When our international buyers purchase products from around the world, they have to choose a freight forwarder when it comes to transportation. Although it does not seem very important, if handled properly, it will cause some problems, so we have to be very careful. When we choose FOB, the transportation will be arranged by us and the cargo rights are in our hands. In case of CIF, the transportation is arranged by the factory, and the cargo rights are also in their hands. When there is a dispute or some unexpected situation, the selection of freight forwarders will be decisive.
Then how do we choose a freight forwarder?
1) If your supplier is relatively large in China, and you have worked with it for a long time, you trust it for good cooperation, and your shipment is of a large volume (100 HQ per month or more), then I suggest that you choose a large-scale world-class freight forwarder, such as… they have their advantages: Those company have very mature operation, a good brand and they have rich resources. When you have a large number of goods and become their key customer, you will get a good price and good service. The disadvantages are: Because these companies have a certain size, when you do not have many goods, the price is relatively high, and the service is streamlined and not customized for you. The cooperation given by the Chinese side is relatively poor, and it is fully process-oriented and not flexible. Especially when your goods are more complex or need cooperation from the warehouse, their service is basically negligible.
2) If your supplier allows a long-term settlement period, you may simply ask your suppliers to arrange for freight, so you save time and save energy since transport problems will be handled by the suppliers. The disadvantage is that you lose control of goods after they leave the port.
3) If you do not have a large-scale shipment, if you do not quite trust your suppliers, you value pre-shipment services in China, especially when your goods are from multiple suppliers, or you need warehouse distribution and special handling for China’s customs clearance, you can find some outstanding logistics companies that provide specialized customized services. In addition to their logistics and transportation, they also provide QC and sampling, factory audits and more value-added services, many of which are free of charge. There are a number of free tools on their website that can query and follow up on real-time dynamics of warehouses, tiers and customs. Disadvantages are: They do not have an local office in your place, and everything communicated through telephone, mail, Skype, so the convenience and communication cannot compare satisfactorily with local freight forwarders.
4) If your shipment is not that many and relatively simple, you trust your suppliers and do not need to have too many special handling and service before departure from China, then you can choose your local freight forwarder to facilitate smooth communication. Disadvantages are: those freight forwarders generally do not have strong local resources in China, and their orders are passed to their agents in China, so the flexibility, timeliness and price are inferior to local freight forwarder in China.