10 Tips for Choosing the Best Freight Company

You're looking for the best of the best when it comes to shipping your products all over the world. But how do you find the best one?

Here are ten questions to ask yourself to find the ideal transport partner: the one who will offer you optimum service and support the international development of your business over the long term.

Did you know?

A reliable freight company adds a lot of value to your supply chain, especially when you've reached a volume of business beyond which organizing your transport is out of the question.

Tip 1: Find a freight partner with expertise specific to your field

A freight company qualified for your industry will provide you with customer references for transport comparable to yours. This guarantees experience and knowledge that are often useful, if not essential. A company with expertise in the same field as yours will know what it takes to ship your products worldwide, while ensuring that they arrive at your customer's doorstep in good condition. This includes knowing how to package your product the right way, so it doesn't break or soil, knowing the regulations of international shipping for your products, and if you need specific paperwork or documents, as well as having an extensive list of local networks that they can reach out to in case something goes wrong. 


Tip 2: Belonging to a network

Integrated networks may seem more reassuring at first glance, but in reality, they are more restrictive and limited than networks of independent agents. An independent forwarder can play the competition off against each other and find you the best service provider for each destination. Through networks of independent agents, they can rely on partners worldwide who, like them, know their geographical area and its specific features inside out. 

SeaRates also verifies freight forwarders in each specialty who have the necessary permits to provide quality logistics services for any type of transportation.


Tip 3: They can diversify modes of transport

A freight forwarder who juggles multi-modal transport will always be able to provide the most sustainable and cost-efficient option for your cost/time constraints. This means using the best transportation combination to reduce overhead costs, maximize shipping space, and avoid unnecessary delays or disrupt your product's quality.

Tip 4: Consolidation capacity

If your company does not have enough volume to fill a container, it can benefit from consolidation, resulting in lower transport costs. This is where networking with independent agents will reap benefits for everyone: you get to share transport costs while ensuring your product gets shipped at the right time.

Tip 5: They have all the approvals and certifications

It's a must, of course, to be an IATA and FIATA agent and a Registered Customs Representative. You should also inquire if they are Authorized Economic Operators (AEO-Full, AEO-C, or AEO-S) or Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT). Having these certifications guarantees a high level of quality, compliance, and reliability. This EU or US customs seal of approval is recognized internationally and is advantageous for speeding up and streamlining specific procedures.


Tip 6: Insurance

Insurance is essential on both sides of the shipping spectrum. If you're looking for a reliable freight partner, then they should already have the necessary policies and insurance to protect their business, products, and services, as well as any unforeseen risks that come with shipping and moving items. These policies and insurances are an excellent way to feel assured and guaranteed that you're dealing with a partner that means quality business.

Tip 7: What other services do they provide?

Knowing the variety of services your potential freight company can offer cuts the search time in half. Can it provide services such as warehousing, packaging, and distribution to multiple recipients? Companies like ShipNetwork provide fulfillment services, eCommerce returns management, kitting, subscription boxes, international and domestic shipments, lot tracking, climate control, and project-based solutions for products requiring special attention and care.

Tip 8: They have a superior tracking policy

How does the company communicate the progress of your shipments? Does it offer online tracking facilities for your goods? Does it expect you to do the tracking yourself, or will an operator monitor your movements to alert you to anomalies? Check if the company you choose to work with offers dedicated client support on top of tracking services. This is essential in case you need more frequent updates, information on shipping, or any other concerns.

Tip 9: How frequent is their staff turnover?

How long have their staff been with the company? Experience is a guarantee of reputation and peace of mind. Any company with a high turnover volume in such a short period is a red flag. Of course, this is information you won't get from their website, so a little online searching on international logistics jobs postings, online forums, and even review sections can give you an idea of how well the company is run. Companies with long-term staff mean you have experienced staff members handling your account, answering your questions, and providing you with the best service. They know the ins and outs of the industry and can provide you with the best quote without compromising quality. 

Tip 10: Their ability to respond quickly and precisely

This is extremely important in any business. The ability to respond quickly to a customer's call and, even better, give the most accurate answers. For the freight industry, this is extremely significant, especially if you want your products to reach your customers at the right time. One way to assess this is to call customer service and see how they deal with your requests, with details of costs, services, and deadlines. You can also ask them for a quote to see how informed they are in the industry. The ease of dealing with them will give you a good idea of the company's reliability.

And then, once you've chosen the freight forwarder that is the best partner for your shipping needs, remember to challenge them every year to do their utmost to remain your partner!

Sophia Shkuro is a content manager from Dnipro, Ukraine. Believes that the more complex a thing is, the easier it should be to write about it. Dreams of a future vacation by the sea.