The International Freight Forwarder is popularly known as the “International Transport Architect”. Ocean Freight Forwarders must be licensed by the U.S.Federal Maritime Commission which refers to Forwarders as “Ocean Transport Intermediaries” or, “OTI”. An important part of the licensing requirements is the requirement that the “OTI” post a General Surety Bond in the amount of $125,000 (Soon to be raised) to protect the public.
The freight forwarding professional advises clients of the best rates, routings, and modes of transporting goods to or from any area in the world. Using the vast resources at their disposal, forwarders find the “right match” of services available so that products are moved by the most timely and and cost-effective means. The large volume of freight handled by forwarders gives them advantages not always available to either individual shippers or integrated carriers.
The professional forwarder is also aware of the ever-changing regulations affecting cargo movements, such as foreign documentation requirements, hazardous materials rules, U.S.government regulations, special handling or packaging restrictions, and any applicable licensing provisions.
“Customized” services to fit clients’ operations needs are our specialty. Forwarders coordinate arrangements for storage, pick-and-pack operations, consolidations or full container movements as well as inland transportation to provide clients with true door-to-door service
SEARIDERS™ is licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission and bonded as a requirement of this license. We provide a complete package of international and trade services, including:
- Complete air and sea shipping services worldwide
- Transportation cost analysis before cargo moves
- Export documentation
- Letter of Credit compliance and documentation preparation
- Inland delivery coordination at destination
- Air and ocean freight negotiations
- Carrier recommendations
- Destination customs requirements
HOW TO USE A FREIGHT FORWARDER
We at Seariders understand that we’re not going to convince every potential client to use us. We know that there are some excellent forwarding/logistics providers in the market and, while we hope that potential clients will use our services, there are times when an alternative choice will be made.
Nevertheless, in order to receive the best and most efficient service from a forwarding company, there are some universal practices that we suggest you consider so that your forwarder can do the best job for you……..
1. LETTER OF INSTRUCTIONS – Most forwarders will provide you with their version of a “Shipper’s Letter of Instructions”. The form is generally simple and easy to understand and provides a written record of your instructions regarding a particular shipment. Verbal instructions “aren’t worth the paper they’re not written on” and can lead to real problems when something goes wrong. If the form doesn’t have enough information or, if you want to add an instruction, do it. Your forwarder will thank you for clarifying your needs.
2. TRUTH – It really doesn’t pay to mislead your forwarder. Weights and measures are confirmed by carriers at acceptance and again before loading. So understating facts will only cause delay and a breakdown in your forwarder’s opinion of your company. Incomplete or incorrect descriptions of the cargo to try to save a few bucks in freight charges could backfire and result in Customs fines and penalties or problems with insurance claims. Undervaluing a shipment on a “Shipper’s Export Declaration” (prepared by your forwarder based upon information provided by you) could result in significant fines from Customs. It just isn’t worth it.
3. QUOTES – Your forwarder will provide quotations for moving your shipments. He/she will also provide estimates of transit time, insurance costs and other factors that affect the quotation. Quotes are generally accurate for a maximum of 30 days with ocean freight and much less with air freight. Fuel costs can fluctuate on a daily basis , political situations change, schedules are subject to change, etc. If you wait for six weeks and then ship your cargo and expect that quote that was provided six weeks ago to be accurate……… it’s a gamble.
Confirm the quotation at time of shipment and again after the forwarder/carrier has the cargo on hand at their warehouse and can confirm weights and measures. If you base your costs on weights and measurements that are erroneous, you have no right to be angry at the forwarder or carrier when they confirm and invoice based upon the correct numbers.
4. INSURANCE – “All Risk” cargo insurance is generally available to most destinations and your forwarder can supply this important service. Most freight forwarding companies maintain an “open” policy” with a major insurer and can issue individual policies/certificates on your shipment. Premiums are based upon value and generally run from 1% to 2%. If you choose to avoid insuring your shipment and then experience loss or damage, you’ll have to file a claim directly with the carrier and that carrier will make it a complicated and time consuming project that could take years….. Insurance companies will pay the claim fairly quickly, based upon policy conditions and deductibles (ALL policies have deductibles) and then they’ll follow through with a claim against the carrier to try to get their money back.
5. SECURITY – In today’s world, security has become a major factor in the air freight and shipping industry. Hazardous materials transport requires substantial documentation and special packaging and regulations are strict. Air freight security is rigorously enforced for obvious reasons. Your forwarder is a good source of information but, you should be aware of any special regulations concerning the product you sell and ship.
6. PACKING – Discuss your shipment packaging with your forwarder. Certain packing materials must be certified fumigated (wood). Alsop, if your shipment is damaged and it is determined that the cause was insufficient or improper packing, your claim could be denied by the carrier….
NOW… We hope you’ll consider using SEARIDERS on your next shipment and take advantage of 27 years in business and over 130 years of accumulated experience in our staff………