The freight forwarding process can be broken up into 7 key stages, including:
Export haulage – The movement of items from a shipper’s location to the freight forwarders warehouse is called export haulage. This usually requires the help of a truck or train to move the them. How long it takes depends on the distance, geographical location and what the items are. This first stage can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
Items Checkpoint - Immediately following the export haulage stage, freight forwarders receiving the goods will check to see and ensure everything was transported without incidents.
Export customs clearance – the goods receive clearance to leave its country of origin. Before items can be shipped off it requires clearance from the country of origin. This process is performed by customs brokers. They are required to submit details about the cargo and any supporting documents that are needed. Usually, an agreement is established between the shipper and consignee who is responsible for this process. If a freight forwarding company does not offer this service, it is required to find a third-party customs broker service.
Origin handling – the unloading, inspection and validation of the cargo against its booking documents.
Import customs clearance – the customs paperwork for your cargo will be checked by the authorities. Once the shipment arrives, authorities in the destination country are required to check import customs documents. The secret to this stage is that it can begin before the cargo even arrives. It is the responsibility of the freight forwarder or nominated customs broker to perform this clearance by the time the cargo arrives.
Destination handling – the handling of cargo once it reaches the destination office, including transfer to the import warehouse. This stage involves a number of different processes once the cargo arrives. At this point, freight forwarders will receive all documents for the cargo, including outstanding documentation, carrier bills and more. This process is always taken care of by the freight forwarder.
Import haulage – the transfer of cargo from the import warehouse to its final destination. Almost identical to export haulage, this process transports the cargo from the warehouse to the final destination of the intended receiver. This process can be facilitated by freight forwarders or the consignee can choose to collect the cargo themselves.