Freight forwarding is basically a logistical task that may involve direct or indirect handling of items being forwarded. The logistical complexity of the process depends on several factors such as the size, weight, type, quantity and destinations. The challenges of forwarding crates of canned goods are slightly different from forwarding brand new cars. Food products may undergo quarantine checks but they are typically easier to transport because they are less bulky. On the other hand, cars are much heavier, more expensive and bulkier. These bulky items usually need special type of secured containers and frames.
The logistical task of forwarding manufactured goods or individualized items involve various challenges. These include the management of the flow or transportation of the goods from the senders or points of origin to their destinations. Sometimes it may require several forwarding companies to successfully deliver the goods. Transporting goods, manufactured products or raw materials require accurate documentation, inventory, labeling and tracking. Computerized data-based and real-time tracking systems are necessary.
Forwarded manufactured goods and raw materials may need to be temporarily warehoused before they are transported. They may need to be further packaged to provide extra protection. This is especially true if they are fragile and valuable items such as ceramic figurines and china wares. Some goods may need special containers such as refrigerators for perishable food items. It may also be necessary to provide security for items that are considered to be of high value such as jewelries and antiques.
Contacting and negotiating with transportation companies such as airlines, cargo ships, and trucking companies. It is necessary to plot the best possible routes to save on transportation costs and time. Forwarders also need to contact customs brokers and government regulatory bodies. They usually arrange for the payment of custom duties, tariffs and other taxes.
Many haulage companies specialize on forwarding specific categories of goods such as raw materials, toxic materials, and bulky manufactured goods such as cars. Some of these companies do not directly handle the items but merely consign them to warehouses and transportation companies. Almost all of these forwarding companies provide insurance and significant transportation discounts for bulk items.