A very common question in the industry is if one needs an FF number. The answer to that question is quite simple. If you are a freight forwarder you need an FF number. Otherwise, you cannot operate without one.
A Freight Forwarder is a company that specializes in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers.
A freight forwarder typically provides a full range of services including: tracking inland transportation, preparation of shipping and export documents, warehousing, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims.
Freight forwarders usually ship under their own bills of lading and their agents or associates at the destination provide document delivery. Basically, a freight forwarder is a company that arranges your importing and exporting of goods.
Importing and exporting are key components for many lucrative businesses. International shipping could present great business opportunities for you, but may also seem daunting. The process, paperwork, and regulations involved in international trade may seem intimidating. However, you can be a successful international shipper without getting caught up in the logistics of logistics. Which is what a freight forwarder is for, there is a lot that goes into arranging your international shipping. A freight forwarder does not actually move your freight itself. The freight forwarder acts as middle man between a shipper and various transportation services. These services include ocean shipping on cargo ships, trucking, expedited shipping by air freight, and moving goods by rail.
A freight forwarding service also utilizes established relationships with carriers, from air freighters and trucking companies, to rail freighters and ocean liners. This is in order to negotiate the best possible price to move shippers’ goods along the most economical route by working out various bids and choosing the one that best balances speed, cost, and reliability. Freight forwarders handle the considerable logistics of shipping goods from one international destination to another, a task that would otherwise be a formidable burden for their client.
To comply with export documentation and shipping requirements, many exporters utilize a freight forwarder to act as their shipping agent. The forwarder advises and assists clients on how to move goods most efficiently from one place to another. A forwarder’s extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, regulations, transportation costs and banking practices can ease the exporting process for many companies.