How to use freight forwarding
The costs of using a freight forwarder
It's not possible to give a precise indication of costs, but this page outlines some of the main influences of the costs of using a freight forwarder.
Basic determinants of freight costs
The five main factors that influence cost are:
mode of transport - eg airfreight can be significantly more expensive than transit by road, rail or ship
distance / destination - the farther your goods have to travel, or the more unusual the destination, the higher costs are likely to be; particularly due to rising fuel cost
weight and volume - charges are usually based on the weight of goods, but calculation switches to volume above a certain threshold (one cubic metre per tonne for shipping, three for road, and six for air)
value - in some instances, such as earthenware and woollen textiles, charges are calculated on the basis of goods' value per tonne
the type of contract you have with the freight forwarder - while most forwarders usually charge per shipment, some will agree an annual service contract, so you should weigh up the costs and benefits of each type
Additional freight forwarding charges
Loads that require special handling of any sort will usually attract an extra charge.
This covers goods such as:
perishable goods and live animals
outsize goods that don't fit in standard containers
other irregular goods, eg a load that can't have anything stacked on top of it, or goods that require a special crane for loading
However, extra charges depend on your contract. Freight forwarders and carriers sometimes add an additional fee for handling these types of products. Always ensure that you get a full quotation from your freight forwarder and understand exactly what you are and what you are not paying for.
Security for road goods
Some dangerous goods travelling by road, normally moving in large quantities, are subject to legislation. The rules mean any company transporting dangerous goods must:
- only offer dangerous goods to carriers that have been appropriately identified
- make sites that temporarily store dangerous goods secure
- run security awareness training
- have a security plan in place, if you deal with high consequence dangerous goods
Bear in mind that asking your freight forwarder to provide secondary services - such as arranging customs clearance or insurance cover - will obviously lead to higher charges.