Freight forwarding is a multi-billion dollar global business. From documents to large parcels, parcel forwarding companies have the networks to deliver packages to almost any part of the world. Parcels may range from personal packages to industrial raw materials.
Freight forwarderr are companies or individuals that arrange and organize the forwarding and delivery of parcels. They serve as third-party service providers or agents that liaison between clients and cargo carriers. They also ensure that all the legal requirements such as tariffs and custom duties are paid. They provide the tracking system and may also provide insurance coverage.
Many private forwarding companies operate on a small-scale basis. Their common clients are individuals who may send personal documents and parcels. These may include post cards, greeting cards, gift items and personal properties such as clothes and gadgets. On the other hand, some freight logistics companies operate on large-scale basis. These companies may exclusively serve manufacturers and suppliers. They usually accept parcels in bulk.
Some of these companies have their own carriers, which may include airplanes and cargo ships. They are primarily concerned with trade and commerce-related parcels. The shipments include raw materials and finished products. From metal ores to cars, from sugarcanes to chocolate bars, many forwarding companies may focus on specific market sectors.
Most freight forwarding businesses simply provide non-asset-based logistic services. This means that they merely manage the shipment of parcels and ensure their efficient and safe delivery. Ensuring efficiency involves speed of delivery and cost-effectiveness of delivery.
Freight forwarders are the ones who contact the various carriers and warehouses. It is made sure that the shortest route will be taken at the shortest possible time and at the lowest costs. In many cases, it takes several carriers for the parcels to be delivered. This is especially true for international shipments. From its point of origin, a parcel might be shipped via trucks, airplanes, cargo ships, small boats and even motor bikes.
Aside from the physical aspects of warehousing, securing and transporting parcels, corporate forwarders are also concerned about the documentation aspect. This is actually the most crucial aspect of the business. Without documentation, parcels can easily be lost. They can be delivered to the wrong addresses or they might be mislabeled and confused with other parcels.
The documentation aspect includes the encoding of the shipment details such as the names of the senders and receivers, the respective addresses, and the type of items. It also involves legal documentation. Virtually all forwarding companies have specialized computer systems that store data related to the parcels and track the shipment of the parcels in real time.