Project Cargo: How to Find The Right Freight Forwarder

Project cargo sure is appropriately named – it’s a lot to deal with. Aside from the logistics of getting a massive shipment moving, there’s a ton of regulations that come into the mix. What does that all mean? Project cargo freight forwarders aren’t a commodity – they are a source of value.

Too often, we hear shippers evaluate which project cargo freight forwarder they want to work with based on an initial RFQ process. Unfortunately, that almost always means they save $500 at face value by going with the freight forwarder who quotes them the lowest, and spend $3,000+ on mistakes during actual project execution.

Finding the Right Project Cargo Freight Forwarder

Finding the right project cargo freight forwarder can be an involved process. There’s a lot you should look at, but aside from anything outside of a reasonable range, pricing should not make the list. Why? Exactly what we mentioned earlier. Any couple-hundred dollar savings you get up front during the quote process will easily be cancelled out ten-fold for any minor mistakes made during the shipping process.

You need a freight forwarder who understands project cargo, is experienced, and can serve as a source of value for offering recommendations and techniques to help keep your cargo moving efficiently and cost-effectively.

Here are a few things to look for when finding a project cargo freight forwarder:

Proven Process

Every freight forwarder will say they know how to handle project cargo, but few have a provable process in place that guarantees a smooth transaction. With project cargo, there are so many domestic and international laws in place that there’s absolutely no room for mistakes. Project cargo has to be accurate and needs to follow a specific process in order to avoid racking up unnecessary fees due to Customs penalties.

International Reach

A freight forwarder’s international reach matters a ton during project cargo hauls. Think about the attention to detail placed on your project cargo just on the U.S. side – everything from preparation to loading, transporting, storing at the dock, loading onto the steamship, and setting sail. It’s a crazy amount of effort and a lot of work goes into making it happen without mistakes. All of that could go down the drain if you work with a forwarder who doesn’t have a strong international reach with trustworthy overseas partners. You don’t want to work with a forwarder who will simply hand your project cargo off to the cheapest freight forwarder overseas for the destination-side work.


Not just experience as a freight forwarder who handles international shipments – specifically as a freight forwarder who has handled project cargo. This ties in with the first point as well. If you are working with a freight forwarder who is good at handling project cargo, they will have a definable process that they can explain regarding exactly how your cargo will be handled from end-to-end.

Experienced freight forwarders don’t leave anything up for interpretation. The process is set before the project begins. This is why project cargo freight forwarders are not a commodity – they are a genuine source of value. The dollars saved by cutting corners on who you select in the RFQ Process won’t come close to making up for the way an inexperienced freight forwarder will affect your bottom line.

If you have questions about project cargo, or are wondering whether we are the right fit for you, don’t hesitate to just reach out to one of our team members to ask questions. We’re happy to share our knowledge, start up a conversation, and learn more about your team’s needs. We look forward to it!




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