AJOT Insights

Helping startups succeed: Tips on choosing the right freight forwarder

Nov 12, 2018

By David Goldberg, CEO for DHL Global Forwarding, US

Did you know that according to recent statistics published by Forbes, 9 out of 10 startups will eventually fail? Even though the reasons for failure are complex, they all have one thing in common: not planning ahead and making preventable mistakes. As a company who specializes in air and ocean freight shipments and works with small and large customers worldwide, we know it is fundamental that startups evaluate their performance in all business areas from manufacturing to supply chain management.

Strategic planning and the selection of the right partners and suppliers can do a lot to take the complexity out of starting a business. Today, the digitalized world has simplified the research process even more and has changed the way we do business worldwide.

For example, if you are looking for the appropriate freight forwarder for your company, you have multiple options to choose from; all you need is a Google search to find out more about each of these companies. However, it is important to consider not only what the freight forwarder has to offer and their unique value proposition, but which freight forwarder best fits your business needs. Each business sector will have different priorities, which is why choosing a freight forwarder is not a “one model fits all” decision. For tech startups—which, according to a recent Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) report, have grown at an impressive 47 percent rate in the last decade—it is important to take several factors into consideration when choosing the right freight forwarder:

  • Reliable global network: Choosing a freight forwarder, like DHL, that has established international operations and contacts for custom brokers and forwarding agents is crucial in preventing delays that may result in additional costs.
  • Insurance: Unforeseen natural disasters can occur and planning ahead for potential challenges is important. When choosing a freight forwarder, it is vital that you research insurance policies or shipment value protection services that will cover your cargo in case of damage or loss.
  • Customs brokerage services: Many freight forwarders are also customs brokers who help in preparing and clearing customs for your shipment. This is an important service that you need to consider and can help you navigate the complexities of shipping internationally.
  • Security, certifications and audits: When choosing the right freight forwarder, you should also evaluate whether they hold the right security measures and certifications. For example, you might want to research if the freight forwarder is C-TPAT certified, which will benefit your shipments as the Customs Protection Border (CPB) examinations are fewer and you will have shorter wait times at the border.
  • Specialized service solution offerings: Finally, when choosing the right freight forwarder for your business, you need to consider if they offer tailored service solutions that will effectively adapt to your business model. Tech companies should consider forwarders with partnership with core carriers that can offer a one-stop-shop solution including international Air Freight, Ocean Freight and Domestic services and warehousing capabilities with transport management, if applicable based on inventory demand and levels. Lastly, look for a forwarder with teams familiar with the tech industry and offer end-to-end solutions with the technological capabilities for shipment visibility and track and trace to help in saving time and money.

These tips are not an exhaustive list – there are many considerations that you need to evaluate when choosing the right freight forwarder. To thrive on the world stage, startups need to know how to seek out growth opportunities, how to find key business partners and how to provide great service to customers. As the international logistics leader, DHL aims to keep leading the conversation about how startups can thrive—with help from a global presence in 220 countries.

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