You may be surprised to learn that not every business is willing to ship to certain places or countries in this day and age. It’s hard to imagine but this is sadly still a reality, and then of during course sales or exchanges between private persons, most sellers will most certainly not go through all the trouble of packing your purchase and having it send half way across the world to you.
There is still hope and this is evident through the rising popularity of freight forwarders, also sometimes calls forwarders, forward agents or more formally as non-vessel operating common carriers-NVOCCs. Well essentially these freight forwarders simply arrange for goods to get from one place to another, such as a manufacturer to the client. This is perhaps a dramatic oversimplification of the long list of services which they could offer you.
The type of freight forwarding agent or their speciality
Depending on the type of freight forwarding agent or their speciality, they could arrange for collection, transportation and shipping of goods, in addition to preparation of required paperwork when shipping items out of a specific country or to your specific country. For smaller clients however you could also arrange with such an agent for storage of parcels and goods in their specific region or country and when several items have accrued over time they can ship every together as one parcel to your desired address.
These types of transactions can vary in nature as some agents will be more flexible while other can be quite rigid with the list of services offered or the manner in which they are offered. Mostly you would have access to a variety of shipping methods, which could include aeroplanes, trucks, trains and private courier vehicles, each of course with its own cost.
Cost and fees
Additionally you should expect to cover the cost of documentation or handover fees, in addition to the actually shipping and storage fees which you might incur. What makes these agents so unique is that many of them will have forwarding locations, offices or partner companies in most major cities around the world which means that if you need to do business in multiple locations one agent would most likely be able to take care of all your logistical needs.
Another unique feature of their services is that most freight forwarding agents are more approachable and more flexible than bigger companies, which means that you can discuss unique requirements you may have and together come up with feasible solutions, which many bigger companies don’t have available to smaller buyers.
However, as with most things in life, quality usually costs. Often we can be easily taken in by low shipping or storage rates but this does not necessarily mean that your items will arrive in a time or safe manner. Because you will in most cases not meet with the agent in person, or the agent will not have a local branch in your country it may be wise to first check out the company before entrusting them with your valuable goods.