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What services to expect from an FCL logistics broker

As an international shipper, you may be wondering what services you can expect from a freight forwarder or customs broker. Here are the most common services provided by these fcl logistics professionals:

Freight quotes

One of the primary services offered by freight forwarders is obtaining quotes for shipping your goods. Because they have relationships with many different carriers, they can often get lower rates than if you were to ship on your own. In addition, they will be familiar with the various shipping options available and can help you choose the best one for your needs.

Documentation preparation

Another service offered by freight forwarders is preparing the necessary documentation for your shipment, including the commercial invoice, packing list, and other documents required by the carrier and destination country.

Transportation arrangements

Once you have selected a shipping method, your freight forwarder will make all necessary arrangements with the carrier, including booking the vessel’s space and arranging for pickup and delivery.

Insurance

Most freight forwarders can also arrange for insurance to cover your shipment in case of loss or damage, typically done through a third-party insurer. Still, some forwarders may have their insurance policies as well.

Customs clearance

When shipping internationally, your goods must clear customs in the destination country. Your freight forwarder can help with this by preparing the required documentation and working with the customs authorities to release your shipment promptly.

Tracking and tracing

Your freight forwarder can also provide tracking and tracing services so that you can see where your shipment is at all times. Tracking is crucial for time-sensitive shipments.

Delivery

Once your shipment arrives at the destination, your freight forwarder can arrange for delivery to the final consignee, which may include using their fleet of trucks or working with a local carrier.

Warehousing

If you need storage for your goods before they are shipped, most freight forwarders can also provide this service. They will typically have warehouse facilities near major transportation hubs.

Distribution

A freight forwarder can help with product distribution for businesses that sell products online. They can receive orders from your customers and ship them directly to their doorsteps.

Value-added services

In addition to the above services, many freight forwarders also offer value-added services that can save you time and money. These may include things like packaging, assembly, and labeling. By using a freight forwarder, you can focus on running your business while they handle the logistics.

How to choose the best FCL logistics service provider

There are many factors to consider when choosing a freight forwarder or customs broker, and here are some of the most vital things to keep in mind:

Experience

When it comes to shipping goods internationally, experience is critical. Look for a freight forwarder that has been in business for several years and has a good track record.

Reputation

Another essential factor to consider is the reputation of the freight forwarder. Ask around and see if anyone you know has used their services before. You can also read online reviews to understand what others think of the company.

Services offered

Make sure that the freight forwarder you choose offers all the services you need. If you are unsure, ask them for a list of services they provide.

Rates

Of course, you will also need to consider the rates charged by the freight forwarder. Get quotes from several different companies and compare their rates.

Customer service

Finally, don’t forget to consider the freight forwarder’s customer service. You should be able to contact them quickly, and they should be able to answer all of your questions.

Summary

Make sure that the freight forwarder you choose offers all the services you need. If you are unsure, ask them for a list of services they provide. Of course, you will also need to consider the rates charged by the freight forwarder. Get quotes from several different companies and compare their rates.

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