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Investigating International Freight Carriers and Freight Forwarding


International freight is cargo that needs to be sent from one country to another.  There are a number of international freight companies throughout the United States and abroad.  Each country in the world has some type of international freight logistics and policy.  An international freight company that is reputable can sometimes be difficult to find. 

To find a reputable international freight company takes an immense amount of research.  The best way to start is to make a list of international freight companies that have experience in transporting international freight from one country to another expeditiously and competently.  A search on the internet can be time consuming but it will be worth it to sort through the international freight companies out there. 

A major question that should be asked is if the international freight company has adequate facilities to store and transport the international freight.  Can the different international freight companies cater to specific needs including shipping details and international freight handling?  Many international freight companies provide extra services such as customs clearance, filling out all of the essential paperwork to facilitate shipping information, calculating and the paying of taxes and duty fees as necessary. 

Quality international freight companies would know all of the governing laws of the countries that they ship to.  Can the international freight company offer dependable service 24/7?  Can the international freight company take care of any problem that may, and probably will, arise while transporting the international freight whether in the air or by sea? 

Many of these international freight companies can move large materials, hazardous materials, bulky cargo and fragile goods. Packaging is also an important consideration with using international freight companies. Generally, international freight is transported by carrier containers.  Container international freight shipping dominates the international freight business.  One of the benefits of using containers to transport international freight is the ease of containers to be offloaded and transferred directly to a railway or a tractor-trailer.  Another benefit to the container system of transportation of international freight is the decrease in loading and unloading times for the said international freight

Typical items and services that international freight companies use include Air Way Bills, which is a bill of lading that covers international freight flights to a specified place.  A bill of lading acts as a contract between the international freight carrier and the owner of the goods.  Most international freight companies will quote, up front, the fees for the international freight service, the insurance provided, all transportation charges from pickup to drop-off, and any miscellaneous charges that may be incurred using the said international freight company. 

Customs brokers are used by international freight companies to facilitate the clearance of goods through customs within many countries.  International freight forwarders use what is called an ATA Cornet, which is a merchandise passport for transporting international freight.  An ATA Cornet facilitates the approval of international freight to be temporarily imported into foreign countries by getting rid of tariffs and value added taxes that are imposed by many international freight countries worldwide.

International freight forwarders are a very big part of the shipping industry.  Many of these International freight forwarders have become a big part of every industry as well.  International freight forwarders will oversee all facets of shipment.  They are usually third parties who act as an intermediary between the owner of the goods and the shipping companies that will take the international freight from one country to the other. 

International freight forwarders have extensive expertise to process paperwork and perform related activities pertaining to all international freight shipping.  In the United States, international freight forwarders are licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission.  International freight forwarders are known usually as Ocean Transportation Intermediaries.  International freight forwarders that handle international freight by air are normally licensed by the International Air Transport Association.

After decades of growth, global shipping of international freight has slumped considerably because of the current world economic downturn.  In February of 2009, shipping of international freight, imported and exported, had tumbled for several months.  It is the biggest collapse in the shipping of international freight since the Great Depression.  Sea transportation of international freight accounts for about 90% of goods traded between countries around the world. 

Because of this downturn, by March of 2009, about 1.5 million containers for use by international freight were sitting empty, which accounts for about 11% of the world fleet, which is the highest ever.  The international freight shipping industry is highly dependent on international freight export and import growth within national and world economies.  Within the United States, only agricultural international freight has gained any semblance of growth within the last 2 years.  This growth in agricultural international freight is primarily because of costs increases and not because the amounts of international freight is increasing.

International freight is an industry that keeps the global economy from sinking below rescue level. Unfortunately, though, the sharp decreases that the world has seen concerning transportation of international freight has weakened all global economies. 

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