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Freight forwarding explained

by Byrne Anderson
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Transportation professionals are always seeking out ways to streamline the movement of goods from one place to another. Freight transport is a topic that’s regularly reported on, due to its involvement in the movement of goods across the globe.

What is freight forwarding?

So, what actually is freight forwarding? In a nutshell, it is the process of moving imports and exports through the supply chain. Freight forwarding businesses work with the following to ensure items reach their end destination:

  • Shipping companies
  • Airlines
  • Hauliers
  • Customs authorities

A number of organisations have an interest in UK frontier or border controls. This includes:

  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • The Rural Payments Agency

This is because a large proportion of products that come into the UK will be subject to licensing and controls that need to be monitored before being granted access into the country. One of a freight forwarder’s key roles is to arrange customs clearance of goods across the border, however they have responsibilities that go beyond this.

What does a freight forwarder do?

Freight forwarders are crucial to the transportation industry. Their role is to identify the most efficient and secure ways of transporting goods from one place to another. They act as the middleman between shopping companies and the end destination. Because of this, the role involves communicating with both the importers and exporters and taking accountability for ensuring their products are transported safely.

They also have a responsibility to decide on packing for a piece of cargo so that the products arrive in the same condition as when they left the exporter. When it comes to packing up goods, products are generally secured in containers using bungee cords, which are great shock absorbers. A freight forwarder will spend time assessing the size and delivery requirements and will often be based in an office near ports and terminals, working on a more local or international basis.

Benefits of freight forwarding for business owners

Understandably, business owners want to ensure their products are transported safely. That’s why many turn to freight forwarding. It means you only need to communicate with one person to arrange shipment and receive updates, as opposed to chasing different people staged in different areas of the process. They have the connections and expertise to compile an efficient and cost-effective route on your behalf.

Plus, freight forwarding generally means that any time-consuming admin or paperwork is taken care of. Ultimately, working with a freight forwarder helps to give you peace of mind knowing that they are handling the security element on your behalf. They’re there to support you throughout the process.

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