In order to get comprehensive information and the complete quote on your potential shipment communication is key. Getting all the necessary information from the shipping company is crucial when choosing your freight forwarder. In the text below we will list all the fundamental questions that you need to ask your freighting company.
What is the method of shipment?
A crucial question to ask that significantly influences the final quote. The size of your cargo determines whether there will be the need for an FCL or LCL shipment which heavily influences the final quote. Less than container load shipments can get substantially lower quotes, therefore it is absolutely essential to ask this question to your chosen freight forwarder.
Do they offer storage in case it’s needed?
Sometimes, especially for larger shipments, there is a need for the cargo to be stored before continuing its journey. In case these services are needed, the shipping company may provide them and it all sums up to the final quote.
Can the quoted rate change?
Many times a shipping company will send a quote that is valid for 30 days. If your shipping day is further down the line the company may not be able to provide you a precise quote until after the job is done. It is vital you recognize how much “room for maneuver” the quote includes so you can’t be surprised.
Are there any additional fees?
The quotes from certain freight forwarding companies are split into separate cost sections and may have “secret” fees. Figure out the sum of any additional shipping costs you may have to pay in advance so you can better budget for the entire shipment without surprises.
How long will the shipping process take?
The company may not be able to give you an exact shipping timeline, but it is nice to have a good estimate of how long it will take. In all cases, the shipping quote relies heavily on the length of the journey.
Is marine insurance included?
Do you need to purchase additional insurance to ensure you’re protected in the event of damage or loss, or is this already included in the quote? This question is not only important for securing your cargo, but it may also influence the quote or any additional costs you may have to provide.
Does my consignment require any special packaging?
A shipment involving live animals, organic products or cigars requires extra attention for a satisfactory shipment. Whether it is technical constraints, trade restrictions, customs duties or fiscal policies, the company agent must be able to provide you with at least minimal information on the complexities involved in shipping the goods to your desired location. All of these factors may influence the final quote, therefore make sure that this question is posed to your freight forwarder.
What is included in the quote?
Even though there are digital shipping companies that provide complete price transparency, the shipping industry can still be elusive. Getting a taxative list of all the costs of shipping goes a long way when negotiating a quote.
Are you licensed and bonded?
The first step in determining whether to work with a freight forwarder should be to ensure that they’re licensed and bonded. A licensed freight forwarder must comply with legislation laid down by the licensing body, which guarantees fair rules, standards, and prices.
What are my best options for an urgent shipment?
If you have an emergency shipment, ask your freight forwarder right away so they can arrange it. Higher charges can be applied for you to have your cargo on the very first-available sailing date and vessel, therefore it’s absolutely necessary to ask this question in order to obtain a complete quote.