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What criteria is important when selecting freight forwarding services?

Utilizing a freight forwarding service is becoming commonplace. But finding the one that fits all your needs can be a challenge. That’s why it’s important to take the time to consider what you need from freight forwarding services before getting them. 

From there, you can evaluate the service provider options and compare what they can offer to what you need from them. It’s a great way to find a service provider that fits the bill for your company. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of criteria that is important to consider when you begin your search for freight forwarding companies.

What is a freight forwarding service?

A freight forwarding service is a trusted intermediary that takes a shipment from the shipper and the transport that ushers it to its final destination. The important thing to note is that freight forwarding services are not hauling the shipments themselves. Instead, they use their contacts with carriers to link shippers with haulers helping you get the best price for your cargo transport. 

How do companies benefit from freight forwarding services?

When a company utilizes a top freight forwarding service, they are putting a lot of trust in the freight forwarding service. Freight forwarders can coordinate shipments via truck, air, marine, and rail. 

By hiring someone who specializes in this process, you can take advantage of the most cost-effective transportation of your goods. Not only is it an efficient method of transporting goods, but hiring a freight forwarding service can make it possible for you to focus on the rest of your operations as well. 

Companies of all sizes can benefit from a freight forwarder when it comes to arranging shipments. Freight forwarders are similar to freight brokers in many ways, but the main difference is that freight forwards will sometimes store the freight for their customers. 

How to select a freight forwarding service

Now that we’ve explored what a freight forwarding service is and how it can be beneficial to your company, we’ve provided some things to look for when selecting the right company. Consider these tips to make sure your selection of a freight forwarder is a successful one. 

Real experience

A freight forwarder without experience might seem like a way to save a few dollars, but headaches will likely come along with it. Instead, check for a freight forwarder with experience and credentials that they can back up.

Find out if they’ve transported similar types of cargo, how they’ve handled problems in the past if they’ve arisen, and how they’d tackle difficult issues like shipping shutdowns. You want to ensure this company is credible, knowledgeable, and experienced. 

Crisis management and reliability

No one wants to worry about an emergent situation or crisis, but at some point things are bound to go wrong. As mentioned in the experience portion, you’ll want to dive into how the freight forwarding company will work in the face of a crisis. 

You can ask about their prior experiences or give a scenario where they can provide details with how they’d ensure things would have a smooth result. Communication in crisis is also important, so be sure to inquire about how they notify customers during small and large hiccups. 

Services and resources

Does the freight forwarding company have the services you require? If they are lacking certain capabilities and resources, they will not be a good fit in the long term, putting you back to square one. Additionally, the resources are important as well. 

Do they track transportation? Are they able to prepare important import and export documentation for you? Can they manage your inventory, clear customs, negotiate charges, and offer insurance to cover your cargo? 

What about their ability to pack and store products? These are some of the many details you should look into when trying to determine if a specific freight forwarding service is right for you. If they don’t offer all of the resources that you’re looking for, consider other freight forwarding service companies in your area. 

Hauling numbers

It’s smart to search for a freight forwarder that has a high volume of drivers and haulers. If they have impressive hauling numbers, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to efficiently and effectively transport your cargo from point A to point B. 

If a freight forwarder does not offer enough carriers, you might experience delays and other unforeseen problems that could be avoided by hiring a different provider. Also, if you need both national and international transportation options, make sure the forwarder you are thinking of hiring has both. A global network can often make sure goods are transported smoothly. 

Time and tracking

With the increase in technology, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get updates about where your freight is located at any point during the transportation process. Freight forwarders should offer regular updates as well as estimates regarding the anticipated time of delivery. 

Customer service

You’ll want a freight forwarding service that understands the importance of customer service. You should always examine the quality of service that you can expect to receive as a potential new customer, and you should also consider how you’re treated after you work together. 

If you can get references from existing customers, it doesn’t hurt to do so because their insight can help you better understand how the company treats their clients. But if you cannot contact the company’s previous or current clients, reach out to the company yourself and ask them any questions you have regarding customer service. 

Ask about how long the hold time is and keep an eye out for any signs that might be causes of concern to you during times of stress. The more you know, the more confident you will be in your decision of whether or not a freight forwarding company is right for you.


Freight forwarding is supposed to be something that helps you increase the efficiency of your company, like saving money. However, at the end of the day, you don’t want to get too focused on cost-cutting measures that you end up sacrificing quality. So, make sure you seek out a freight forwarding service that is not only cost-effective but a high-quality company as well. 

Overall professionalism

You take your business operations very seriously, and the companies you choose to work with should, too. Finding a freight forwarding service that is both professional and run by experts in the field is key. If a freight forwarding service provider has issues like high turnover rates, a lack of financial resources, or other causes for concern, it can ruin your experience, so keep professionalism at the top of your list. 

Freight forwarder vs 3PL

The difference between 3PL and freight forwarders is that 3PLs do not play the role of the middleman. Instead, 3PLs are a full-service company, so they handle everything directly in-house. So, 3PLs do everything that a freight forwarder does in terms of outsourcing your cargo, but they are an actual logistics company instead of just a coordinator of services. 

Working with the best freight forwarder

Freight forwarding services are becoming increasingly popular all throughout the transportation industry. Don’t get so caught up in the buzz that you forget to focus on finding a freight forwarder that can meet the needs and expectations of your company. 

You’ll want to make sure that you are working with a company that can successfully deliver cargo and upholds its reputation. A responsive, customer-centric company can help you create efficient shipping procedures and streamline your operations, which will help you save time and money overall. 


What makes a good freight forwarder?

A good freight forwarder should have a reputation of success, be able to successfully handle the type of cargo you need to transport, have a nationwide or global network of haulers, and help you save time as well as money.

What s the role of a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder helps companies transport their cargo from one destination to the next. They are responsible for setting up the transportation process for their shippers, including the shipping and storage of goods from point A to point B. 

What is the difference between freight forwarding and broker services?

Both freight forwarders and brokers work as intermediaries, but freight brokers focus on connecting shippers with third-party carriers. Freight forwarders take it a step further by taking possession of the cargo as well as helping to prepare paperwork for the clients, consolidating cargo, and packing up goods.

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