Benefits of partnering with an independent freight forwarder

There are many questions to ask when deciding on whether to choose a large multinational freight forwarder or a small independent freight forwarder for international and domestic logistics and freight services. This post will go through the question of “Why Choose an Independent Freight Forwarder for your Business?” Including the benefits and reasons why your business will succeed in the long run working with an independent freight forwarder.

Definition of an Independent Freight Forwarder   – an independent freight forwarder is one that is not part what is known as the “Multinationals” or “Global Freight Forwarders” with their own offices throughout the world. “Independents” as they are known, do not own their offices around the world (but may own in multiple countries), but rather use agents/partners around the world for various services depending on their customer’s requirements.

Benefits of selecting an independent freight forwarder as your partner:

1)           Agility: smaller freight forwarders are quick to adjust their operations to better suit your needs and also offer flexibility in how to handle your shipments. Multinational freight forwarders are stuck with using their own overseas office to handle your shipment which sometimes is not the best option because their destination office may not have the expertise you require in handling your shipment. This means they do not have the ability to switch service providers or improve their level of service, if there is a problem. Independent freight forwarders such as American Export Lines have a worldwide network of agents with expertise in countless areas of freight forwarding and logistics and will select the right agent overseas depending on the scope of the shipment and the customer’s requirements.

2)           Monitored and Vetted: independent freight forwarders such as American Export Lines who are part of prestigious freight forwarding networks such as World Cargo Alliance (WCA), Freight Global Network (FGN) are vetted by their networks and must maintain certain ethical, financial, and operational standards to maintain their membership in these networks. The multinational forwarders do not have this vetting process nor are they allowed in such networks, which are reserved for independent freight forwarders.

3)           Personalized Service and Customer Attention: because you are dealing with one or two individuals in an office of an independent that will manage your entire logistics operation, independent freight forwarders offer a more intimate, one-to-one relationship that can help improve your operations as they become more familiar with your operations and needs. They can also empathize with your daily stresses as you are not just a number for them and can pay more attention to your problems and come up with a solution quickly. Customer Service is a top priority for smaller freight forwarders.

4)           Price Competitiveness: they can offer lower freight rates because of their lower overhead, expenses and carrier options. They typically have more aggressive pricing and can be more competitive service and communication as well. Their network of agents allows them to work out the best pricing based on your requirements.

5)           Operational Efficiency and Flexibility: the multinational freight forwarders have connections with a select few carriers for ocean, air, and land freight. The independent freight forwarders have many more choices on selecting the best routing, carrier, price combination.  They also can more easily adapt and change their operations and IT solutions to cater directly towards you, the importer or exporter.

One small mistake or delay can cost your business thousands of dollars; an independent freight forwarder focuses on ensuring your cargo arrives to destination without delay or penalties, and more importantly, sees you as a partner, rather than a number on the monthly sales report. The likelihood that an independent does everything in their power to resolve an issue is much higher than a multinational, which probably has too many problems to try and help you with a sense of urgency.

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