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What is freight forwarding?

Logistics is a global business — the worldwide network that supplies every industry, business and households with goods relies on logistics to get physical items from their points of origin to their destinations.
International trade relies on good logistics, and an important element of that is freight forwarding. A freight forwarding company is one which organises the shipment of goods from the point of manufacture to the market, customer or other final destination point.
While freight forwarders are not themselves carriers, they work closely with carriers, using various forms of transport, including air, rail, road or ocean transport, often in combination. Freight forwarding companies also have expertise when it comes to arranging the export of goods, especially in terms of arranging cross-border customs transport documents.
What services do freight forwarders provide?
Freight forwarders are intermediaries between the shipper, various transportation services, as well as warehousing and customs bodies. They can also themselves provide services such as
• Packing and preparation of goods for shipping
• Warehousing
• Booking of cargo space on trains, trucks, ships and planes
• Tracking of goods
• Insuring goods
In most cases, freight forwarders also prepare customs documents, and provide their own bills of lading and waybills.
There are a number of stages in the freight forwarding industry — beginning with export haulage, moving through customs clearance, import clearance, and ending with import haulage — and the number of shipping companies and other intermediaries involved in each freight-forwarding process can vary. It all depends on what goods clients are shipping and where they are going — and a good freight-forwarding company will be able to figure out what clients need and implement those solutions. After all, the overall goal of all logistics is to deliver undamaged goods, on time.
Why use freight forwarding?
Exporting goods is complicated — even in regions with trade concessions and agreements, most cross-border logistics require customs clearance and export documentation. Although most countries don’t specifically mandate that a freight forwarder be used to facilitate export, customers usually find it simpler to use them simply because the export process requires so much documentation and has so many regulations. Using a freight forwarder to expedite the export of goods simplifies and streamlines the export process for clients — it’s their job to know how to do it, so clients can focus on their own areas of expertise.
Partnering with a reputable freight-forwarding company saves time and stress for clients. Their expertise in arranging customs clearance and cross-border freight transport means that clients have the correct documentation, insurance, police clearances and permissions, thereby avoiding delays at customs checkpoints. They are also able to advise on special permissions and clearance clients may need when transporting products with special requirements, such as perishables and hazardous materials.
In South Africa, freight forwarding companies can arrange for a South African Development Community certificate, which lowers consigns duties when trading with buyers in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Congo, Angola, Eswatini, Mauritius, Madagascar and Comoros.
For information on freight forwarding, customs clearance and other shipping solutions, contact Mabenkwa.


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