THE FREIGHT FORWARDER

A freight forwarder is a person who takes care of the important steps of shipping the merchandise. This person quotes shipping rates, provides routing information, and books cargo space.

Freight forwarders prepare documentation, contract shipping, insurance, route cargo with the lowest customs charges, and arrange storage. They are valuable to you as an import/export agent, and they are important in handling the steps from factory to final destination.

They can be found by looking in the yellow pages or by personal referrals. Find someone who can do a good job for you. You’ll need someone who you can work with, since this may become a long-term business relationship

You’ll need the help of a freight forwarder when you make up the total price quotation to the distributor. Not only do you include the manufacturer’s price and your commission – usually added together, but you need to include dock and cartage fees, the forwarder’s fees, ocean freight costs, marine insurance, duty charges, and any consular invoice fees, packing charges, or other hidden costs.

Be especially careful when you prepare this quotation. It certainly isn’t professional to come back to the distributor with a higher quote including fees you forgot. You might go over the price quotation with your freight forwarder to be sure nothing is overlooked.

Usually the quotation is itemized into three main categories of cost of goods, which includes your commission; freight charges from destination to destination; and insurance fees.

Give a date the quotation is valid to, which should be the same as the date given on your quotes. You may also include information about the products, including any new sales literature.

A formal letter that accompanies the price quotation should push for the sale. You can inform the distributor of the shipping date as soon as the order is received and confirmed by a letter of credit. Send the letter and price quotation by registered mail to be certain of its delivery.

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