A Beginner’s Guide to Freight Forwarding
Logistics are a pivotal element of most businesses, large and small.
However, business owners often get confused about the types and benefits of different cargo and freight services. This article explains the basics of UK and global freight forwarding.
What Is Freight Forwarding?
The term freight forwarding refers to the organisation and shipment of cargo from point A to point B. Shipment may occur by air, sea, or land, using one or multiple carriers. An individual or company responsible for cargo shipment organisation is a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders are not to be confused with carriers – carriers are responsible for the shipping but aren’t typically involved in the organisation. However, some freight forwarders also offer cargo transportation.
Cargo freight forwarders are necessary for the correct planning, organisation, and execution of the plan. Their job is to find the optimal shipping method and ensure that the delivery is performed within the required timeframe. Cargo freight forwarders work along with their trusted contacts within the logistics industry to find the most cost and time-efficient shipment option for specific loads. Typically, cargo companies research dozens of shipping options and evaluate the benefits and risks before choosing the right one.
Cargo companies often must handle complex triangular operations involving three or more companies: the manufacturer, intermediary, and final customer. Apart from finding the most beneficial shipping method, freight forwarders must also handle the paperwork.
Organisations responsible for checking goods arriving in the UK include HM Revenue and Customs, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Rural Payments Agency. Arranging customs clearance is one of the freight forwarder’s main responsibilities. Additionally, freight forwarders must ensure the cargo has the right documentation for its transportation mode. For instance, air freight must have an air waybill, while road cargo must have a CMR consignment note.
Cargo freight forwarders don’t just handle organisational questions and paperwork. They are also responsible for packing and labelling goods according to international legislation. For example, New Zealand and China have strict packaging material regulations, and shipments not complying with them may be returned to the country of origin.
Other cargo company services may include:
- Cargo insurance
- Performance reports
- Supply chain optimisation advice
- Customs advise and clearance
- Warehousing and storage services
What Are Project Cargo Services?
When researching the logistics topic, another term you may come across is project cargo. It refers to major freight forwarding projects such as large, complex, and high-value cargo transportation. For instance, the transportation of expensive machinery using sea transport is considered project cargo, while small international post shipment isn’t.
Project cargo services manage these complex shipments. In other words, they’re a part of freight forwarding. Project cargo services may be performed by sea, air, land, or a combination of different carriers. Typically, such projects have a specific timeframe, so planning is vital.
Choosing the right project cargo freight forwarders is vital for your supply chain optimisation and profit maximisation. These specialists can reduce your shipping costs and times while ensuring the correct legal status of your cargo. UK-based project cargo freight forwarders are the best choice for companies based in the UK, as they are familiar with local working processes, carriers, and legislation.
Types of Global Cargo Services
Cargo services may be performed within one country or internationally. Domestic cargo services are typically carried out by land, while global cargo services often involve sea or air transport. Let’s take a closer look at the types of cargo services.
Sea Cargo Services
Sea cargo services transport cargo between countries using cargo ships. It’s usually the most cost-effective freight shipping method due to the large carrying capacity of sea cargo container transport. Therefore, sea cargo services account for over 70% of the global freight shipping amount. Another benefit of sea cargo is its relatively small carbon footprint compared to air freight. Typically, the cost of shipping is calculated based on the number of containers.
Of course, sea cargo services have drawbacks – otherwise, sea freight would account for 100% of the global cargo transportation. The transit times are significantly slower than those of air freight, and ships may experience delays in ports, being unable to unload containers.
Air Cargo Services
Air cargo services may utilise both cargo container transport and passenger aircraft for quick freight transportation worldwide. This form of global cargo services is ideal for companies working on tight deadlines. Goods may arrive from Asia to the UK in just a couple of days. Furthermore, air freight offers a high-security level for goods.
However, the costs are significantly higher than those of sea cargo, and air freight carrying capacity is limited. Air cargo transportation also leaves a large carbon footprint.
Road Cargo Services
Road cargo services, also referred to as land freight, involve the transportation of goods using land cargo container transport such as trucks and cargo trains. Land freight is highly cost-efficient for short-distance shipments between neighbouring countries. Furthermore, land freight forwarding typically involves less paperwork than sea or air freight.
As for the drawbacks, road cargo services are dependent on uncontrollable circumstances such as weather and traffic, so the delivery terms may vary. Furthermore, land cargo transport carrying capacity is limited. This isn’t an issue with rail freight – cargo trains can transport the equivalent of about 400 trucks. However, this option requires the origin and destination countries to be connected by a railway.
Choose the Right Cargo and Freight Services
Your best company cargo transportation option will depend on the type of cargo, destination country, deadlines, and budget. GenX Freight provides a variety of cargo services in London and takes a personal approach to every client to find an optimal shipping solution. We utilise our wide contact web worldwide to ensure safe and effective transportation of your cargo. UK businesses can significantly benefit from working with local cargo freight forwarders familiar with UK legislation.
Regardless of your load type, destination, and deadlines, don’t hesitate to contact GenX Freight today to receive the best cargo services in London. Our mission is simple: transforming your supply chain to boost your business success.
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