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Businesses have been revolutionized in the modern world. All business organizations want to be more successful than the other and they keep looking for larger markets to promote and sell their goods and services thus choosing international markets. With the increase in importing and exporting, freight forwarding has also become a competitive business industry.

Freight forwarding is the process of transporting goods from one place to another.  A freight forwarder or freight forwarding agent helps the importers and exporters to transport their goods safely from one location to another. They help international trade take place smoothly. The modes of transport used in freight forwarding depend on the type of goods being transported.

Freight forwarding is not a new trend. It has been in existence for quite some time. Thomas Meadows and Company Limited of London, England which was established in 1836 was one of the earliest freight forwarders.  The advent of reliable rail transport and steamships and also the development in trading between Europe and North America created a high demand for freight forwarding. The first form of international freight forwarders were innkeepers in London who held the personal belongings of their hotel guests and then re forwarded it.

Most freight forwarding agents specialize in a specific service area, mode of transport or a particular market. Through the help of a freight forwarding agent you can easily transport your goods in the best possible manner suitable for the type of goods being transported. They will ensure they meet all your requirements and help you transport the goods safely and on time.

The three modes of transport used by freight forwarders include sea freight, air freight and road transport. Before deciding on the mode of transport to be used, several factors have to be considered like;

  • The size, weight and type of goods being transported
  • The time period in which the goods should reach the destination
  • The cost of transport  and whether it is affordable
  • The location the goods are being transported to
  • The value of the goods being transported. If they are highly valuable then it has to be insured
  •  Other requirements of the customer seeking transport

Any mode of transport that is used has its advantages and disadvantages but when choosing the best form of transport from all the methods that is available, the aim should be to balance the service quality, cost and time.

 As a freight forwarding agent, along with helping to transport the goods, they provide numerous other secondary trade related services along with transporting. This includes;

  • Custom clearance, where the forwarders complete paperwork and pay any taxes or duties owed on behalf of their customers
  • Other necessary documentation involved in international trade like bill of lading, commercial invoice, shipper’s export declaration and other such documents will be handled by the freight forwarding agent.
  • Freight forwarders also provide insurance services for the safety of the goods being transported
  • They also manage the inventory
  • Logistics, supply chain management of value added activities will also be handled by the freight forwarders.

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