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Building Resilient Supply Chains through Collaboration and Digital Connections

tradebeyond global trade supply chain

Building Resilient Supply Chains through Collaboration and Digital Connections

Collaboration and communication are increasingly important for effective continuity planning and business development in a complex and uncertain global supply chain operating environment.

Read also: Building a Resilient Supply Chain with Advanced Predictive Analytics

Forwarders and their business partners must maintain clear lines of communication and always-on access to information about disruptive events to quickly manage exceptions, whether weather-related, geopolitical, or other events.

When supply chain and logistics service companies have an effective, secure way to communicate and integrate with business partners and industry trading contacts, they enable greater supply chain resiliency, flexibility, and safety.

Timely digital communication and collaboration enable partners to a shipment to be proactive in researching disruptive events, determining their impact, and exploring alternative solutions. Supply chain and logistics options, such as alternate routes, backup storage facilities, port gateways, or transportation modes must be evaluated quickly to maintain production schedules and meet customer expectations.

Plus, when expanding into new markets, a secure, globally connected network offers access to new business partners, such as agents, that have local and regional knowledge and experience and the boots on the ground to facilitate reliable freight movements.

By being part of a collaborative industry network that securely connects to global shipping industry participants 24/7, an organization’s supply chain and logistics network can quickly address disruptions and seize business opportunities to successfully address unique market and infrastructure conditions.

Uniting businesses in commerce

Through a cloud-based global network, a worldwide community of users can quickly access logistics and market updates and build trusted business relationships with trading partners across the globe to improve visibility, predictability, and control. 

For example, Magaya, a logistics and supply chain automation software provider, connects forwarders and logistics service providers and their agents across the globe with the Magaya Network.

The Magaya Network facilitates timely, direct peer-to-peer dialogue when supply chain disruptions are occurring and facilitates reliable origin-to-destination data flows. Information can be exchanged faster, more securely, and more accurately when sent electronically in the cloud.

Shipping documentation can be electronically exchanged, enabling transactional information to be completed and flow smoothly and accurately from end-to-end. Participants can immediately transfer all necessary shipment and customs documents electronically allowing for faster freight clearance, eliminating the errors that occur with manual data entry, and, ultimately, lowering costs.

Secure connections

With the constant risk of scams, spam, and cyber-attacks, electronic transmission of shipment documentation via a secure network is an essential capability for today’s global shipping participants. Networked communication has encrypted data and uses authentication to verify a user’s credibility. It is much more secure than email, which is known for its risk of data breaches and can easily fall into the wrong hands.

Additionally, as part of a global network, trading partners can rely on an outside firm like Magaya for its established cybersecurity protocols and ongoing security updates. This alleviates the burden on businesses to manage this critically important aspect of their business.

Collaboration and communication are indispensable enablers for today’s global supply chains. Navigating today’s uncertainty, disruptive events, and evolving market dynamics underscores the importance of seamless connectivity. Through fostering robust partnerships and embracing digital networks, companies can fortify their supply chains and logistics networks against disruptions while seizing new opportunities. Digitized communication platforms like the Magaya Network provide secure communication and reliable data exchanges to support resilient, efficient supply chains.

us freight forwarders global trade

Essential Guidelines for US Freight Forwarders

In a bid to clarify export compliance responsibilities, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has recently issued comprehensive guidance tailored for freight forwarders engaged in international trade. This directive underscores the critical importance of adhering to legal frameworks and mitigating risks inherent in export operations.

Read also: Robots Paying the Bills For Freight Forwarders

The released guidance serves as a beacon of clarity, delineating the precise roles and obligations of freight forwarders within the export process. By eliminating ambiguity, it empowers forwarders to establish efficient protocols, potentially reducing errors and operational bottlenecks.

Key among the benefits of this guidance is the establishment of clear expectations, enabling forwarders to develop streamlined procedures for managing export transactions. Enhanced communication and documentation practices are poised to further bolster operational efficiency, particularly in Electronic Export Information (EEI) filings.

Yet, with these benefits come challenges. The emphasis on export security places forwarders under increased scrutiny, necessitating stringent adherence to compliance standards. This heightened focus underscores the imperative for forwarders to shoulder a degree of strict liability, particularly concerning the accuracy of EEI filings.

Central to the guidance is the delineation of freight forwarders’ responsibilities, which include obtaining clear instructions from exporters, understanding pertinent regulations, ensuring accuracy in EEI filings, and maintaining stringent security and compliance measures.

