7 Questions You Should Ask Your Freight Service Provider
September 12, 2019
What important questions should you be asking your freight service provider?
- How extensive is your network?
- How can I track my cargo?
- What’s included in the cost and is it subject to additional costs?
- Do I have to pack and prepare my own cargo?
- If my shipment is time-sensitive, what are my best options?
- Who is responsible for organizing the relevant documentation?
- Will my shipments be insured?
Shipping objects, whether domestically or internationally, can be a headache if you are not familiar with what you are doing. It is not the same as your local express delivery service because there is so much more that goes into large-scale logistics and the processes that come with it.
This is why asking your freight service provider some questions is important. However, you might not know the right questions to ask, and that could be detrimental to your entire freight service experience. To help you in that regard, here is a list of eight important questions that you should be asking your freight service provider.
How extensive is your network?
This first question is important to ask because your freight forwarder is only as good as its network, be it international or local. Having an established network is essential because this would dictate how well the forwarder or shipper can meet its clients’ demands and requirements. Aside from that, a big network means more options, locations, and a better end-to-end process that will surely reduce any shipper’s stress.
What’s included in the cost and is it subject to additional costs?
Logistics companies use quotes to help their clients understand the cost of using their services. The only problem with this system is that companies are not always transparent. Sometimes, their quotes are only valid for 30 days, and your exact shipping date might be further down the line than that. Other times, extra features and services like specialized storage or quicker customs clearance can add to the cost and value of your whole shipping endeavor.
So that you won’t be caught off-guard by extra costs and changing fees, make it a point to ask what is included in the cost and if it is subject to additional fees instead of simply asking “how much?”
How can I track my cargo?
Tracking is a valuable feature to have for any logistics company, but not all will offer it from the get-go. Delays, the status or location of your cargo, and other useful information being communicated to you not only give you peace of mind but it also shows that you made the right choice in choosing a logistics service provider.
Also, thanks to innovative technological developments, there are online tracking systems that allow you to check on your cargo at any time of the day.
Do I have to pack and prepare my own cargo?
Many freight forwarders offer their own packing services. This can be done in-house by a third-party company. However, there are also freight forwarders who do not have this service. This means you are expected to pack and prepare the cargo on your own before giving it for shipping.
Preparing your own cargo can be a difficult thing to do, especially if the nature of your shipment or cargo is multitudinous. If it appears difficult to do, you can employ the services of a professional helper or you can just ask the company itself if they have the service in-house.
If my shipment is time-sensitive, what are my best options?
With regard to time-sensitive cargo, the most important thing to do is to communicate. Let your freight forwarder know immediately if your cargo is urgent so that they can make provisions for it. Do keep in mind that a faster delivery would mean a higher price. There are times where it is worth it to pay extra to get faster service, and there are times where it is not. Just make sure to communicate it properly so all your shipping needs are met.
Who is responsible for organizing the relevant documentation?
The reason you are employing the use of a freight forwarder is to reduce the stress and hassle that sending and receiving goods entail. One thing that never fails to add to your stress is paperwork. Unfortunately for you, the importation or exportation of goods involves a lot of paperwork.
To make your life easier, ask your logistics company if they can take care of all the relevant documentation needed on your behalf. The best companies around are experienced and well-prepared to handle these sorts of things, so if they can handle your paperwork, you know you are in good hands. Just be sure to comply with any of the requirements they are going to ask for.
Will my shipments be insured?
When cargo has a huge distance to travel, there is always a possibility that something could go wrong. For this reason, having the right kind of cargo insurance is crucial. Whether it’s included up-front or can come as an additional service, it is important for you to know this information so that you can be prepared for anything.
Shipping cargo is not a simple thing to do. This is why properly communicating with your freight service provider and your local express delivery service is important. If you ask all the questions mentioned above, and your chosen service provider answers them properly, then you can rest easy knowing you are working with a reputable and reliable freight service provider.