#3: Ownership from Pickup Through Delivery
When you’re moving freight to and from Kauaʻi, there are a number of different providers who get involved along the way. In even the simplest scenario, there’s the trucking company that does the pickup at the origin, the steamship line that handles the ocean freight, and the trucking company that does the delivery at the destination. You could hire all these providers yourself, or you could hire a freight forwarder to coordinate all of these pieces for you.
- Some freight forwarders are asset-based, meaning that they own their own warehouses, run their own fleets, and employ their own delivery teams.
- Other operations use agents, which essentially means that they contract out pieces of the journey.
When everything goes well, you might not notice a difference. However, when there’s a problem—and a freight forwarder makes extensive use of agents—it can make issues of responsibility unclear.
- If a shipment gets damaged, it’s hard to know exactly which party is responsible unless you can track down exactly when the damage occurred—during pickup, ocean transit, or delivery, for example.
- If a shipment arrives incomplete or incorrect, again, you’ll need to know exactly where the problem occurred. Did the trucking company miss a pallet at the origin point, or did a pallet get left at a warehouse along the way?
- If a shipment doesn’t arrive when it’s supposed to, who’s at fault? With a bunch of carriers in the mix, it’s tough to track down the responsible party.
However, if you’re working with an asset-based provider, it’s easier to get to the bottom of any challenges, since your project will largely be executed by that provider’s own network of drivers and teams.
Along those same lines, it’s important to ask your provider whether they’ll take ownership of your shipment from origin to destination. Even if they do contract out a portion of the project, can they still get you timely updates? And, more importantly, if something goes wrong, will they track down the problem? Or will that responsibility fall to you? Ideally, you’ll want to find a provider who’s willing to give you a single point of contact to manage your shipment from start to finish.
Asking questions in this arena will help you pick a provider who’s willing to take responsibility for your shipment from stem to stern. If anything goes awry, it can save you some serious hassle.