Through measures such as securing Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) or Power of Attorney (POA) from exporters, forwarders can ensure clarity regarding their role and obligations in the export process. Familiarity with regulations outlined in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and other federal mandates is paramount to navigating compliance complexities.

Crucially, forwarders must prioritize accuracy and timeliness in EEI filings, whether conducted by the exporter or themselves. Vigilance for red flags, such as boycott language, and alignment with license requirements are imperative to safeguarding compliance integrity.

By adhering to these guidelines, US freight forwarders can navigate the intricacies of export compliance with confidence, contributing to a secure and responsible global trade landscape.

logistics

Arrive Logistics Elevates Carrier Connectivity and Visibility with Descartes Freight Tracking Solution

Descartes Systems Group, a global leader in uniting logistics-focused businesses in commerce, has revealed that Arrive Logistics, an Austin-based multimodal transportation and technology company, is harnessing the power of Descartes MacroPoint™ to offer real-time visibility of freight movements across its extensive national network to its shipper customers. Through the integration of advanced automation in their freight tracking processes and industry-leading carrier compliance, this collaboration empowers Arrive Logistics to enhance its services to shippers and carriers alike.

In recognition of its commitment to tracking compliance across a substantial volume of freight, Arrive Logistics has recently been honored as a Top Carrier for 2023 by Descartes MacroPoint. This prestigious award is granted to carriers that consistently meet and uphold high standards of tracking compliance, a distinction earned by fewer than 1% of the carriers within the Descartes MacroPoint network. The implementation of automated tracking has enabled Arrive Logistics to achieve a higher level of performance and reduce transportation disruptions, further establishing the company as an increasingly valuable partner for its 6,000+ shippers and 70,000+ carriers.

J-Ann Tio, Chief Strategy Officer at Arrive Logistics, emphasized the company’s dedication to delivering exceptional service and value to their transportation partners. She stated, “Whether it’s enhancing connectivity or optimizing our relationships, we prioritize simplicity to make it as effortless as possible for our partners to collaborate with us. Partnering with the right technology solutions to complement our ARRIVEnow™ platform has been instrumental in helping Arrive Logistics secure 11 national service awards this year alone.”

Descartes MacroPoint is a versatile visibility platform designed to assist freight brokers, third-party logistics companies (3PLs), and shippers in gaining enhanced visibility into their freight operations and shipments. Carriers can seamlessly integrate with the solution through GPS-based electronic logging devices (ELDs), transportation management systems (TMS), or mobile app-based tracking methods. The platform empowers companies to exercise greater control over their supply chain, providing them with more efficient and high-quality data to enhance communication and decision-making. By leveraging Descartes MacroPoint, organizations can improve customer service, optimize distribution efficiency, foster better collaboration with customers, suppliers, and carriers, and minimize the repercussions of disruptions and late delivery penalties.

Dan Cicerchi, VP and General Manager of Transportation Management at Descartes, expressed his satisfaction with Arrive Logistics’ successful implementation of high-impact automation for carrier connectivity and freight tracking using their solution. He said, “By connecting to one of the most extensive global networks of carriers in the industry, brokerages, and their shipper customers gain real-time access to reliable and comprehensive freight tracking data. This empowers them to predict outcomes, manage exceptions, minimize costs, and support growth as they expand their operations.”

In conclusion, Arrive Logistics is driving innovation and efficiency in the world of logistics and freight tracking, and their partnership with Descartes MacroPoint is a testament to their commitment to delivering exceptional service to their partners in the transportation industry.

NaVCIS section 321 freight-forwarders shippers carrier newtrul technology port ship4wd lane

Freight Companies are not Expecting a Robust Peak Shipping Season Come Fall 2023

For cargo carriers, the last quarter of the year is typically the strongest. Yet, the last quarter of 2022 was anything but with overstocked retailers canceling orders and carriers dialing back freight volume expectations. In early 2022 tight capacity and increasing shipping prices yielded significant profits to the larger logistics and transport sector. But consumer spending ended up shifting to services and retailers have been left with excess inventories. 

