United States imposing strict tariffs on foreign countries, primarily China

International freight forwarding has evolved a bit in the last couple years. Starting in January 2018, these tariffs have changed the way the freight industry operates. It is no longer freight forwarding as usual, and the pressure for greater accountability has taken center stage. As a result, shippers have sought companies with higher quality attributes such as white glove service, full tracking transparency, and around-the-clock expertise availability, all hallmarks of the Standard Logistics Services Difference.

Some basic questions small-to-medium importers should consider:

1.What role does the international freight forwarder play?

Before you start your search, it is vital to know the role of the international freight forwarder. An International Freight Forwarder, commonly known as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC), is a company responsible for organizing shipments from a manufacturer to the importing company. So that we’re clear, a forwarder does not move your goods; they are your logistics expert. They contract with carriers to move your goods, saving you the headache.

2.Is the Freight Forwarder Consultative and transparent?

Shipping from one country to another is never simple or easy if you haven’t hired a quality freight forwarder.  The best part about using a freight forwarder like Standard Logistics Servicesis that consultation is part of the package. Working with us, the learning curve is eliminated. Consider the following when making your choice. Things like knowing about HTS codes and reclassification could reap financial benefits. If your current forwarder isn’t actively looking into this for you, maybe it’s time to call us.

3.How long has the forwarder been operating?

It is quite easy to become a freight forwarder. It is not easy to become a good one. Make sure the forwarder you choose has had enough time to make the mistakes and learned from them. There are is a lot to learn in this everchanging business. Standard Logistics Services has a 43-year track record that’s unmatched. If you would like references, we would be happy to provide them.

4.Is Shipment Tracking a highlight of their service offerings? Is it possible to track your cargo?

We understand your cargo is precious. Your business must have products delivered safe and on-time. You expect your shipment to leave as scheduled, making its way across the ocean and land to its port of entry, intact, and arrive as scheduled.

Tracking is an essential key and if it’s not available, move on. A tracking system indicates an investment in customer service. Automation gives the thinking professional the time and bandwidth to focus on signs of the unexpected. That is a great benefit to you.

With advancements in technology, cloud storage, RFID tracking, it’s highly possible you will be able to track your cargo. However, you will find MOST companies still don’t or won’t provide a way for you to track your cargo. Tracking your load is another area you’d want to consult with your freight forwarding agent for better planning of your logistics needs. 

5.Will you have a dedicated customer service representative?

There is nothing worse than being neglected or getting the runaround. Without your own CSR, that is a real possibility. And it costs you a lot in terms of time and money, or soft costs.

6.Do they have a vast network globally to assist you with all your potential business?

Certainly, you will want to know that the forwarder can cover the areas of current interest to you. But you will grow. Your needs will change. You want to know that your cargo logistics service provider is prepared to assist.

A vast, reliable, and established international network can meet shippers’ demands and requirements with minimal issues. Standard Logistics Services has a network of partners and agents in over 70 countries that we having been working with for decades looking out for the best interests of Standard Logistics Services and you.

7.Do they express interest in your specific needs and requirements?

You can tell a lot from the question you are asked. Be sure the forwarder you are interviewing asks good ones. And that they are listening to you.

8.Do they have customs clearance capabilities?

This must not be overlooked. The rules and regulations in the US and around the globe are vast and complicated. There is money to be made and lost in this process. Your freight forwarder must have the resources to advise you wisely.

9.Can you get hit with additional surcharges?

Unfortunately, you can. There are many factors, some known and some obscure, that will cause additional charges. Quite often, you may get a last-minute surcharge applied to your container. Typical reasons for an additional charge can be the type of commodity, the port of entry destination, or time of the year. At Standard Logistics Services, we will make sure that you know about all surcharges upfront so there’s never a surprise.

10.Are the quotes clear with no hidden charges and what about rates?

Freight forwarders are sometimes infamous for hidden charges. Question them carefully about their quotes. Standard Logistics Services will go over every charge and nothing will be added.

Additionally, Standard Logistics Services continues to provide price and rate transparency meaning you will fully understand what you are being charged and every fee if applicable. Alongside a competitive rate, you’ll receive MAJOR value-added services like tariff engineering exploration and continual consulting the entire lifetime of being a Standard Logistics Services client.

With over 40 years in the business, Standard Logistics Services has the experience and knowledge to be your partner in success. Experience the Standard Logistics Services Difference and put us head to head vs your current freight forwarder and see what you’re missing

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