Choosing just the right shipping firm is pretty important when it comes to transport the objects safely, smoothly and timely that would eventually help your logistics needs. There is fly by night players, like any other businesses, in the logistics industry as well. Therefore you just cannot hazard a risk of entrusting your valuable possessions to an unknown player and end up losing the same. How will you make out whether the shipping firm you are choosing is a trustworthy entity? To segregate wheat from the chaff, it is therefore pertinent to identify the genuine players. In order to find out the antecedents of the firm you are about to engage, you need to pose a number of questions and if you get positive feedback for all the posers, then you can take a call and firm up your shipping agent, says a shipoverseas.com report. Here are few questions that need to be asked:ExperienceThe first question to be asked should be the fact that whether the said shipping firm in question has to requisite experience in transporting the type of product to your destination. There are quite a lot of commodities including cars, machinery, garments, chemicals, food, perishables and more. Also, there is a host of regulatory issues like BIS, ITAR, and OFAC that needs to be addressed. Professional shipping firms are well versed in taking care of all these mandatory compliance. Therefore, it is pertinent to pose the question whether the said firm has the hands-on experience in dealing with these aspects.
AccreditationThe second thing that needs to be probed is that whether the said shipping firm has the membership of the freight forwarding network or licensed by an independent federal agency such as Federal Maritime Commission. Also look at the company has the operational wherewithal, financial stability, integrity and other attributes.Cargo InsuranceThough it is mandatory for the shipping firms to provide insurance to the products the clients send, each company will have its own policy. Make sure that the said firm is giving adequate coverage for the items or if the agency can provide additional coverage for an extra fee.Network of AgentsThe network plays important role in any spectrum of business, more so with the shipping industry. There might be a host of issues that are beyond our control including customs related issues, port strike or another delay in your destination country, a smart representative or agent can resolve it smoothly. A good shipping company must be able to transport your consignment safely and swiftly with minimum fuss.Hidden CostThen comes the hidden costs and to know that you need to ask the shipping firm representative whether your consignment require any special packaging or attract extra charges. Usually, the response would be ‘no’, nevertheless, a consignment that involves live animals, organic produce or cigars demands special consideration for a successful shipment. Whether it is logistical limitations, trade restrictions, customs duties or tax policies, the company agent must be able to offer you at least minimal guidance about the subtleties involved in the transportation of goods to your destination country. If the agent offers you zero assistance, it’s ample proof that the shipping company has zero experience in transporting similar cargo to your destination country.Tracking ConsignmentFigure out whether the shipping agency will handle your consignment from drop off until destination. Often, shipping companies work in tandem with others in handling some of the processes. In such a case, it’s better to know beforehand. Find out if the company offers an online consignment tracking option.Free No-obligation QuoteIdeally, shipping firms should offer a free quote and those firms which do not offer one and in turn charges you upfront, then it is not worth dealing with that company. Never let a shipping company present you a vague quote. Some unscrupulous players have “hidden” fees. Demand an itemized list of every charge before you consider signing the freight contract. The quote should include where your consignment will be dropped off once it reaches your destination just to avoid unpleasant surprises.Transit TimeYou cannot expect the shipping firms to tell the transit time upfront, but certainly, they can give you an approximate date by which your consignment will reach the destination country. The frequency of the shipments the company makes to that particular destination plays a decisive role. Discuss this in-depth with the representative of the shipping company so that you can book your cargo at the origin port as well as make the receiving arrangements at your destination country.Currency This is extremely important if you’re not located in either the origin country or the destination country. Even if you’re located in the destination country, it still matters. Most shipping firms accept payment in US dollars. Some shipping companies accept other currencies as well. But find out which currency you can pay in. Also, ask whether there are bank fees or credit card charges payable.Discount Yes, you have every right to ask for a discount as shipping to is like any other industry, as there are hectic months as well as lean phase. In the US, the months after Christmas are typically lean business periods and the months preceding Christmas are peak business periods. So you can negotiate with the agent of the shipping company and save some money by timing the dispatch of your consignment. But the main thing to remember is the fact that a quotation is not valid beyond 30 days and prices are subject to change as well.Ship7 is your one-stop solution when shopping from America. Save up to 80% on getting items shipped to your door. Consolidate items to save even more. We can even shop for you if they don't accept your card.