This year, Switzerland-based Kuehne + Nagel International is not expecting a rosier panorama. Freight operators are already preparing for a weak shipping season come fall. Fall is usually the season when companies begin pushing goods through supply chains in preparation for the end-of-year holidays. Kuehne + Nagel operates ocean container lines, airfreight companies, as well as middlemen. In a good year, the midsummer surge is a revenue driver with manufacturers and retailers prepping for back-to-school and the previously mentioned end-of-year. So far this year large merchants have continued to cut back excess inventories and this does not appear to be letting up. 

Compared with the second quarter of 2022, Kuehne + Nagel’s net turnover plummeted by 43% over the same period. A decline in airfreight and ocean demand cut profits by more than half and Kuehne + Nagel unit costs were slashed from the first to second quarter by 14%. A rival to Kuehne + Nagel, DSV A/S, is in a similar predicament with their air and sea division having posted significantly lower volumes compared to a year ago. They have reduced their full-time workforce by 1,900 during the first quarter of this year and logistics employment overall continues to be trimmed. 

The Logistics Managers’ Index, established in 2016, tracks logistics metrics (inventory, warehousing, and transportation) coupled with the responses of 100 + professionals on the direction and movement of key logistics metrics. They then release a corresponding monthly report and June 2023 marked the lowest point in the history (6.5 years) of the index.

While ocean shipping volumes remain suppressed for DVS and others, if consumer demand improves airfreight could pick up. The DVS earnings outlook had improved slightly as significant worsening is not expected. But all of this does not bode well for 2023. 

 

NaVCIS section 321 freight-forwarders shippers carrier newtrul technology port ship4wd lane

Ship4wd Changes Freight Industry Standards for SMBs with New $10,000 Instant Credit Line, Ability to Pay for Shipments 90 Days After Arrival, Secure Online Checkouts

Small and medium-sized enterprises receive unprecedented access to instant $10,000 credit lines* and in-platform secure online payment options offering credit card and online bank transfers (ACH Debit) with the ability to pay up to 90 days from the cargo delivery date

Ship4wd, a leading global digital freight forwarding solution platform, today announced an industry first-of-its-kind financial services offering with the debut of three new financing and payment features, addressing one of the most prominent issues small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) importers and exporters are facing today—cash flow management, a challenge often considered the glass ceiling for growth to many SMBs. As economic headwinds continue to surge, SMBs continue to battle significant financial friction that poses a roadblock to their growth and long-term sustainability. With its new financing solutions, Ship4wd is the first and only digital freight forwarder to create a comprehensive online financial solution specifically designed to combat decades of disparities in the sector. 

With this announcement, Ship4wd becomes the first and only freight forwarder that will grant SMB importers and exporters an instant $10,000 USD credit line*. Furthermore, the company has launched a ‘buy now, pay later’ offer that enables SMBs to pay for shipments up to 90 days after delivery. Combined, these financial offerings provide unprecedented and much-needed cash flow relief for SMBs that are typically required to prepay for global shipments, tying up much-needed finances for extended periods of time. Additionally, to make payments easy, Ship4wd new offering will enable online digital checkouts that provide business owners the ability to pay with a credit card or direct debit (ACH debit) similar to any other online purchase—a significant shift for an industry otherwise heavily reliant on a paper trail of documentation. 

Ship4wd ensures its customers—no matter their size—receive a timely, cost-accurate, and properly documented journey for all general cargo categories. The new services are in partnership with 40Seas, a best-in-class financial services platform built to bring B2B payments and cross-border trade financing into the digital era, and include a series of new offerings, such as:

  • Financing for Small and Mid-sized Businesses—Instant $10,000 USD Credit Lines*: Ship4wd is enabling small and mid-sized businesses- which typically face being underbanked or unbanked- greater opportunity to compete and thrive amidst today’s economic climate as the first freight forwarder offering instant $10,000 credit lines* – subject to meeting eligibility conditions- for those who register on the global shipping platform. Ship4wd recognizes access to credit is often a lifeline for business owners to grow—allowing them to order more inventory, invest in marketing, enhance customer service, or allocate funds to other aspects of their operations—which is why the company has introduced this credit line* financing service in hopes of revolutionizing and sparking a movement across the industry. Ship4wd is changing industry standards not only by granting instant access to a credit line* upon registration but also with no pre-payments, no collateral, and no guarantee required from the business. Business owners will also be able to request additional credit. 

