Ask how long the freight forwarder has been in business

Companies that have offered freight forwarding over many years have been able to develop a reputation in the local market, are well connected and have the influence to ensure your cargo gets loaded on the best routing at the best rates.

FACT:  Overseas Container Forwarding (OCF) has been in business since 1979 and has established long-term relationships with the top carriers.

The range of logistical services offered

Freight forwarders often are generalists in offering multiple modes of transport while not focusing on any one specific area. This lack of specific expertise can result in not having the resources to effectively deal with international shipping challenges.

FACT:  OCF specializes in ocean shipping and value-added services associated with ocean transport. What that means to our customers is that we have the depth in personnel and knowledge in handling all commodities by sea.

Find out how flexible the company will be to suit your individual needs

Typically multinational companies need to set very strict standard operating procedures that all of their clients must fit. This means that there is one and only one procedure for all clients – regardless of need.

FACT:  OCF prides itself on customizing processes tailored to our client’s individual needs. We are flexible and keen to work with our clients to build the best process for long-term success and satisfaction.

Ask if the forwarder has sufficient Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Insurance

Many forwarders have minimal errors and omissions insurance only. Some have nothing at all. Which means if your forwarder makes errors in the handling of your cargo, you are not protected.

FACT:  OCF has full protection through the World’s leading provider of P&I Insurance, The TT Club of London, England. (Link to TT Club Address: http://www.ttclub.com/TTClub/ttclub.nsf/HTML/AboutTT)

Find out if the forwarder can handle only from port-to-port or if they offer door-to-door service

Oftentimes forwarders will rely only on the service of the carrier itself providing no additional services. They book it with the carrier and then leave the rest for you to do yourself. This is common in the industry.

FACT:  OCF offers value-added services related to the entire ocean transportation chain. We can load containers at our container yard, handle the local trucking, arrange customs clearance, and offer you a through Bill of Lading from warehouse to warehouse (or door to door).

The size of the forwarder’s network

A network of agents, who know the local customs and regulations, can arrange smoother delivery of your goods. Some companies do not even have representation at the destination country. This means no local person on the spot to handle problems that often arise.

FACT: OCF is represented with global partners in Asia, Middle East, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa.

For partial or trial shipments, are consolidation services offered?

Very few freight forwarding companies operate their own consolidation service.

FACT:  OCF operates our own consolidation services both domestically and internationally. Your freight is booked, loaded, and handled in-house by an OCF employee. We have our own network of warehouses and agents who have a vested interest in the care of your freight.

Find out how quickly you can get a shipping rate and how competitive that rate is

A larger forwarder may have rates already in place for shipping certain commodities (i.e. logs or lumber) while a smaller forwarder would have to go to the market to search for a rate.

FACT: OCF already handles major moving commodities and so we have contracts already in place and can provide you with a market-competitive rate right over the phone.

Ask about accreditation through Industry Associations

Companies that are actively participating in their industries associations are generally better informed and promote higher standards.

FACT:  OCF is a long standing member of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), International Air Transport Association (IATA),Vancouver Board of TradeBetter Business Bureau, and many others.


Ask about the extent of “self serve” – how much of the paperwork you will have to do yourself

A major trend in the industry is to push customers to get their own rates, do their own bookings, and create their documentation – all online without any personal help.

FACT:  OCF is pleased to say that this is one industry trend we do NOT follow. We work closely with our clients every step of the way. We take care of what we do best so that you can focus on driving your business forward. And we would never allow a machine to answer your calls!