Do I need a forwarding agent?
First of all, let’s figure out who the forwarding agent is and what he will do for you.
On your behalf and for your account the forwarding agent provides services on arrangement of cargo transportation, contracting, cargo shipment and its delivery as well as other services connected with cargo transportation and receiving a particular award for these services.
At the same time nothing obliges you to hire a forwarding agent to act on your behalf.
Shall you save on this service and do everything by yourself?
Arrangement of cargo transportation, especially the international ones, is quite a complicated matter, that involves participation of a large number of commercial and governmental entities, each fulfilling a particular function and working by its rules.
Whereas a number of settlement payments arise, some of them are pre-paid and the other are paid-on-delivery, while the great deal of payments depends on time factor, cargo characteristics and logistic schemes.
Document managements is very important. Documents should be not only properly filled in, but also obtained and provided in ample time. When arranging cargo transportation, it is necessary to take into consideration cargo characteristics and the type of transport mode chosen, to coordinate actions as for preparation of cargo for shipment, stowage, its transshipment, storage and customs clearing.
Any failure at the stage of arranging cargo transportation lead to loss of time, additional expenses (mainly considerable), and in some cases even to damage of cargo or failure in delivering the cargo to its consignee.
Applying to US, for small award, you will hire professionals who first of all will be able to help you to establish the best logistic scheme taking into consideration your cargo characteristics and foreign trade contract terms and then will take on the task of cooperation with all parties concerned.
If you are in doubt whether you need to hire a forwarding agent, check yourself:
- I know exactly my cargo characteristics and transportation regulations;
- I see exactly the whole transport flow scheme;
- I know exactly all commercial and governmental entities involved, their regulations and methods of communication;
- I have valid agreement with all these entities;
- I know exactly what documents and when I shall provide or obtain them or their fill-in instructions;
- I know exactly all necessary payments, rates, their calculation rules and application and I can calculate basic expenses and supplemental charges;
- I am ready to render all payments in ample time, including transferring of funds to bailors if necessary;
- In case of unforeseen situations, I am ready to solve them quickly and shift to another scheme (change the terminal, carrier etc.);
- I am ready to monitor the freight traffic at any time of any weekday and respond to the current situation promptly.
If cannot answer positively at least to one of these questions – do not risk, contact professionals. Possible losses when failing to arrange shipping greatly exceed expenses for professional freight forwarding.