 

  • ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’—Flexibility of Paying Up to 90 days From Delivery Date: Ship4wd has launched a freight forwarding financial solution called ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ that allows companies the flexibility of paying up to 90 days from the delivery date, turning the tide on an antiquated prepayment model. Among the most prominent problems small and mid-sized businesses face when importing or exporting goods is managing cash flow—an issue that intensifies due to commonly held international shipping standards that require SMBs to pay before their cargo even sets sail. SMBs who take advantage of Ship4wd’s ‘Buy Now, Pay Later,’ feature will be rewarded with a competitive edge against those who continue to prescribe to outdated practices or a “this is how I’ve always done things” mentality.

 

  • Secure Online Payments and Checkout—Simple Credit Card Payments and Online Bank Transfers (e.g. ACH Debit) for All Shipments: Customers can now access the majority of banks across the U.S. and Canada or leverage all major credit cards to complete their transactions through Ship4wd’s platform. This digitization marks a significant shift in the shipping and logistics industry that has traditionally required business owners to utilize paper checks and outside banking vendors. Through Ship4wd’s secure online payments and checkout, business owners can pay with credit card, direct debit (ACH debit), or online bank transfers for each of their shipments. 

A part of ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. (NYSE: ZIM), Ship4wd provides enhanced solutions through a full-service dashboard so business owners can make more informed decisions; time savings with quicker turnaround of guaranteed price quotes, comparisons, and bookings; and 24/7 one-click access to live expert support and industry insiders throughout the entire process. 

For more information, please visit www.ship4wd.com

freight

How Is Digital Freight Forwarding Transforming the Industry?

The freight industry has been forced to evolve, particularly as consumer spending habits have shifted in recent decades. Thanks to the internet, people can buy things from across the world and receive them quickly. That’s even more likely to happen with the use of digital freight forwarding platforms from industry professionals. Learn more about what digital freight forwarding is and how it has impacted the industry so far.

What Is Digital Freight Forwarding?

Digital freight forwarding involves using apps, databases, web platforms and similar tools to facilitate the movement, import and export of clients’ goods. It can include tracking shipments, improving communications between relevant parties, maintaining a paperless system for signing and keeping documents, coordinating steps and services between companies and more. 

This method brings numerous advantages, including more efficient, highly accurate shipments. Those outcomes can help companies increase competitiveness and react more decisively to challenging circumstances. 

However, it takes time and money to implement digital freight forwarding well. That’s why this approach is becoming more widespread but still hasn’t been adopted by all companies in the industry. Plus, people need time to adapt to most changes, so decision-makers may not see the expected benefits immediately. Those realities aside, digital freight forwarding makes good business sense for many of the organizations utilizing it. 

What is digital freight forwarding in a long-term sense? Many experts see it as the future and something decision-makers must pursue to keep up with peers. 

Promoting Better Productivity

Freight forwarders have detail-oriented jobs and they frequently deal with factors that are not wholly within their control. That reality requires these professionals to be excellent problem-solvers and remain flexible in uncertain situations. However, using a digital freight forwarding platform can reduce the number of issues cropping up in a given day. 

A 2023 survey found that focusing on digitalizing specific processes could have notable benefits. The best outcomes came when people used online marketplaces to source partners and equipment, live chat features to negotiate terms and conditions and container-tracking features to get live estimated arrival times. Together, those resources allowed people to save four working days per month or more than eight hours every week. 

Another takeaway was that online marketplaces allow freight forwarders to find partners in only 5-10 minutes. That means they save 170 minutes per new partner compared to those not using digital tools. 

Manual payments represent significant time spent, too. A third of people responding to the survey said each transaction takes approximately 10 minutes. Another 20% of those polled expressed frustrations while following up with people regarding manual payments. However, digital tools can speed up all aspects of the process, whether finalizing a transaction or providing an easily accessible record of everything that has happened. 

What is digital freight forwarding doing for companies’ employment needs? When organizations use modern platforms well, they may find they can complete the same duties with fewer people. That’s especially helpful when the workload ramps up and a company cannot feasibly hire more team members right away. 

Offering Better Visibility

A digital freight forwarding platform also makes it easier for people to see precisely where individual shipments are within the supply chain. Such insights give freight leaders more confidence because they can provide customers with the service they want and expect. 

In one case, a partnership between FourKites and Spotos brought predicted estimated arrival times and real-time location information to European customers. Since the content spanned shipments on the move or once they reached a stop, clients could get the details throughout the whole transit route. 

The platform also includes temperature-tracking data for perishable goods, such as medicines and produce. When people can get assurances that those products will arrive safely at their destinations in sellable condition, they’ll protect the bottom line and avoid preventable waste. 

