Experts quote that up to 90% of the world’s trade is carried out through sea. By nature, such complex trade machinery requires coordination amongst players spread across the world. Be it the manufacturer, the transporter, the shipper, the consignee or the various governing bodies involved.
When it comes to international trade, freight forwarding companies have an intrinsic role to play. That is, the responsibility to make sure all moving parts are in sync and on schedule. Choosing a good freight forwarder is detrimental to the success of a business involved in international trade. It is very much like choosing a business partner, who is competent and dedicated to the common good. Choosing a shipping partner is a daunting task hence it is critical to make an informed decision that goes beyond competitive quotes. While shortlisting consider the following:
- Reliability and Reputation
The manufacturer ensures that the product is of standardised quality, but it is the job of a shipper to make sure that it reaches on time and its condition on arrival remains the same after the journey. Thus, it is quintessential to choose a trusted shipping company that has established a track record of reliability. Freight forwarders with 15+ years of experience have a stronger grasp over the market, their experience and relationships within the industry mean that they can secure good quotes, preferential treatment and overall better business experience for you. Global forwarders with region-specific strength can offer you an advantage with faster logistics solutions at a competitive price in their sphere of influence.
One way to inspect that a shipping company is reputable is to check whether they are an affiliated member of trade and industry associations, such as ISO (International Organization for Standardization) or NAFL (National Association of Freight and Logistics) that is an association of Shipping companies in UAE.
When exporting cargo Internationally, it is imperative that the shipper has all the relevant paperwork (shipping documentation, certificates of origin, customs and port clearance) and is compliant with legal regulations of the destination country. The exporter should also do the due diligence of validating the shipper’s credentials. If you are working with an established shipping company, they tend to have a global network of professional agents who can handle the cargo once it arrives at the final destination, making sure all paperwork checks out with port authorities.
It is an earnest practice to inquire whether the said shipping company holds expertise and facilities to ship a specified cargo. Bulk commodities like wheat, or oversized shipments like automobiles or special consignments like antiques, require specialized containers and different custom clearances. For instance, a reefer container is used to transport frozen cargo as it is refrigerated internally.
Another important area of expertise you should look for in a shipping company is its geographical coverage. A shipping company that operates at a glocal level will have an expertise of shipping routes in all parts of the world, covering vital regional as well as international ports, this allows seamless handling of cargo.
- Customer Service
Ideally, you should work with a company that has a reputation for operating with transparency and being thorough with communication. They should regularly give updates about the status of the cargo and be responsive to your queries. Proactive customer service that quickly alerts you in event of a delay or glitch, makes the difference between a resolved inconvenience and a dysfunctional trainwreck. The right freight forwarder will give you accurate information and charge you fairly without shady hidden fees.
Lastly, a shipping and logistics company should ensure the cargo and offer a guarantee of redressal in the event of damage, theft or loss. If not, the shipper should guide you, the client to a partner insurance company – helping you purchase supplemental insurance on the cargo.
Concluding Remarks While selecting a logistics company in Dubai, there are numerous things to keep in mind as has been discussed above.