A Breakdown of the Freight Forwarding Process

International freight is usually broken down into five steps regardless of the place of origin or the destination of the cargo. Sometimes, depending on the additional requirements in the place of destination such as Singapore, the process is extended.

Therefore, business experts recommend that entrepreneurs who import and/or export goods on a regular basis should hire a freight forwarding services company instead of relying on an individual freight broker to negotiate with a logistics company. Remember that in most cases, the freight forwarder is a separate party from the party responsible for the actual transportation of goods, a job usually performed by a logistics services company or a shipping company.

Freight forwarding is a complicated and expensive process, but as an entrepreneur, you need to understand how it works and why you need a third-party freight forwarding at Singapore to act as liaison to the various parties involved in the inspection, haulage, storage, and clearances.

1. Export Haulage

The first step is to transport the goods from the company warehouse to another warehouse in Singapore (sometimes called local freight) usually assigned by the freight forwarding services company. In some cases, the storage warehouse is also owned by the freight forwarder instead of leased from another company. Depending on your arrangement with the freight forwarder, either you or the consignee is responsible for the other processes.

2. Inspection and Documentation

Although the freight forwarder will assist the entrepreneur throughout most of the process, you will also have to provide accurate information during the receipt and inspection of the goods. You should supply the following: description of the items in the containers (be as precise as possible); indication of any hazardous items; weight in both kilograms and pounds; country of origin and port entry details; and related information required by the freight forwarder.

3. Completion and Submission of Documents

The freight forwarding company must then provide all the documents to the customs before the goods are given approval to exit the country of origin. Although the type of documents might vary in some countries, most international freight will need documents such as the following:

• The Bill of Lading, which is a form signed by the entrepreneur who owns the products and the shipping company
• A certificate indicating the origin of the goods; an inspection certificate that indicates the goods have been approved by the customs or the inspector
• An export license that will include details of how many and how much goods can be exported by the concerned party
• An invoice from the seller to the buyer, which will be used to determine the value of the products; and
• A packing list that details all the items and the relevant information such as weigh, measurement and packaging.

4. Handling and Import Haulage

Once you have completed the documents needed to export the goods, the freight forwarder will be handling the rest of the process for you. A reliable freight forwarding services company in Singapore usually has a contract with one shipping company or logistics company that will provide the transportation of the goods. These goods are usually placed in containers and transported through land freight, sea freight, and air freight.

If it’s intended for export, the shipping company might use a combination of all types of transportation to get the goods to the consignee (receiver of the goods) in the cheapest and fastest way possible. The fees charged by the air freight, sea freight, or land freight companies are charged directly to the freight forwarder in Singapore. To avoid confusion and surprise fees, you should always ask for a detailed breakdown of the costs and surcharges of freight forwarding.

Once the cargo has arrived at its destination, it will undergo another process of customs inspection and clearance. To avoid problems with the requirements, don’t hesitate to ask www.freightmaster.sg from Singapore for details about the documents, and to make sure that the freight broker assigned to you is licensed. As for the fees required for the destination handling, the shipping company or the consignee might pay for the costs depending on your arrangement.

5. Import Haulage

Once the destination handling is cleared and completed, that is the only time the cargo can be dispatched from the warehouse. Like the export haulage process, the freight forwarder must make sure the cargo will reach the consignee on schedule and in good condition. The process can involve land freight or other modes of transportation, depending on the location of the consignee.

However, the consignee can also handle the haulage himself/herself without the help of the freight forwarder, but he/she will still have to negotiate with a logistics company for the transportation of goods. If you choose to sign with a freight forwarder from the export haulage to the import haulage, it will save you time and effort when negotiating with other logistics services. However, if the freight forwarder services do not include import haulage, the company should still make recommendations for trucking companies that can help.

Although you can easily break down the process into the following, export haulage, origin handling, land freight/sea or ocean freight/air freight, destination handling, and import haulage; freight forwarding is so much more complicated than that. You, the shipper, should work with the consignee, the freight forwarder or the freight broker, and the shipping line to complete the process. However, freight forwarding can be simplified with the help of experts from a freight forwarder company in Singapore.