What freight forwarders do for the shippers:
My last blog mentioned the first leg (the trucking) of the entire logistics involving shipments & in relation to a lack of trucks to move your cargo to an airport or the port. The content pointed out the ramifications; truck surcharges, ports congestions impacting shipments with delays. The upside is an influx of shipments and the changes that it brings to the industries absorbing the growth. Before the logistics begin many steps take place with your forwarders outlined below.
Whether, trading or manufacturing soliciting freight rates for a prospective venture or having the goods & needing freight quotes with logistical answers, it all starts with the forwarder. Here is what takes place at ETC International Freight System (www.etcinternational.com):
Shippers call or email us with their shipments’ details & the shipping terms they request. Inexperienced shippers do not present the entire details of their shipments resulting in having
them consult with us prior to presenting a request that can be answered. Generally, this process is time consuming teaching the basics for import or export shipping. For the average shippers, this is expected of us, which is rarely a reward for the forwarders.
With ETC International Freight System (1-800-383-3157) from the moment we receive pertinent shipments information & shipping terms (refer to our Glossary Freight Terms button www.etcinternational.com), we canvass the industry through our vast sources & various contracts with carriers, which includes for the most part some or the totality of the following: in-house or seldom on-site packing, loading securely into a truck or a container, trucking, terminal receiving, export customs declaration, line haul or container dray, air or ocean freight, destination terminal, customs clearance, import bond, inspection, tax or duty, trucking / container positioning to depot or to a final destination. After, we compile all of the aspects of the freight request, it is formatted & sent to the shippers for review. Estimates are questioned & must be explained within a short time frame turn-around to increase the chances at getting a firm booking. This being the best scenario, too often, there is no profit margin or no shipment, but a lot of hours invested with a question mark for a return on your investment. Lots of follow-ups will ensue to retrieve a small percentage of the new shippers. With repeat, experienced shippers, we benefit from shorter steps & faster communications.
Upon a booking being placed, the operations take over & each phase that has been purchased in put into motion. Shippers’ export documents (packing list, commercial invoice, letter of credit, cargo insurance) are being scrutinized before sent to customs, packing crew instructed, packing material
purchased, coordination with the trucking company & trucker begins after our operations have the terminal (port / airport) & booking confirmed, goods are received with weights & dimensions verified, shippers notified of any discrepancy for billing purposes & the shipment loaded. Thereafter, we handle the line haul or container positioning & ensure the carriers keep the schedule unchanged informing the shippers of the status & whatever that might be.
When on-board, we track the shipments or we give the shippers the means to track their shipments themselves giving full disclosures & updates. Do you need insurance, click the button? GET a quote
Prior to arrival at destination & depending on the freight terms purchased driving our company to different layers of services, we interact with our break-bulk agent to segregate a shipment away from the others & prepare it for the customs. When customs is completed, we coordinate the delivery with the consignee.
All of the above services reflect on our quotes, exceptions can happen & must be explained for billing purposes, as random customs inspection cannot be anticipated with accruing storage. From the get go those exceptions are shown on our disclosure / information sheet, they are also part of our booking sheet, which we require the customer to sign & date.
Freight forwarders, for sure, ETC International Freight System does always prevent any gray area as much as we possibly can and take many steps to keep the shippers timely informed. Forwarders are not the carriers & since we do not hold the carriers’ liabilities, we are morally engaged to the shippers. I would end the above description by saying that the reality is more
complex than this simplify version, do not try it at home.
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