An international freight forwarder is an agent for the exporter in moving
goods to an overseas destination. Freight forwarders will be familiar with
the export regulation of the USA as well as the import rules and
regulations of foreign countries. They are knowledgeable in the various
methods of shipping, and the documents related to foreign trade. Export
freight forwarders are licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission to
handle ocean freight shipments and by the lnternational Air Transport
Association to handle air freight .
Freight forwarders can help exports by providing price quotations on
freight costs, port charges, consular fees, costs of special documentation
fees, insurance costs, and other handling fees. The freight forwarder
can also arrange the shipping of your items by boat, aircraft, train, or
truck. It is important to understand the cost of using a freight forwarder
so that you may properly quote your price(s) to your overseas buyer..
When you and your buyer have agreed to the pricing and terms of sale
and you are ready to ship your merchandise, a freight forwarder can
recommend the best packaging method and assist you in how to mark
the shipment. They will review all documents to ensure that everything is
in order and complies with letter of credit payment terms. They will also
prepare the bill of lading and any other special required documents to
help you get paid. After shipping, on your behalf, a freight forwarder will
send the appropriate documents to the seller and the buyer and to the
|Choosing a Freight Forwarder
Exporting goods for the first time can be a harrowing experience. The
good news is that freight forwarders can provide valuable assistance in
getting your goods shipped overseas. Before your first export shipment,
a freight forwarder will generally want to discuss your export/import
business needs and provide you with a host of information to help you
buy and sell your products in the foreign markets.
In interviewing freight forwarders, be that they can:
1) Demonstrate experience handling your type of product.
2) Demonstrate a willingness to work with new exporters to help them
learn how to properly prepare the paperwork for export sales.
3) Specialize in the part of the world you are shipping.
4) Show a knowledge of the documentation required by your importing
5) Give regular customer updates on changes in foreign government
import regulations which may affect your future export sales.
6) Have a reputation in the industry for customer satisfaction and a can
provide business references to backup their reputation.
7) Maintain a network of offices or agents in your buyers’ countries.
8) Is financially secure and has been in business for many years. Can
also provide you with their credit report or financial statements
evidencing their stability.
9) Maintains a facility large enough to handle your business.
10) Carries errors and omissions insurance.
11) Can sell/provide cargo insurance coverage.
12) Possess a license from the Federal Maritime Commission for the
handling of marine cargo.
13) Have a license from the International Air Transport Association for
the handling of air cargo.
14) Is fully knowledgeable and up to date on the latest changes in the
“Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits, ICC
Publication No. 600”.
15) Has satisfied export customers which vouch for its ability to prepare
error free documents under letters of credit.
16) Provide a printed price sheet of fees for their services.