lost or damaged goods. Mistakes happen, but a forwarding company should not have recurring issues.

Just as no one can forecast shipment losses, no one can determine the exact number of problems they will experience before reaching the tipping point. However, if the recurring problems with your shipments interfere drastically with your operations, you need a new freight forwarder to regain your productivity.

7. Rates

As your business changes, your freight company’s will, too. If the rates the company charges you increase beyond what you can pay, start shopping around for a new freight forwarder. Compare prices and services from a variety of vendors before deciding when switching freight forwarders.

Sometimes, the best company may not cost the least. The best forwarder for your business will offer the services you need, though, to make your shipping painless. If your forwarder’s prices increase without a corresponding increase in services provided, consider switching your freight partner to one that will operate within your budget while taking care of your cargo.

8. High Turnover

While turnover happens at all companies, if your freight forwarder regularly has new team members — especially for managerial positions — it shows a company that does not function as it should. A company culture that does not incur loyalty in its workers by treating them well may not care for its customers, either. You could find your company getting poor service from a company with high turnover due to a negligent corporate culture.

Another problem with high turnover rates happens when workers leave and fail to adequately prepare their successors for the clients they dealt with. In the worst cases, the company representative you worked with may not have told his successor about you at all, leaving your business ignored and your cargo neglected. Regular changes of staff indicate a volatile company that does not have the stability to assist you with your shipping needs consistently.

How Can I Know My New Freight Forwarder Is Trustworthy?

list of trustworthy qualities for a freight forwarderHow trustworthy is your new freight partner? Can you be assured the company will comply with your requirements based on your industry? Several factors will make it clear you have a quality forwarder you can work with.

  • Experience: How much experience in the industry does the company have? Shipping regulations and rules change with time, and you need a company that can adapt. Universal Cargo has operated as a freight forwarder for more than three decades, giving the company the knowledge to get your goods where they need to go quickly and safely.
  • Trust: You need to trust a company with your shipments. Forwarders can offer some benefits to help incur your trust. Cargo insurance, a good track record and open communication are all things trustworthy forwarders should provide to their customers. When you have confidence with a forwarder, you will not have to worry about your shipments.
  • Customer service: Customers should always come first for any business. A trustworthy freight partner should treat you like the most important thing in its business. When your forwarder values you as a customer, you can feel more assured your shipments will arrive as needed.
  • Industrial adaptations: Does the company adapt to your needs? For instance, if you ship produce, you will need arrangements for refrigerated, or reefer, shipping. On the other hand, you will need 40-foot containers for furniture shipments. Your forwarder should know your industry’s shipping needs.

Is a Freight Forwarder Necessary? Can I Do It Myself?

Freight forwarding is a complex process, which explains why forwarders are the most common shipper used for both airfreight and ocean freight. With airfreight, freight forwarders handle 80 percent of shipments. Companies that make shipments, especially internationally, need the help of a company with experience navigating the problematic red tape of customs.

Forwarders wade through the process of getting the necessary paperwork, which can require many steps for overseas shipments. A freight forwarder may need to acquire the following documents for your delivery.

  • Bill of lading: The bill of lading serves as a contract. Customers need to have one to receive their shipment.
  • Certificate of origin: When exporting, you may require proof of your goods’ origination. A certificate of origin gives official labeling to your products.
  • Export license: Governments require licenses to send goods out of the country. These documents allow you to ship your products internationally.
  • Export packing list: When shipping internationally, you may need to itemize the number and weights of the goods in your shipments.
  • Commercial invoice: Invoices list the values of each of your goods, and customs officials often use these documents to calculate duty on the shipment.

You cannot negotiate all the requirements of shipping yourself. If you already have a company offering freight forwarding that does not perform as you need, switch to a new vendor. Do not put off changing vendors because you fear the hassle. The process of how to change a freight partner is not as costly as wasting time and money with an inefficient forwarder.

Who Benefits From Freight Forwarding?

Benefits from freight forwarding depend less on the size of your business and more on what your company does. If you send goods out anywhere, a forwarder can make your task easier. Companies need forwarders to take the burden of preparing shipping arrangements off their staff. Whether your company is large or small, you can reap this perk, too.

  • Small to medium businesses: In smaller businesses, it is common for staff members to take on multiple roles. But for shipping your goods, you will need someone with experience in the field. Having an employee in your company without the knowledge of arranging shipments could cost you more time and money than you can afford. If you have a tight profit margin, as is common in smaller businesses, you cannot afford to rely on a non-professional for your freight. A forwarding company can partner with you to help you navigate the field of shipping.
  • Amazon sellers: Selling on Amazon has become a lucrative option for many businesses. If your company sells its wares through this site, you will need warehousing to store your goods until they sell. Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service requires you to follow its strict preparation and packaging requirements before shipping your products to Amazon. Some freight forwarders, like Universal Cargo, will help you with FBA prep.
  • Importers and exporters: Bringing goods into the country requires knowing about customs and the requirements of shipping to and from your country. Freight forwarders will navigate the complex customs laws.
  • Large businesses: If you have a more extensive business, your shipping volume necessitates working with a professional freight forwarder. The amount of work the forwarder will save you will make investing in a new partnership worth the money.

Partner With Universal Cargo for International Business Shipping Needs

Changing freight partners should make your work easier after you complete the process. When you partner with us at Universal Cargo for your international shipping needs, you will reap the benefits of a company that offers top-notch service. We put the following options at your disposal.

  • Cargo insurance: For goods shipped with us, we offer cargo insurance to cover material in case of damages or loss during transit.
  • Customs clearance: Products we ship internationally must pass through customs. Because our job consists of dealing with customs, we have experts on our team who know the most up-to-date rules and regulations for getting your products through customs. Let us take care of customs when you ship internationally with us.
  • Warehousing: If you need a storage site for your products, talk to us about our warehousing services. We also include fulfillment, pick-and-pack services and Amazon FBA prep.
  • Sourcing and consulting: With the help of our sourcing and consulting services, your business can thrive. We will help you find solutions for your company’s problems, easing the burden of operations.
  • Pickup and delivery service: We have a fleet of trucks of varying sizes to pick up and deliver the goods you need to have moved.

new business freight forwarderAt Universal Cargo, we always push forward toward excellence. We aren’t satisfied with merely meeting your needs — we want to exceed your expectations. When you switch to us for all your freight sending needs, you will get high-quality services while taking the stress out of your shipping. Turn to us at Universal Cargo when you need a new business freight forwarder. Start the switch by contacting us to request our rates.

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