International freight forwarders play an integral part in the transportation process. Freight forwarders act on behalf of exporters in arranging transportation services. Most freight forwarders handle both ocean and air transportation, but usually in separate departments. They are familiar with the import rules and regulations of foreign countries, methods of shipping, U.S. Government export regulations, and documents connected with foreign trade.
Freight forwarders provide a number of services. At the beginning of a sale, they can provide the exporter with a quotation on:
- Cost of special documentation
- Freight forwarder's fees.
This information can be used in the preparation of an accurate price quotation to foreign customers. At the shipper's request, freight forwarders can make the actual arrangements and provide the necessary services for expediting the shipment to its overseas destination. This can include:
- Booking space with the carrier
- Completing export documentation
- Arranging for cargo insurance
- Advising on foreign import regulations
- Providing guidance on packaging, marking, and labeling
- Arranging for products to be packed and containerized at the exporter's request
Some freight forwarders are also freight consolidators, but this is not a standard service.
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