April 8, 2016
So you are looking for a credible forwarder for your goods in Kenya and are confused by the myriad of potential forwarders in the directory. Where do you start?
In this day and age of advertising, anyone can put up the best advertisement yet low on service. Or they may be a ghost company operating from a briefcase! The nature of freight forwarding depends a lot on mutual trust and communication between the vendor and cargo owner. As the cargo owner, you need to trust that your cargo will get to you in tip top condition as well as regular updates on the status of the shipment from source to its eventual delivery.
To make it a little easier, here are some 11 tips to find a credible logistics partner for your cargo.
- Experience: An experienced freight forwarder is the best bet for your business. Today, there are many modes of transport, commodities, regulations and origin/destinations. All freight forwarders cannot handle all of these combinations. For this reason, ask potential forwarders what experience they have in your type of shipment. Usually they should be able to bring up an example of a similar shipment they handled for someone else.
- Industry & Regulator Approved: A credible freight forwarder is approved to operate by the Kenya customs body i.e. Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and is a member of reputable industry associations such as Kenya Federation of Freight Forwarders (KIFWA) and World Cargo Alliance (WCA). Joining reputable freight forwarding associations requires financial strength, operational efficiency, integrity and many other requirements. If a freight forwarder is a member of a reputable association, the chances of them handling your shipment with care and diligence is higher than if they were not a member. It also shows they have financial strength because there are only a handful of legitimate, quality freight forwarding networks that really vets their members.
- Membership to Global networks: The freight forwarders membership to global networks such as World Cargo Alliance (WCA) works to the advantage of the shipper or cargo owner as they will enjoy the advantage of accessing global markets through a single forwarder and eliminate the need of dealing with multiple vendors with is usually tiring and confusing.
Membership to global networks is key for various shipments and also if there are unforeseen issues in the overseas country such as a port strike, customs issue or other delay. The global partner agent can help smooth out many of these issues.
- Notable achievements and successes: A credible freight forwarder will have notable achievements and successes that are recognized within the industry and beyond. Most credible freight forwarders will be awarded for outstanding performance in the course of doing business.
- One ear to the ground: A credible freight forwarder is well versed on industry operations and is always stays up-to-date with policy and regulation changes that would affect his customers’ shipments. The freight forwarder will also proactively prompt his customers should a new regulation affect his shipment and guide accordingly on compliance with new regulations.
- Experience In Your Industry: A freight forwarder with experience in your specific industry is the best logistics partner. He will proactively advice his customer on preparing the right documentation and payment of the correct taxes thus avoid unnecessary delays.
- Accessibility: A good freight forwarder is easily accessible and responsive through a number of channels. The forwarder operates 24/7/365, providing convenience particularly to those handling shipments in different time zones. A delayed reply could easily result in payment of unnecessary penalties.
- A licenced Approved Economic Operator. A freight forwarder who is a licensed AEO enjoys a number of advantages that benefit his customer. An AEO freight forwarder will experience shorter cargo clearance times as well as fewer delays arising from cargo verification periods. This means, he is able to deliver the cargo to you at the shortest time period as compared to a non AEO freight forwarder.
- ‘Source to doorstep capabilities’: a credible freight forwarder is able to offer his customers’ supplementary logistics services e.g. Transport, warehouse, container freight station etc. A credible freight forwarder offers his customer’s total logistics solutions and spares the customer the risk and headache of exposure to multiple vendors for the additional logistics services required.
- Infrastructure: A credible freight forwarder has invested in sufficient infrastructure to support service delivery. This includes an office, communication equipment and a motivated work force. A forwarder who has invested in running his business is bound to take his business more seriously and easily accessed. A “briefcase” with no permanent address is a risk as he can ‘disappear’ when your cargo is in the course of clearance thus leading to cargo losses.
- Communication – a credible freight forwarder provides regular update in the course of handling your cargo. The freight forwarder is available on various channels and provides accurate and up to date status on customer shipment. The update in writing and verbally
With 30 years’ experience in various industries Siginon Global Logistics is your best bet in logistics in Kenya. Our presence in Mombasa, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania ensure that our customers experience world class service in customs clearance, warehousing, transport, air freight and sea freight. Siginon Global logistics is a member of World Cargo Alliance (WCA) and is able to access over 3000 global forwarders to collect and deliver cargo from almost any part of the world. Siginon Global Logistics is your cost effective, professional, credible and experienced logistics partner.