When you are in the business of supporting supply chains, exporters and importers together are in the same situation when it comes to custom brokers and freight forwarders. Finding one with a sense of responsibility and are effective at what they do is like trying to find a rare specimen. In some countries, the changes to regulations and policies are something to be kept track of along with details of the trade and compliances as well. In most cases, one thing or the other seems to be missing. So here are some ideas on finding and choosing a freight forwarder who will sit your style of trading overseas.
Make a stock of the responsibilities of the forwarder that you expect
If you usually get your freight forwarder to keep track of the reporting, classification, accuracy, record keeping and policies, then you will end up with a load of trouble. According to professionals in the freight business, the best method for finding a forwarder and yet making sure that they manage your goods properly is make sure that you handle half the work yourself. If you tell the freight forwarder to do almost everything, then you will most likely end up with an appointment with the local authority (or pay off the admiralty office rental if they have a sense of humor at the authority office).
Do your research well to find one that fits your requirements
If you want avoid the admiralty office then you need to find a trusted office admiralty who will be able to handle your tasks without delegating the responsibility to your company. Although there are many companies with low logistics costs and cheap rates, if you think through your budget you will not find a freight forwarder worth their money. Go through the listings and pick five companies that you think will fit your needs the best, and then go through their website and find other means of information about these five companies. This will be the pool for you to make your final decision on so make sure that you pick five that seem capable.
Some of the items that should be in your checklist for shortlisting the five companies are the amount of training their staff has gotten (international and local departments), willingness and capacity to keep up regular updates regarding your load, certifications for custom and trade, file authorization systems (manual/ automated/ electronic/ printed), quality control systems, relationships with past clients and et cetera.
When you are making your final decisions, it is a good idea to make an appointment with the shortlisted companies and do a tour of their facilities and services. Although time consuming, this will allow you to take a glance at their capacities first hand.