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Step-by-step to Hiring Reliable Cargo Forwarders



The new age, we live in, has made everything much easier. Any services or products you might need are just a few clicks and a phone call away. Even though technology has added quality to our lives and provided us with time-saving tools, it also has its downsides. Having so many companies to choose from and looking for services online can turn out to be daunting. The internet can’t always provide us with the first-hand impressions and reliability information. Therefore, while in process of hiring reliable cargo forwarders, you should take a few steps further and look into the company’s reputations and work ethic. Having your cargo transported safely and according to the international regulations should be a high priority for all top-rated international freight forwarders.

All you need to know before hiring reliable cargo forwarders

When looking for a company that can arrange storage and shipping of your cargo, choosing the cheapest option might not always be the best solution. Rather than focusing solely on the cost from the beginning, you should look for a company that will meet your needs.  In order to find the best cargo forwarded, you should do an initial research and choose a few to contact and pick from. All top-rated international freight forwarders in Japan should be able to provide you with various shipping options and additional services.  A reputable cargo forwarded will take care of all of the seemingly endless, complicated and frustrating administrative tasks of logistics in a timely manner.

Things to do before contacting a freight forwarding company

If this is not your first time to look for a reliable cargo forwarder, you will know that there are some preparations to do before grabbing the phone. The very first thing you should be aware of is what kind of services you will need. Having a clear image of your specific needs and expectations will let you focus on finding a reputable cargo forwarder.

Questions to ask yourself

In order to evaluate your shipment and cargo needs, you should follow a few simple steps:

  • Which of various cargo services do you actually need?
  • Are you looking for air or sea freight services when hiring reliable cargo forwarders?
  • What is the size and value of your shipment?
  • Are there any additional licenses you need for importing or exporting your cargo?
The freight forwarding services

Hiring a company for international freight forwarding services means that you will pay for the administrative aspects of shipping. Therefore, keep in mind that not all of the logistics companies out there have the transportation services. This means that there is a chance you will need to transport your cargo to a port or airport on your own. However, if you don’t want to deal with door to port transport you can always hire a reputable company to do it for you. Write down any cargo transport options you might need and use this list as a reminder when contacting a cargo forwarder.  Also, think of any additional shipping services that may come along useful. Therefore, if you are shipping your cargo to Japan, you will probably need to look for reliable moving and storage companies in Japan as well.

Another important thing to keep in mind is packing. Will you do it on your own? Or is it better to ask for help from your cargo forwarder? Besides affecting the overall shipment cost, packing will be crucial when it comes to safe transportation.

Air freight forwarding VS Sea freight forwarding

In order to help you choose let’s compare both options:

  • Air freight forwarding is much faster and a better solution when you are on a tight timeline.
  • Sea freight forwarding is cheaper and more suitable for large shipments. Keep in mind that there are different weight limits for both options.
  • Air freight is safer when it comes to regulations. All cargo shipped by air goes through the strict checkpoints. Therefore, your cargo forwarder will be obliged to follow all of the regulations. 
  • Are you concerned about the environment? Sea freight forwarding is more eco-friendly and the emissions of CO2 is much lower. 
The weight/size and value of your shipment

When hiring reliable cargo forwarders it is crucial to evaluate your shipment properly and in advance. Is it hazardous? Will you need more than a few containers? Are there any fragile items? All of these are very important questions that will affect your budget and freight transport options.

Is there anything else?

Don’t forget about any additional paperwork and documentation you need to prepare. Does the country you are shipping to or from require any additional licenses. Be aware of any import or export laws and regulations you will need to respect and follow. Hazardous shipments will, most likely, require some additional documentation. Research in advance and ask you cargo forwarder for an advice.

Hiring reliable cargo forwarders- how to choose the right one?

Following all the steps above, by now you should have a clearer picture of services you need from a freight forwarding company. Now is the time to start evaluating the companies themselves. The very first thing you should do is to find a few cargo forwarding companies you find reliable by the first impression and continue researching their reputability further.

The online research when looking for a reputable cargo forwarder

There a few important things to keep your eye on when researching a cargo company online. The very first one is to pay a close attention to their online profiles and websites. How do they present themselves? Any reputable company will be more than proud to brand their premises, vehicles, shipping material etc. Not having a transparent branding should raise a red flag.  Do they have visible contact information? Also, look for the services’ descriptions. A reliable cargo forwarder will always have detailed information about their company, services, and products.

Ask around and look for online reviews of former clients. If you want to take it a step further, contact the people who gave bad reviews and ask for more information. In addition to your research, you should consider contacting the FIATA ( International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association) for more a more detailed check-up. Authorities in the company’s origin country that oversee the freight forwarding regulations might also be a great source as well.

Contacting the cargo forwarding companies

After a thorough research, you should contact the selected companies in order to check their reputability and ask for a quote. Use the lists you have already made and ask additional questions. Pay a close attention to their behavior and customer service manners. Hiring reliable cargo forwarders will mean that you will always have whom to contact regarding your shipment location and additional information. A reputable company will always be more than happy to ask any question. Them refusing to do so all rushing to end the conversation should raise a red flag.

Questions to ask when hiring a reliable freight forwarding company

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Can they provide you with few recommendation letters?
  • Tell them the list of services you might need and ask for additional information on all of them.
  • Ask about their network of partners and agents? Which are the third company services they will use?
  • Require more information on insurance options and advice.
  • Ask for a quote and which services does it include.
  • Hiring reliable cargo forwarding might still mean that you will have some additional fees and charges added to you quote later on. Ask for specific information on this subject. For example: will there be any dock fees? How about requiring a few containers more than expected?