With over 1500 freight forwarders in the UK, you may find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing which company to trust your logistics with. At KMB, we’ve put together a few tips to help you avoid confusion and make the journey as smooth as possible.

PROVEN TRACK RECORD

This one might seem like common sense, but as the freight forwarding industry is not regulated in the UK, the length of time a company has been trading is a good indication of their success. As with any business, happy customers equal repeat customers, so if a freight forwarder has been around for decades rather than months, chances are they know what they’re doing.

SUITABLE INSURANCE

You wouldn’t go abroad yourself without insurance, so why would you risk sending your goods abroad without it? Ensure the freight forwarder you select has public liability insurance and a freight forwarders liability policy as bare minimum. You may also consider one with professional indemnity insurance too, though this is not compulsory in the sector.

RELIABILTY

Isn’t this a no-brainer, I hear you ask? In theory, yes, but there are other factors to take into account when considering reliability. Sometimes, delays can happen. As forwarders are dependent on a supply chain to deliver their service to you the customer, we sometimes experience unexpected delays due to circumstances beyond our control, such as unpredictable weather conditions. What makes a freight forwarder reliable is their ability to keep these instances to a bare minimum, and to keep the customer informed every step of the way, from the moment they become aware of the delay, to the point where the goods arrive safely at their destination. With good communication, you can be assured that your forwarder has done everything in their power to minimise the delay for you.

TRUST

Linked to reliability, the issue of trust comes from a lengthy relationship with your freight forwarder, with good communication and proven success. As well as placing trust in your forwarder, trust your own instincts too. If you’re speaking to a freight forwarder who is vague, elusive, always unavailable and never return your calls, that may ring some alarm bells in your mind. Communication is key, so choose a company you feel comfortable with, who are friendly and approachable and most importantly, easy to get hold of!

PROFESSIONAL ACCREDITATIONS

Professional accreditations can be a great way to assess a freight forwarder’s proficiency. The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is the trade association for UK registered freight companies, providing forwarders the opportunity to trade under their Standard Trading Conditions. As freight forwarders must first satisfy the BIFA criteria before they can be eligible for membership, it gives customers the satisfaction of knowing their forwarder has already been vetted by a reputable trade organisation. Similarly, you can ask your forwarder if they are members of business organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce. Generally speaking, such organisations promote best business practices which any reputable freight forwarder will adhere to.

ISO Certification

This is an accreditation that companies can gain to show they operate within globally recognised management standards. Almost like a seal of approval, they provide assurance that the business you are dealing with is credible, and will meet your expectations.

EXPERTS IN THE MARKET PLACE

Does your freight forwarder know what they’re talking about? An expert will keep up-to-date with industry news and be able to offer helpful advice on how to improve the efficiency of your business rather than just looking to make a quick profit. Company websites, social media and blogs can be a good indication of this, so feel free to check these out when you’re doing your research.  Alternatively, you can start a topical discussion yourself. If you hear the words “Brexit who?”, hang up immediately.

KMB Shipping has 30 years’ experience in delivering our full range of shipping services to over 70 different countries, to a growing international client list. As members of BIFA, we offer a flexible and fully tailored service, managing the whole shipping process for you from initial phone call to safe delivery. Contact our professional, friendly and highly experienced team today to discuss how we can accommodate your shipping requirements.