Freight forwarders, or third-party logistics providers, are the single most effective way to transport goods. Many top companies, such as United Parcel Service and FedEx, act as freight forwarders. U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk says, “More than a quarter of a million U.S. firms export goods. Ninety-seven percent of those firms are small to medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees, and more than two-thirds have fewer than 20 employees. These are homegrown enterprises. They exist in cities and towns all across America, and they have an incredible amount of potential.” Guidelines: (1) Freight forwarders are a person or company who dispatches shipments on behalf of other companies or individuals domestically or internationally. Start small with a few contacts in the beginning. Contact the local chamber of commerce for distribution companies who are members and contact them about setting up with your company. Let them know that keeping the shipping contacts within your area guarantees that the local economy will benefit. (2) Keep up with changes in the transport market. World Trade magazines, newspapers, and reports supply you with current information about the world market. Study where the demand for different goods are needed and you will be able to determine the profitable transports. Finding a market that profits is as important as making the right connection. (3) Contact an attorney to prepare a written contract to bind agreements with other companies. You may use this agreement with all companies you do business with in that field. This contract will be between you and the manufacturer. You will be paid by the manufacturer with the quoted price on top of the price of the goods. You will agree to make contacts and transport the goods in foreign territories. Make sure all of the ends are tied together with the contract such as how long the contract is for, cancellation process, or the termination of contract by either party. Function • International freight forwarders move cargo to overseas destinations for exporters. They help to take care of the complex documentation required to import and export goods. The freight forwarding industry is becoming highly competitive, meaning companies are finding ways to streamline their services to attract and maintain the business of exporters. Features • Freight forwarders must know the rules and regulations of countries or other locations where they ship goods. They must have knowledge about the prices, charges, fees and other expenses related to each forwarding process. Some of the documents they handle include commercial invoices, export declarations and the bill of lading. Time Frame • In a freight forwarding transaction a sender will contact a freight forwarder to make sure that the designated shipping dates are reasonable. This is to be sure that the goods will arrive at the correct shipping port, airport, or other designated location according to the dates on the shipping contract. Identification • Depending on the country where the business is licensed, freight forwarders will be members of either a designated international association or licensed by appropriate communities or intermediary agencies. Significance • Other duties of an freight forwarder include arranging for the packaging of goods or putting them in containers. Some actually pack merchandise to avoid against damage during transport. They also reserve space on the appropriate shipping vessels, and review and prepare freight documents such as the letter of credit. In international forwarding, they work with overseas customs brokers to assure that the forwarded goods meet the standards and regulations of the destination to which they are being sent. At the destination, freight forwarders make sure that the goods are delivered to the destination chosen by the sender.
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