How to Choose the Best International Shipping Company
International shipping comes with its own complications, complexities, and challenges. Those with little to no experience in the field will often find it hard to keep up with the process. That’s why it’s important to find a reliable international shipping company that will help you navigate the complexities of international shipping, handling every step of the process so that you can get your goods from point A to point B with no difficulties.
Although there are plenty of international shipping companies in the market today, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re spoiled for choice. Not all freight forwarders will suit your business and your unique requirements and priorities. You need to do your due diligence and look for an international shipping company that aligns with your shipping needs and can provide you with the services you’re looking for.
To help you identify which company is best for shipping, we outline everything you need to consider and look for in this article.
Questions To Ask When Looking for an International Shipping Company
Before searching far and wide for an international shipping company that’s right for you, you first need to identify exactly what your needs are. Getting a good handle on your goals will help you match them with the services of each shipping company you speak to.
Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself before starting your search: - Are you looking to ship via FCL or LCL? - Are you leaning toward shipping via ocean or air freight? - Are you in need of special movement types like door-to-door, port-to-door, or door-to-port shipping? - Are you familiar with import and export laws and customs clearance requirements? - Is shipment tracking important for you? - Will you require fast quotes for your shipments?
The reason you need to ask these questions is to identify what you’re looking for and find companies that can offer them. Every freight forwarding company will have limitations in their services, but as long as you find one that can cater to all your needs, you know you’ve found the best and most suitable one for your business.
What To Consider When Choosing an International Shipping Company
A business typically has three important things to consider to find the right international shipping provider: their customers, their products, and their competition.
You need to know where your customers are located, how urgently they need your products, and how much they are willing to pay for shipping or delivery.
What type of items you ship will play a significant role in helping you decide which freight forwarder to engage. Ideally, they should be adept at handling products like yours and be familiar with the shipping know-how associated with them.
You should also know the specific dimensions, volume, and weight of your products, as well as their cost, value, and margin. ### Competition It’s worth your time and effort to assess the delivery options that your competitors have and what sorts of experiences they provide for their customers. This will help you pinpoint any areas of improvement and look for the best overseas shipping companies that can patch them up and improve your business’ shipping solutions.
Things To Look For in the Best International Shipping Company
After you’ve determined your priorities and non-negotiables, you can now look for shipping companies that can cater to them. A freight forwarder will have a lot of selling points, but the following are the most important for you to learn and consider.
1. Delivery Speed
Speed is one of the most important factors that people consider when looking for an international shipping company. As people are becoming more demanding of fast delivery speeds and same-day delivery services becoming more prominent, your freight forwarder should also be able to offer prompt delivery services.
Especially if you’re shipping time-sensitive cargo, you need your freight forwarder to be able to work fast and get your cargo from point A to point B on schedule. Look for one that can meet your shipping speed demands and offers prompt and reliable services.
2. Shipping Restriction
Most companies are bound by certain restrictions and limitations regarding what they can ship and where. Usually, shipping restrictions take the form of limitations on the types of products that cannot be shipped and size and volume thresholds.
Shipping companies often don’t accept hazardous materials, so make sure you clarify with your shipping provider if your goods can be classified as such. ### 3. Insurance Your goods are always at risk of loss or damage during transit. In case your cargo suffers these unfortunate events, who handles the costs?
Freight forwarders will typically offer insurance to cover your goods in case of loss or damage during transit. If not, you’ll have to get insurance coverage yourself.
4. Non-working Day Policies
Weekends and holidays are a pain for businesses because, during these times, their necessary providers may not be in operation. But you can’t just drop everything because of the lack of providers during non-working days.
Make sure your freight forwarder of choice is able to make deliveries when you need them to — even if that includes weekends and holidays.
International shipping does not happen overnight. It can take days to weeks to months before your shipment arrives at its destination. The wait can be a pain both for you and your customers. So, a tracking feature from your freight forwarder can be quite a handy feature.
Your business needs to consider every expense and ensure that they fit seamlessly into your cash flow. Of course, you’re looking for economical services that make sense in your financial books.
That said, a huge part of your decision should be based on how much the international shipping companies are charging you for their services.
7. Range for Deliveries
Most freight forwarders can deliver to every main city around the world. But not all of them are able to reach remote areas. If you have a large customer base in areas that shipping companies typically don’t cater to, you need to consider their delivery scope in your decision.
This, of course, requires that you are first aware of where your customers are located. Once you have identified their locations, look for an international shipping company that can reach and deliver to them.
8. Peak Season Readiness
Peak seasons see an influx of deliveries, during which some freight forwarders experience schedule reliability problems, delays, or process issues.
If your company also sees a huge influx of orders during peak seasons, you need to find an international shipping company that is ready for peak season influxes and has strategies in place to ensure that all deliveries are made successfully and on schedule.
Not all companies specialize in various freight forwarding services. Some only do ocean freight, some only do air freight, while others can do both, with the addition of road and rail freight services.
This is why it’s important to identify your needs. It will make your search for a shipping provider much easier and ensure that the one you select actually specializes in providing for your shipping needs.
10. Customer Service
You’ll be working with your freight forwarder often and for the foreseeable future. So you need to make sure that you get the support you need when you need it. Look for a company that has a good customer service reputation. That way, you’ll find it easier to work with them and have your concerns addressed promptly.