When someone achieves improved visibility by using a digital freight forwarding platform, they can also prevent issues like fraud that could otherwise derail their business if undetected. Scammers pull off one of the most common forms of freight fraud by posing as legitimate entities. In other cases, they target specific professionals and pretend to be them, often taking over their phone lines and email addresses to do so. These criminals typically disappear as soon as they secure payment from victims. 

No single technology can prevent fraud. However, some can go a long way in thwarting it. For example, freight forwarders are working with technology companies to build blockchain tools. Those products provide an unalterable record of items and everyone associated with them. Brands dealing with luxury or in-demand offerings also use the blockchain to prove a product’s authenticity. 

Enhancing Operations

Professionals in this industry must think on their feet and track numerous trends to keep their businesses successful. The great thing about using a freight forwarding platform is that it helps people stay organized and responsive by giving them the reliable information they need. 

For example, staying on top of changes in freight forwarding indexes helps people understand how much it may cost to ship or buy specific goods. Labor disputes and inclement weather are two of the many factors that have caused recent pricing shifts. However, when people have real-time tools to track those changes, they’ll know the right times to find shipping partners and get goods moving. 

The digital documentation provided by many modern tools is also a significant money-saver. Estimates suggest electronic bills of lading could cause a $6.5 billion reduction in direct costs while facilitating up to $40 billion in global trade. Despite those benefits, many companies still use paper-based recordkeeping. That’s problematic for many reasons, including the fact that paperwork could get lost or damaged. 

What is digital freight forwarding doing to support better communications? Today’s platforms allow people to see a shipment’s real-time location through dedicated apps. Then, there’s no need to spend time writing an email or waiting on hold during a phone call to get the latest details. 

A new digital offering from DHL allows customers to only receive alerts about the events most important to them. They can also get those notifications as a daily digest rather than in real time. These options mean it’s easier for people to get the necessary information without getting distracted. They’ll streamline their operations as a result. 

Using a Digital Freight Forwarding Platform Is Good for Business

There are many reasons why people should strongly consider adopting a digital freight forwarding platform sooner than later. Doing so can help them get accurate information about shipments while avoiding slowdowns, cost increases and other unwanted events. 

transfix container ocean freight ASIA mycarrierpackets

Freight Forwarders: Amidst Container Surplus, Good Time to Buy Containers, Enter Smaller Trade Routes and Avoid Detention Charges with SOCs  

Container xChange, an online container logistics platform, has published its annual ‘shipper-owned containers (SOCs) undercover study’ today. The report throws light on how SOCs are fitting into the overall container sourcing strategy for global shippers and freight forwarders, considering the sliding consumer confidence and eventually, free-falling shipping rates in 2023.

The report studies the real quotes offered by top 50 global carriers to arrive at a comparison of how SOC (shipper owned containers) vs COC (carrier owned containers) rates fare eventually for freight forwarders.  While the prices for COCs continue to free fall owing to declining demand and an influx of new build containers; SOCs still help in two key areas for freight forwarders – one, to avoid demurrage and detention charges (and other hidden costs) which is expected to increase this year as the newly build containers will enter the market and second, to add reliability and control in the container inventory mix. Especially when shipping against the container flow.

The report highlights that out of the 50 carriers that we reached out to, 42% responded. Out of the carriers who responded, 82% were able to offer both SOC and COC container moves.

Furthermore, some respondents showed a lack of cross-collaboration and well-rounded knowledge, with a few only caring about the container and not considering the ocean freight aspect.

Moreover, carriers are becoming less and less accepting of email correspondence, because they “have made considerable progress in [their] digital landscape and capabilities” as well as to “ensure that all [their] customers enjoy an improved experience.

“As the market adapts, SOCs will continue to thrive, and the movement of goods will continue. The drop in pickup charges is also a good sign, and building online booking systems for SOCs is an area of interest for development.” speaking on the future of SOCs, Adrian Degode, Senior Product Engineer, Container xChange, said.

In a recent webinar hosted by Container xChange to launch the report, a strong panel of experts discussed the SOC market and market opportunities.

