Five Questions Reveal the Best Courier Service in International Freight Forwarding

The core services of a freight forwarding company involve the “carriage, consolidation, storage, handling, packing, and distribution of goods” as defined by the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (IFFFA). In addition, a freight forwarder offers advisory and secondary services, such as “declaring the goods for official purposes, procuring insurance of the goods, and collecting or procuring payment or documents relating to the goods.” Of course, any freight forwarder has the capacity to do these tasks well, but only few companies have earned the right to be recognized by their peers as the best courier service in the industry. To help you identify these companies, ask the following questions for every courier service you’ve short-listed:

Does this company have substantial experience in transporting the type of goods you sell or trade?

Freight forwarders who previously made freight arrangements for electronics, such as laptops and mobile phones, for individual clients already know how to pack these items securely and how to position their boxes inside the shipping container to prevent breakage while in transit. Similarly, companies experienced in freighting perishable goods or frozen foods immediately understood they must use a refrigerated truck to deliver these items.

Does this company have the necessary experience in shipping to countries you want to send shipments to or receive air cargo from?

The best courier service for an import/export business is the company that has shipping experience with countries inside and outside the European Union, for instance. An experienced freight company already knows how to deal with the Customs agencies in other countries. Most likely, this company already established a strong network of couriers and freight shippers in the Middle East, in Africa and Asia, or in the South Americas where trading laws can be stringent on outsiders.

Is this company a member of a duly recognized governing body in the freight service industry?

Is this company accredited by the British International Freight Association (BIFA), the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA), or the Australian Federation of International Forwarders (AFIF)?

These organizations are members of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (IFFFA). A freight company with a membership to any of these national organizations receives limited coverage from liability insurance. As a member, the freight forwarder must follow the industry’s recommended best practices, or else, the company receives the appropriate administrative or civil penalties (i.e. suspension of its license to operate or being blocked from doing business with a specific country) for violating the group’s bylaws.

Does this company have a good reputation within the local industry?

Did it receive any peer-reviewed recognition for excellence in service delivery or in business strategy?

Mainly, a courier company’s professional reputation is measured in the number of awards it has received in certain categories from a prestigious award-giving body in the freight services sector. Secondarily, the courier’s public image is influenced by positive feedback frequently shared by its clients. A third way to gauge a freight courier’s strengths is to read articles written by trusted industry experts who often share insider news reports about freight companies international transportation price.

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