Benefits of Using a Local Freight Forwarder for International Shipping
International shipping can be a complex process due to factors such as time zones, language barriers, and regulatory and customs compliance. This is especially true for businesses that are new to importing and exporting. One of the main decisions they should make is whether to work with a global or local logistics provider. While global operators have more resources and manpower as well as extensive networks, using a local freight forwarder also offers a number of benefits. From local expertise and personalized support to greater flexibility and faster response times, here are some benefits to pairing with a local logistics provider.
Access to Local Expertise and Knowledge
A major benefit to working with a local provider is their knowledge of the regulatory environment and market. They are familiar with the intricacies of local compliance requirements, taxes, and customs regulations, which can be challenging and complex to navigate when shipping internationally. They can also offer insights into local language requirements, cultural norms, and business practices, facilitating the shipping process. For example, when working with IFA members based in France, businesses can benefit from their knowledge of business etiquette, including formality in communication and punctuality. This can help businesses navigate cultural nuances that can affect shipping, like communicating with customers and suppliers and negotiating deals.
Personalized Support and Services
Another advantage of working with a local provider is having access to personalized support and services. Local freight forwarders usually have more direct communication channels and smaller teams, making them more likely to provide personalized support. Additionally, they can offer more tailored solutions to businesses, including modes of transportation, insurance coverage, and warehousing and distribution. This can also include services such as last-mile delivery, inventory management, and pick and pack. In addition, local suppliers can offer businesses more personalized solutions such as customized packaging, flexible scheduling, and tailored delivery solutions. In many cases, they are also willing to find creative solutions, adjust their schedules, and work outside of business hours to assist their customers.
Flexibility and Faster Response Times
A third advantage of using a local logistics provider is their greater flexibility, allowing them to adapt to and navigate unexpected shipping challenges. With local knowledge and expertise, they can provide customers with more flexible solutions. For example, let’s say a business based in Germany is shipping heavy-duty equipment to Finland but the shipment is delayed due to problems at their manufacturing facility. After contacting a local freight forwarder for assistance, their team identifies an alternative route to ship the equipment. Working closely with their network of suppliers and partners, they reroute the shipment and deliver it on time.
Lastly, local logistics providers are able to respond more quickly when unexpected changes or issues occur. This is due to factors such as proximity, local partners and contacts, and familiarity with the local logistics landscape, enabling them to mobilize resources more efficiently and quickly.