“From an NVOCC perspective, the biggest advantage we find for SOCs is that its priced highly competitively, and we can successfully eliminate the detention charges risk, especially in the US and Canada side. With the current situation of yard congestions caused by chassis shortage, and not being able to secure return appointments with carriers on the normal COC procedures, SOCs offer ease of mind when it comes to holding off containers longer than necessary,” commented Wilson Le from Pudong Prime, Vietnam

At the webinar, it was noted that the surplus has sparked changes in container supplier operations, and a growing trend of Shipping Operating Containers (SOCs) managing the excess inventory.

“The containers are still in demand on the internal market and the containers are still used for the shipping sector. What’s really changed is the place where these containers are in demand. And so mainly, the way it affects us is the volumes that we must move, of course” added Francisco Portela, Global Repositioning Manager, Silver Sea, a Container supplier based in Barcelona, Spain. A good idea for said move might be to invest in containers, Francisco thinks: “Of course, one of the points from the excess of containers worldwide means there’ll be more places containers to buy containers from, and at better prices.”

Furthering the opportunities for freight forwarders, Alfonso Vassalo – Founder & CEO – Tagustainer, a container trader, said, “in moving COC containers even more, operational costs will become more expensive. And depots are charging; I would guess they’ll double what they would usually charge to balance out money lost amidst the rate war. And that they’ll start to sustain their profits by increasing D&D charges, and that’s really where we can help our customer with SOCs. In addition, SOCs have always been older historically. But with this sudden surplus, container traders will now be able to buy and provide younger containers” which of course is attractive for longevity.

However, let’s not forget the hurdles that come with SOC management at present: “It is the time-consuming process of booking SOCs. Communication with freight forwarders is essential from the beginning of the booking process to avoid back-and-forth emails and phone calls. Traders must understand the requirements of the freight forwarders, such as the need for the CSC certificate or any required year of manufacture, to provide a more precise and efficient response.” Afonso adds.

In conclusion, the container industry is reacting to address the surplus equipment and price volatility. Companies must be adaptable to these changes to remain competitive and should focus on diversifying their markets while keeping an eye on domestic demand. Additionally, customers are increasingly seeking more visibility into container prices, availability, and demand to prepare for times of uncertainty.

To download the report, visit: Container xChange Annual SOC Survey Report 2023. To listen to the webinar, visit: Let’s talk SOCs: Market research, trends and advice for 2023

 SOC report by Container xChange methodology

Just like in previous years, we set up a company looking to move ocean freight. We acted as a freight forwarder who wanted to move wood logs between Ningbo and Europe (or other parts of the world, depending on where the branch we contacted was).   We asked each carrier for both SOC and COC rates to compare. We reached out to the 50 biggest carriers during the period of 15 December 2022 – 15 January 2023.

About Container xChange

Container xChange is the leading online platform for container logistics that brings together all relevant companies to book and manage shipping containers as well as to settle all related invoices and payments.

The neutral online platform…

  1. connects supply and demand of shipping containers and transportation services with full transparency on availability, pricing and reputation,
  2. simplifies operations from pickup to drop-off of containers,
  3. and auto-settles payments in real-time for all your transactions to reduce invoice reconciliation efforts and payment costs.

Currently, more than 1500+ vetted container logistics companies trust xChange with their business—and enjoy transparency through performance ratings and partner reviews. Unlike limited personal networks, excel sheets and emails you rely on, Container xChange gives its users countless options to book and manage containers, move faster with confidence and increase profit margins.

 

freight broker

Customs Broker vs. Freight Forwarder: What’s the Difference?

The terms ‘customs broker’ and ‘freight forwarder’ can both seem confusing. Not to mention the fact that, just by their names, the two jobs seem to overlap! However, there are important nuances here, and both jobs are unique. To learn exactly why and how keep reading our guide on customs broker vs. freight forwarder: what’s the difference?

 The job of a freight forwarder

Organizing the details of your logistics

The first task of freight forwarders is to help you manage the details of your logistics. To a somewhat surprising extent, at that. They can help their clients organize bulk shipments by consolidating smaller ones and help alleviate warehousing and fulfillment stress. They go over insurance costs for your freight and even manage other freight expenses on your behalf. In other words, all the annoying minutiae which typically require dedicated employee teams to handle your hired freight forwarder can step in! That makes them ideal for new and small businesses that cannot afford to have a dedicated team for this yet. That is the first difference between a customs broker vs. freight forwarder since the former does not offer such in-depth services.

