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How does freight forwarding work?

Freight forwarding is one of the world’s most important service industries. It ensures that global trade can happen as seamlessly as possible, helping businesses to fulfil orders, grow their turnover and keep the economy moving. Without professional freight forwarding the whole process of importing and exporting goods would be considerably more difficult, convoluted and subject to delays.


What exactly is freight forwarding and why is it so important?


What is freight forwarding?


A freight forwarding company arranges for goods to be transported from one place to another on behalf of importers and exporters. While this may at first sound straightforward, once you factor in different regulatory regimes across the world in terms of customs clearance and tariffs, you can begin to see how complex the process can be.


There are numerous steps that go into successful cross-border trade, and a good freight forwarding company should make the whole process look simple, seamless and efficient.


Clearing customs


As well as being experienced at the physical logistics of transporting cargo, they can also take care of customs clearance. They will deal with import and export issues, including all of the necessary paperwork and ensure that goods pass through customs with the minimum of delay, while ensuring that all parties are compliant.


Customs clearance is one of the principal functions of a freight forwarding service and one of the primary reasons why companies may choose to work with one. Freight forwarders may carry out this service in-house or they may subcontract it out to a clearing broker.


International documentation


Well-ordered and organised documentation is essential when it comes to importing and exporting goods. Getting it right can be a complicated and laborious process, and one that can impact the core business of a company.


Freight forwarding services take care of the work for you. They will prepare all necessary documentation, licenses and all of the relevant paperwork for export at the point of origin. They prepare documents, secure licenses and ensure all relevant paperwork is taken care of for all of the relevant national customs authorities.


Transport and haulage


A freight forwarding company will be responsible for getting your shipment from its place of origin to its final destination in a safe and timely manner. This might include transport from the place of origin, such as a factory or warehouse, on to the port or airport for shipment. They will also arrange haulage and delivery to your agreed location either in the UK or overseas.


Why use a freight forwarder?


A freight forwarding company takes the hassle out of importing and exporting goods. The entire logistics operation, from the collection from the point of origin on to the final destination, is taken care of. Crucially, a freight forwarding company will take care of all of the time consuming and complex paperwork involved with importing and exporting, which has become even more important since Brexit.


For many companies, a freight forwarder can make importing and exporting a viable business option when trying to handle the process themselves wouldn’t be cost-effective. Freight forwarding companies streamline international trade and are a vital part of the world economy. This is one reason that the government is urging businesses who import and export goods from the EU to use a freight forwarding company post-Brexit. This is to help keep goods moving quickly, trade buoyant and to reduce the risks of excessive delays at customs.


Do I need a freight forwarder?


You don’t need to use a freight forwarding company if you are importing and exporting goods, but by doing so you can make the whole process much simpler. Many companies may try and handle the entire process themselves believing that it will save them money. In reality, freight forwarders have real advantages when it comes to saving costs. Because importing and exporting involves large amounts of documentation and regulations, and these regulations vary from country to country, it can make real sense for an ambitious importer and exporter to use a commercial freight forwarder.


Freight forwarding companies can leverage a wide range of contacts and commercial relationships. They know the shipping companies, the customs laws of different countries, and the documentation required. It can save you time and potential stress as well as money when you import and export large quantities regularly. They know what needs to be done so you can concentrate on core aspects of your business and don’t have to invest in-house resources on a complex process.


How to find a freight forwarder


There are a number of freight forwarding companies working in the UK and any Google search will quickly find their details. You should secure quotes from a number of different companies, making sure that your quote is clear about the services that are included.

Research the reputation of the company and how it’s regulated. Standards can vary across the industry so you need to be confident that you’re trusting your import and export operation to a reputable and reliable company.


At SSO Logistics, our freight forwarding service is second to none. We undertake every aspect of freight forwarding including import, export, customs clearance, transport, warehousing and storage. We have the flexibility to match the needs of each and every customer, and the facility to handle all types of cargo.


We’re located between Liverpool and Manchester airports and with good access to Liverpool Seaport. We offer competitive prices, rapid response times and only work with quality shipping companies and other logistics partners.


Contact us today to find out how our freight forwarding services can help simplify and grow your import and export business.

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