#1. What is a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution. Forwarders contract with a carrier or often multiple carriers to move the goods.
A forwarder does not move the goods but acts as an expert in the logistics network. The carriers can use a variety of shipping modes, including ships, airplanes, trucks, and railroads, and often use multiple modes for a single shipment. For example, the freight forwarder may arrange to have cargo moved from a plant to an airport by truck, flown to the destination city and then moved from the airport to a customer's building by another truck.
International freight forwarders typically handle international shipments and have additional expertise in preparing and processing customs documentation and performing activities pertaining to international shipments. *

#2. Why Use a Freight Forwarder?

The export/import process is complex; furthermore, every country has separate rules and regulations that need to be adhered to which can prove to be quite daunting. A freight forwarder will help make your logistics more efficient and reliable, which is exactly why you need to use the services of a professional freight forwarder.
Other reasons / benefits include but are not limited to the following:

  • A freight forwarder will coordinate everything for you, saving you time and hassle. This may include booking cargo space in the most cost-effective manner, coordinating freight charges, arranging storage and warehousing, organizing insurance and tracking your shipment. They take care of all documentary requirements for the movement, custom clearance, arranging carriers for your goods, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges et al. Basically, once a Freight Forwarder is in the picture you may sit back and relax while your goods traverse across the globe to various destinations.
  • Freight forwarders offer more freedom for your business because they work without binding contracts. Having the freedom to choose carriers also ensures higher levels of above standard customer service.
  • A freight forwarding service saves you time and headaches while providing reliable transportation. When requested, freight forwarders provide point-to-point services, taking all of the responsibility of transportation out of your hands. While this efficient point-to-point transportation reduces the need for connection time, it also decreases the chance of damaged goods.
  • A freight forwarding company is well versed in the logistics requirements of various countries and enjoys the benefits of established relationships with numerous carriers and transporters, thus allowing better pricing and smoother communication. Additionally, if multiple services are required such as air freight, ocean freight and trucking, a freight forwarder can develop the best solution to deliver efficiently, cost-effectively and reliably.
  • Freight forwarding takes a lot of coordinating; airlines, ocean carriers, and especially customs agents, require correct, complete, and timely paperwork—and the rules and requirements are always changing. Experienced freight forwarders have established relationships with carriers, brokers, and border agencies. As their client, you benefit from longstanding rapport and working relationships.
#3. What is Customs Clearance?

Customs clearance is the procedure of procuring permission from a country’s governing administration, through its customs authority, to either take goods out of its territory (export) or have goods enter its territory (import). All goods shipped internationally must pass through customs before they are allowed to enter or exit a country. This includes anything sent by sea, or air. Once cleared, the shipper is provided with a document that confirms that all customs duties have been paid and that the shipment of goods may proceed.

#4. What Documents are Needed for Customs Clearance?

As with many other freight forwarding matters, documents can also be country or area-specific. The below entails the most important documents that customs authorities are most likely to request universally.

#5. Is There a Difference Between Import and Export Clearance?

In terms of customs clearance, the process for export and import clearance is very similar. However, importing materials and products will involve an assessment of the goods and payment of import taxes and duties.

#6. Do I Have to Undergo Customs Clearance to Import or Export?

For the most part, customs clearance is compulsory whenever you transport commercial goods from one country to another by air or sea. The transporter has to acquire export clearance before any cargo can leave the port or airport of origin. Upon arrival at the destination country, import clearance is required before the freight can be delivered to the consignee. As import and export clearance procedures are rather country-specific, it’s essential that the trader does the necessary research or consults an expert, (normally a customs broker or freight forwarder).

#7. Why do I have to Pay a Custom Agent to Clear my Goods. Are They Not Employed by Customs?

Custom Agents are not employees of the government or Customs. They are in commercial business and also facilitate the clearance for importers and exporters of goods. That is why you have to pay them for the services they give in clearing your goods for you.

#8. What’s the Difference Between Air Cargo and a Courier Service?

When using a courier service your goods won’t be considered as freight, but as a postal package. This is an ideal option for small, lightweight parcels requiring urgent transport. However, courier companies don’t provide an integral logistics service covering aspects like customs clearance, meaning that you may find yourself faced with delays or surcharges. On the other hand, air freight sent by means of a forwarding company will guarantee greater security for your operation since its professional team will take care of all necessary details.

#9. What are Dangerous Goods?

Certain articles and substances may represent a risk to health, safety and the environment. Despite being classified as dangerous goods, freight of this kind can also be transported by air, benefitting from its speed, although it does require a series of specialized procedures to guarantee that the logistics operation proceeds with no unwanted surprises. Among the goods considered dangerous for air transport are explosive and flammable goods, gases and flammable liquids, spontaneously combustible, toxic, infectious, corrosive and radioactive materials.
At Efezino Global Resources, we are specialists in the air transport of dangerous goods. We handle your sensitive cargo in keeping with all safety standards to ensure that it reaches its destination in perfect conditions and at absolutely no risk to either the load, people or the environment.

#10. What is Containerized Shipping?

Containerized shipping is a very common method for expediting the movement of household goods and commercial products. Your commercial products or household goods are loaded into a protective steel container similar to a semi truck trailer (without wheels). The container is loaded onto an ocean going vessel. Upon arrival, the container can be loaded onto a trailer for delivery to your final destination.
Standard containers come in two sizes: 20-foot and 40-foot in length. The 20-foot container can hold approximately 1050 cubic feet (the contents of a one bedroom apartment). The 40' container can hold approximately 2100 cubic feet. Specialized containers (hi-cube, refrigerated, open-top, etc.) are also available!

#11. What is the Difference Between FCL and LCL?

FCL means Full Container Load, which means all the goods in a container belong to a single shipper. LCL means Less Container Load, which is used when a shipper has to share the container with cargo of other shippers. The latter is chosen when the quantity of cargo is less. Transit time of LCL might get delayed, as the container is dispatched once it is stuffed is sufficient quantity of cargo. The freight forwarders charge for LCL on per cubic meter basis. Make sure there aren’t any hidden charges that are informed to you at later stages.

#12. What are the Major Stages of Ocean Freight Forwarding?

There are seven major stages, which include:

  1. Export haulage — Movement of cargo from shipper’s to forwarder’s location
  2. Customs clearance (Export) — Submission of necessary documentation to the relevant authorities
  3. Origin handling — Physical handling and inspection of cargo
  4. Ocean freight — Scheduling of shipping line by freight forwarder
  5. Customs clearance (Import) — Consignee appoints customs broker for this stage
  6. Destination handling — Handling of cargo to move it from port to warehouse
  7. Import haulage — Delivery of the product to the address
#13. What are the Benefits of Ocean Freight Shipping?

Especially for long distances, ocean freight shipping appears as the most economical option. Businesses and individuals prefer this mode for the shipping of bulky and oversized cargo, such as trucks, construction materials, and industrial equipment. The modern-day ships are designed to safely carry dangerous materials and hazardous cargo. To ensure additional safety, the containers are designed to be locked and sealed. When compared to other modes, ocean freight shipping is environment friendly.