 Arranging transportation of goods

The second task that a freight forwarder would tackle would be arranging the best mode of transportation for your goods. The process goes like this: first, you provide the freight forwarder with your requirements. Such as how large your shipments need to be, how quickly they need to arrive at their destination, how much you are willing to spend on transportation, etc. With that data, the freight forwarder then looks at all the options available, including land, ocean, and air transport, and picks the ideal choice for you. That frees you of annoying considerations such as ocean freight vs. air freight shipping for your business. Naturally, the freight forwarder also arranges the details with the carrier, so you don’t need to worry about that!

 Dealing with the paperwork trail

The final thing that a freight forwarder helps with is paperwork! And this is likely to be the most significant selling point for many businesses. Paperwork takes a lot of time and knowledge to handle, and any mistakes can be costly. Well, a freight forwarder will handle all the documentation needed to get your cargo where it needs to be. The latter also handles customs documents in a slight overlap of customs broker vs. freight forwarder. However, they also handle port, airport, and booking documents. That gives them a much broader scope of services than a customs broker.

 The job of a customs broker

Legal representation and advice

The first task of a customs broker is to represent you and offer you legal advice. In other words, they can handle all the work required for your shipments to fully conform to the rules of the governments you are involved with. That is invaluable since even if you become an expert in logistics, laws frequently differ between countries, and keeping track of them all. At the same time, you do international import and export can be complicated. Notably, your customs broker also keeps track of the latest changes in regulations that are pertinent to you and both assists you with complying and informs you of them.

 Handling customs costs

Interestingly, a customs broker frees you from worrying about duties upfront. They are cleared to pay them on your behalf and then bill you later. Of course, if you set up a clearinghouse account and authorize them, they can also pay directly from it and circumvent any complications. Your customs broker does charge you for an annual user fee and a status report, but their handling of duty costs more than makes this worth it! A customs broker will also refund you if you have overpaid duties, meaning that it frequently pays off to have them on retainer in a literal sense!

 Supervisions of goods and paperwork

As mentioned previously, there is a slight overlap in what a customs broker vs. freight forwarder does. And this is seen in that both are in charge of the paperwork related to their work. A customs broker will manage all documents required to legalize your goods’ import and export. They also store and keep those transaction documents for up to five years on your behalf. However, customs brokers are also frequently in charge of supervising the customs process. By this, we mean they’ll monitor the goods through customs and check that all regulations are correctly adhered to. They are also there to offer consultation on any problems that can pop up during the clearance process.

Deciding on a customs broker vs. freight forwarder

Now that you’ve gone over your guide on ‘customs broker vs. freight forwarder: what’s the difference?’, it should be clear to you that they are, in essence, two very different jobs. A freight forwarder is there to help you with pretty much every aspect of your logistics. Hiring a freight forwarder will be invaluable for anyone struggling to handle all the work associated with them. On the other hand, a customs broker is invaluable for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the problems and legalities of international shipping. They are highly specialized, but they can efficiently perform their job to exact specifications. Ultimately, it is not fair to say you should pick either a freight forwarder or a customs broker. If you need their services and can handle the associated costs, it is frequently intelligent to hire both!

 Author Bio

Felipe Felson is an experienced freight forwarder, warehouse manager, and logistics specialist who works closely with Next Stop Movers experts. His experience in the field and extensive legal education allow him to handle any task that comes his way. And he likes to share advice on topics he’s specialized in through his excellent guest blog posts!

freight broker tai group

A Prominent Freight Forwarder Faces Impending Layoffs

Just a year ago, Flexport, a technology-forward freight services provider, was rolling. They had raised a significant round of new funding bringing the company’s valuation to $8 billion. Amid the dash to digitize operations at logistics tech startups, Flexport took full advantage of its position in the market. In fact, during the first three quarters of 2021, supply-chain technology startups raised an impressive $24.3 billion. This represented a 58% increase over all of 2020. In short, a boom for the supply-chain tech industry. 

Fast-forward to a year later and the freight forwarder is now cutting 20% of its global workforce. That’s quite a turn of events. Co-chief executives Dave Clark and Ryan Petersen cite falling shipping demand as the principal cause behind the layoff of 600 plus workers. In addition to falling demand, however, improved efficiencies over the operational and organizational levels also resulted in a bloated workforce that was overstaffed. 

Flexport operates across 19 offices and 6 warehouses worldwide. The San Francisco-based company employs just over 3,000 people and has effectively lowered its volume forecasts for 2023. The middle of 2022 was the first sign for many that inflation would be taking a significant toll on consumer demand. Retailers across sectors have been contracting and pulling back from their earlier inventory restocking plans. 

