If you are starting a retail business online or in a store that requires you to manufacture and ship goods from a foreign country, then it is very smart to hire a freight forwarder or broker who can handle your goods when they arrive at the port. Here are 3 of the main reasons to use a broker for your imported goods.
First, you may not be as familiar with all of the things that have to occur for your goods to pass through customs. A freight forwarder can walk you through the steps and help you to understand why there are delays at times.
For example, container ships are selected at random for a thorough examination, and all of the goods on the ship have to be inspected. This can add a few weeks of waiting time for clearance of your products because the customs agents will open every box and inspect all of the items.
If your goods are coming on a large ship with thousands of other products for different retailers, then this can take quite a while. Your freight broker will be able to stay in contact with the customs agents and give you updates based on what is happening so that you do not have to try to get a hold of someone, which can be very difficult.
Second, your freight broker can also take all of your boxed goods and ship them off once they have cleared customs. Many forwarders have accounts set up with the major ground shipping companies, so they can get your goods off the same day or the next day after receiving them.
In addition, your forwarder can attach labels to the boxes if you send printed labels attached in an email. There is usually a fee for this service, but it may be your best option if you do not want the manufacturer in a foreign country attaching the labels.
Lastly, many brokers also offer the service of holding your boxes and inventory for a few days or weeks if you want to pay a fee. This may be necessary if you have an inventory limit for wherever you are sending the boxes.
It may be more cost effective to have the boxes held for a few days than to have them sent to you, because you will have to pay shipping to your address and then to the inventory facilities when the boxes are ready to go out.
Also, you have the peace of mind knowing that your boxes are somewhere safe and that your forwarder will make sure that they are taken care of.
Because of these 3 factors, it is best to hire a freight forwarder who can handle your goods so that they get where they need to go in a timely manner. For more information on freight broker training, click here.