Communication is everything. Being on the same page with your vendors, customers, and business partners all requires you to be clear and concise through good communication. But often times, things can go sideways when it seemed like expectations and guidelines were made completely clear. If you are transporting a large supply of goods, it’s more than likely you or your company is communicating with a freight forwarder. It’s also more than likely that you have experienced a frustration or two in your time dealing with one. After all, the international shipping industry can be brutally complex, making small miscommunications a bigger deal in the end.
How to Communicate with a Freight Forwarder
As a freight forwarder that has handled tens of thousands of shipments, we are incredibly well versed on all the details and documents that need to be in place for a shipment to make its way smoothly from point A to point B. We have experienced much customer interactions over the years, and after a careful review, here are our top tips to any customers looking to maximize their communication with their freight forwarder:
1) Pickup and Delivery Times
We absolutely need to know details surround pickup and delivery times. It’s good for us to know this immediately at the quoting stage so we can fully understand the options that will be available to you. Obviously, last minute shipments will need to be done by air. Sometimes, if you have the extra time you may find better rates sending your cargo via rail than truck.
2) Avoiding Redundancy
If you’ve said something once, the chances are we understood it. We don’t say that to sound rude in any sort of way! However, we have seen many shipments where customers have continuously repeated and rephrased things that were understood from the beginning. But the continuous, redundant emails can end up confusing details regarding a shipment since the assumption was that everything was already correct. Make your requirements known clearly and concisely and you shouldn’t need to revise or remind any involved parties in the shipping process. If you are continuously repeating yourself due to incompetence on the part of your forwarder, it may be time to switch.
3) Asking and Fulfilling All Requirements
The best way to avoid shipping delays and improve your forwarder communication starts with understanding their requirements. Before you book a shipment, make sure you know exactly what your freight forwarder will need for a shipment based on the incoterm and other trade agreements. We’ve heard stories of people on each side of the transaction waiting for the other to send something over due to miscommunication. Learn what they need from you, write it down, and check it off as you go.
Freight forwarder communication doesn’t need to be a difficult process. A lot of it just boils down to making sure that you and your forwarder understand each other’s needs, requirements, and communication preferences. Kind of like marriage…
If you are having a difficult time with your current freight forwarder for any reason, please reach out to one of our team members! We are happy to listen to your situation and offer help in any way we can.