The International Air Transport Association estimated that global airfreight demand contracted by 13.7% last November. The Baltic Air Freight Index (produced by TAC Index Ltd.) revealed airfreight prices worldwide fell 33% over the past year. On the maritime side, US container imports are declining with inbound December 2022 volumes at their lowest since June 2020. Business surged during the pandemic and US freight broker C.H. Robinson Worldwide estimates that too many people had been hired across the larger shipping sector. One of the largest logistics operators, Expeditors International of Washington, just had its earnings estimate lowered in response to a challenging air and ocean-forwarding market. 

Flexport is seeking a more agile future. They will be adding distribution and trucking services that will move the firm more towards a solution-based provider as opposed to just a freight forwarder. They estimate adding up to 400 software engineers to facilitate this shift. Flexport had doubled its revenue in 2021 to an impressive $3.2 billion having moved approximately $19 billion in merchandise across 112 countries. The 2022 revenue estimates were close to $5 billion but have yet to be reported.  

 

   

 

china

WebCargo, China Southern Air Logistics becomes First Chinese Carrier to Offer China Import eBookings

China Southern Air Logistics unlocks instant Chinese import bookings for freight forwarders worldwide. Carriers on WebCargo now account for over 50% of air cargo capacity, with connections to over 10,000 forwarding offices on platform. 

China Southern Air Logistics, the cargo arm of China Southern Airlines, is partnering with WebCargo, the leading digital booking and payments platform, to offer forwarders real-time rates, capacity, and eBookings. Shipments originating in China represent one of the largest segments of global air cargo trade, accounting for 7.3 million metric tons of a global 65.7 million metric tons1. Forwarders around the world, including the 3,500 freight forwarders in over 10,000 offices that already use WebCargo, will gain direct access to China Southern’s leading coverage into this key region. 

These forwarders will also benefit from WebCargo’s combination of real-time booking with digital payments, helping forwarders quickly begin booking and reconciling payments with China Southern Air Logistics, as well as other carriers.  

About China Southern Air Logistics 

Being the cargo arm of China Southern Airlines, China Southern Air Logistics undertakes all cargo business from the parent company. 

Currently, China Southern Air Logistics operates 14 B777 freighters with more than 60 flights per week, flying from Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Chongqing to Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Expanding its freighter fleet in the near future, the company plans to launch more international freighter routes from China to major cities in the world. 

Ranking among top 5 in terms of aircraft fleet in the world, China Southern’s well-developed belly network has enabled China Southern Air Logistics to provide extensive belly capacity covering China, radiating throughout Asia, linking Europe, America, Oceania, and Africa. With more than 880 aircraft and 1000 plus flight routes, the Air Logistics company can carry cargo and mail to over 170 destinations around the globe. 

China Southern Air Logistics’ product portfolio includes CZ-Speed for express cargo, CZ-Special for specialized service, CZ-Exclusive for customized solutions, CZ-Transfer for diversified transfer options, and CZ-standard for general cargo. Its dedicated cargo team is always ready to offer quality service to meet customer needs. 

About WebCargo, a Freightos Group Company 

WebCargo is the most advanced digitization platform for logistics service providers. 

WebCargo Air is the leading platform for live air cargo rate distribution and bookings between hundreds of airlines and 3,500+ forwarders across over 10,000 forwarding offices. Partners using fully digital eBooking and rate distribution on WebCargo include over 30 airlines, including American Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Etihad Cargo, Air France KLM, IAG Cargo, SAS, Qatar Airways, El Al, and Emirates SkyCargo. Freight forwarders can access dynamic capacity, pricing, and eBooking by signing up for free at webcargo.co.

WebCargo joined the Freightos Group in 2016. The Freightos Group also operates freightos.com, the world’s largest digital freight platform for the trillion-dollar international shipping industry, and the Freightos Baltic Index, the only daily container index, in collaboration with the Baltic Exchange. 

Founded by serial entrepreneur Zvi Schreiber, Freightos is a logistics technology pioneer with a worldwide presence, and has raised over $120 million from leading venture funds, including GE Ventures, Aleph and the Singapore Exchange. In June 2022, Freightos announced that it would merge with GESHER I (Nasdaq: GIAC) with the intent of going public on the Nasdaq (FROS).