If a business is getting started in international shipping, it takes more than finding freight containers for sale. A freight forwarder is a key to a smooth shipping process.
A good freight forwarder will reduce headaches and save time by handling all the import and export a business needs.
With more than 150 freight forwarders in Houston, it can be difficult to find a company that fulfills your specific needs. Below are five tips that will help in the search.
5 Tips for Choosing a Freight Forwarder in Houston
Houston is home to one of the largest ports in the world. More than 247 million tons of cargo move through the Port of Houston every year. Due to the port’s size and importance in Houston’s international trade market, there hundreds of shipping and freight forwarding companies in the metro area.
Finding the right freight forwarder company is a daunting task. Following these tips will help with the initial operation.
1. Understand and Identify Internal Needs
Before starting the search for a freight forwarding service, understand what the business’s needs are first. Is the shipment going by air? By sea? Does the freight forwarder store containers?
Being prepared before meeting with a freight forwarder will ease confusion and miscommunication.
2. They Have the Proper Licensing, Registration, and Insurance
A dependable freight forwarding company has all the required licenses and registrations. They’ll have the proper insurance and cover your shipment to some degree. They’ll be willing to show proof of all these documents.
3. They Provide a Variety of Services
Find out what services the freight forwarder offers. There are three main types to look for:
- Warehouse loading – Company will pack, load, and deliver to a warehouse.
- Live load – Time sensitive process where a container drops at the customer’s location. Customer loads container then it’s returned to the port.
- Drop and Pull Service – Not time sensitive. A container drops at the customer’s location. The customer loads container before it’s picked up on an agreed upon date.
Ask about the other services the freight forwarder provides. Find out how large their network is.
4. Access to Cargo Tracking
Ask if the freight forwarding companies allows access to cargo tracking. If so, find out if the quoted price includes cargo tracking or if it requires an extra fee. Being able to track the shipment allows the shipper to stay on top of any delays or changes.
5. Their Arrival Procedures
Find out how the freight forwarder handles customs documents. If the shipment arrives early, do they have a holding facility? What are their shipment release procedures?
Above all, a potential customer needs to feel comfortable with the entire process. Address all concerns and questions during the initial contact or before any paperwork gets signed.
EMS is the Premier Supplier of New and Used Freight Containers for Sale in Texas
Along with our extensive selection of new and used freight containers for sale, EMS offers a wide array of services for your business needs. We offer shipping container rental as well as modifying your current container for other uses.