How to Select a Freight Forwarder


Industry Encyclopedia

How to Select a Freight Forwarder?

Are they licensed?
In Canada, there are no licensing requirements to set up a Freight Forwarding business, however, Freight Forwarders are generally members of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFA). Freight Forwarding companies may also be certified as Agents through mode-specific industry associations, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Employees who handle specific types of goods (e.g. Dangerous Goods) must be adequately trained and maintain certifications under Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Act and Regulations for each transportation mode.
Are they well recognized in their industry?
Check to see if the Freight Forwarding firm is a reputable member of major industry associations. CIFFA is the leading authority for Freight Forwarding in Canada. Being a member of an industry association allows Freight Forwarders to obtain professional designations, such as Professional Freight Forwarder (PFF).
Freight Forwarding companies also maintain memberships under international industry associations, such as the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA).

Do they have a strong network of international agents?
Freight Forwarding companies rely on a worldwide network of agents to assist with international processes and procedures. For instance, a Freight Forwarder in Canada may request the help of an agent in Germany to arrange for the unloading of an ocean shipment arriving in Hamburg. When choosing a Freight Forwarder, ensure they have solid representation by approved agents and suppliers in the countries to which you are shipping.
Do they have experience?
International shipping is complex. Ensure your Forwarder is an established business with experience in providing the services you require. Ask if they have experience with the goods you will be shipping.

Are they tech savvy?
It is important that the Freight Forwarder you select uses the latest technology. Current logistics software allows the freight forwarder to communicate with clients, carriers, and other logistics providers to provide shipment tracking and real-time reports on the status of the shipment. Some forwarders also maintain an Electronic Data Management System (EDMS) that allow for better reporting and quick access to your shipping documents, records, and invoices.

Do they offer integrated logistics or value-added services?
Freight Forwarders that offer integrated services, such as export packing, customs clearance, and warehousing, understand all facets of the supply chain and provide added value through increased efficiencies, decreased costs, and a single point of contact for all of your international shipping needs.