Cleveland freight forwarding team

What is a Freight Forwarder, and How Do I Know if I Need One?

A freight forwarder is a middleman or intermediary between a shipper and various transportation services such as carriers, airlines, and trucking companies. The central role of a freight forwarder is to organize and transport the movement of goods from Point A to Point Z through various modes of transport.

As a longtime Cleveland freight forwarder and CFS (container freight station), we recognize that the management of logistical tasks – including documentation, customs clearance, and warehousing – is often most efficiently conducted by a dedicated 3PL (third-party logistics) operator. Freight forwarders work out deals between carriers and secure the best possible rates based on the volume and type of goods being shipped. As part of our Northeast Ohio freight forwarding operations, On Time Delivery & Warehouse serves as a bridge between shippers and carriers to ensure our clients land the most efficient, cost-effective shipping solution.

How Do I Know If I Need a Freight Forwarder?

Although overall supply chain logjams have begun to ease a bit in the first quarter of 2023, companies that rely on intermodal supply chains are still turning to underutilized air terminals and sea ports throughout the country – with Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo among those.

As a CFS and freight forwarder, we help our business-to-business customers with consolidation/deconsolidation of import/export freight, less-than-container loads, full container loads, product segregation, block-and-brace services, stack-and-wrap services, heavy and oversized unloading and loading, customs bonded warehousing and CFS warehousing.

Some general indicators that your operation has graduated to the level of needing a freight forwarder to handle your regular shipments:

  • International shipping. If part of your operation requires import/export of goods across international borders, a freight forwarder can be incredibly useful. We have specialized knowledge and expertise when it comes to navigating complex document requirements and customs regulations.
  • Complex logistics. If your shipments necessitate multiple modes of transport (land, air, sea, rail, etc.), working with an Ohio 3PL freight forwarder can help to simplify those logistics and effectively coordinate all the different service providers and carriers needed to move your goods.
  • Heavy or oversized cargo. If your shipments contain heavy or oversized items that require some type of special permits or handling equipment, you can partner with a freight forwarder who can help arrange all the needed permits and equipment.
  • Limited resources. Moving goods around the globe takes time, resources, and no small amount of supply chain logistics expertise. If you hire a freight forwarder to help you with these duties, you are able to turn your focus to core business operations.

It’s worth noting that an increasing number of companies (likely including at least some of your competitors) are utilizing freight forwarding services. The market for freight forwarding has grown exponentially in recent years, thanks to increasing urbanization, online shipping, and the proliferation/advancement of smartphone technologies in emerging regions. North America currently has the largest global freight forwarding market, with a 37 percent share of the market revenue as of last year. The industry’s total value is estimated to reach $285 billion by 2030.

What Questions Should I Ask a Prospective Freight Forwarding Partner?

If you’re considering hiring a freight forwarding company to help with your shipping, some things about which you may need more information to make a smart choice:

  • How many years of experience does your operation have in the freight forwarding sector?
  • Are there certain countries or regions that you specialize in for shipping?
  • What modes of transportation do you offer? (Air? Land/Truck? Land/Rail? Sea?)
  • Are you able to provide previous client references?
  • Does your firm offer cargo insurance?
  • What’s the process for shipment status tracking and updating?
  • What are your base rates? Are there any additional fees? Are there any ways clients can help keep costs down?
  • What’s your estimated transit time for shipments of my size/type/quantity? How do you handle deliveries?
  • How does your firm handle problems with delays, lost/damaged goods, or disputes?

Anyone considering our Cleveland freight forwarding or CFS services can reach out to On Time Delivery & Warehouse to Request a Quote today!

For information on our Northeast Ohio freight forwarding, Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

Freight Facts and Figures, Bureau of Transportation Statistics

More Blog Entries:

Our Cleveland Container Freight Station Helps Customers Brace for Disruptions, March 15, 2023, Cleveland Freight Forwarding Services Blog

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