Tips for maintaining a good relationship with your freight forwarder

Maintaining a good relationship with your freight forwarder can help take a lot of the headache out of a stressful freight forwarding process. Whether you are a novice shipper, are looking to switch freight forwarders or are simply interested in ways to enhance your current process, your relationship with your freight forwarder is important. An effectively managed relationship with your freight forwarder can help to reduce your overall shipping costs, improve your transit times, and help you avoid communication problems.

Experiences with freight forwarders vary from excellent to poor; some individuals enjoy fantastic relationships with their freight forwarders while others sadly struggle to maintain some sense of stability due to unfulfilled promises and endless frustrations. After taking your time to find the right freight forwarding service, there are some things that you can do to ensure that your relationship with your freight forwarder is a successful one.

How to ensure a good relationship with your freight forwarder

Understand your roles from the very beginning

Be sure to set and agree on expectations at the very beginning of your partnership with your freight forwarder. A good relationship with a freight forwarder is one that is based on defined roles and responsibilities and set expectations.

Agreeing on these expectations from the very beginning will help you resolve problems because misunderstandings are bound to arise in any freight forwarding partnership. Doing this will also help to set standards that your freight forwarder has to deliver.

Always expect the unexpected

The business of shipping is characterized by ups and downs so inevitably, something is bound to go wrong. Although the fault may not fall on your chosen freight forwarding company, you still need to rely on your freight forwarder for assistance to deal with the problem.

Communicating with your freight forwarder during a crisis can help you mitigate a disaster so that there is less impact on your business. Consider coming up with a game plan with your freight forwarder in the event that a problem affecting your shipment should arise. By expecting the unexpected, you can be able to respond to a problem quickly and the freight forwarder can handle it to your satisfaction.

Allow your shipments to be consistent

If shipping is the primary driving force of your business, it is essential that you maintain a consistent shipping schedule. If you already have one, be completely open and share this information with your freight forwarder. The best freight forwarders set aside consistent schedules to handle these shipments. When you know in advance about the size of shipment you will be shipping, your freight forwarder can then offer you competitive quotes.

Avoid last minute bookings

You should always try your level best to avoid last minute shipments. If you cannot avoid it, you should always expect some trouble such as delays with shipments, lack of space, higher price points, etc to occur. Even the most experienced freight forwarders have trouble finding space on vessels in advance, let alone last minute. This is not to say that last minute shipments always have issues. Realistically speaking, however, it is more than likely that problems will arise.

Manage your documentation

In the logistics sector, the failure or success of a shipment relies largely on proper documentation. Local and foreign customs and guidelines require documents to be filed for a number of purposes. Establishing a management system for your documentation is crucial because, without it, critical documents are bound to go missing, become misinterpreted, issued to the wrong customs agent or supplier, and so on and so forth. Try and establish a process that will enable you to obtain, as well as send documents to your freight forwarder as soon as they are needed to avoid problems.

Approach your relationship like marriage

To guarantee a good relationship with your freight forwarder, always approach it like a marriage. Your relationship with your freight forwarder should be based on long-term gains rather than short-term ones. Chasing the lowest freight quote price for every shipment is not only challenging but it is bound to get you ripped off on freight quote prices more often than you might think.

The best procedures for working with a freight forwarder is to pick one dependable one and include them as part of your logistics team. If you work with a freight forwarder on a per-project basis, it can increase your overall shipping costs, lower your transit speeds and worst of all, you will always have to deal with a freight forwarder that does not understand your preferences or shipping needs, which is never a good thing for any business that intends to thrive.


All reputable forwarders are always willing to help their customers but working with one successfully depends on how good your relationship with your freight forwarder is. A good relationship with a freight forwarder revolves around open communication.

Looking for a freight forwarder?

If you are switching vendors because the last one drove you away, be sure to inform Sidoman about the kind of behaviors or poor service that led to your new circumstance so that the same mistakes are not repeated. Sidoman is all about #MattersLogistics and we have spent years establishing valuable relationships with all our loyal customers.

Every time we get inquiries and opportunities to work with new people on new projects or provide valuable advice, we get excited. If you are looking for a freight forwarder or would like to learn more about how you can work with us, reach out to our team and we will be able to assist you in any way that we can. Contact us today!



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