Like many other specialized sectors, companies in the transportation and logistics industry have their own professional organizations. It’s easy to think that these affiliations don’t add up to much more than a series of logos at the bottom of a company website.

However, as a shipper or a potential partner to a freight forwarder, you might be surprised that these professional affiliations actually offer you benefits. Through the networking, educational, and financial opportunities offered by these organizations, freight forwarders are better positioned to deliver:

  • A thoroughly professional experience, with trained and informed experts handling your shipment every step of the way.
  • Seamless pickup, handling, and delivery, even when shipping cargo over long distances.
  • Assistance when there are customs or delivery snags with cargo sent to far-flung destinations.
  • Access to insurance, bonds, and other financial products that protect you from financial loss and keep your cargo moving globally.

If you’re researching freight forwarders, understanding their professional affiliations can offer you another way to vet a potential business partner. We’ll give you a closer look at the kinds of benefits that come with membership in professional organizations, so you can decode those logos you’ll see during your research. We’ll also discuss the organizations Approved is aligned with, so you can see real-life examples of professional affiliation in action.

The Benefits of Membership in Professional Organizations

Freight forwarders, 3PLs, and other transportation organizations join professional organizations for a number of reasons of their own. However, what many don’t realize is that membership in these organizations also benefits parties that work with freight forwarders, including shippers and partners.

Let’s take a closer look at what professional affiliations mean—and what benefits they can deliver.

A Commitment to Professionalism & Longevity

First and foremost, membership in a professional organization is often a sign that a company takes its work seriously. Joining an association is one way of recognizing the importance of professionalism, expertise, standards, and taking pride in one’s craft.

As a result, companies who join professional organizations are usually not fly-by-night operations. After all, membership usually requires a significant investment, one that signals an eye toward the future. Additionally, many professional organizations vet their members to weed out companies without the right level of experience or financial stability, adding yet another layer of credibility to those granted membership.

Bottom Line: As you’re vetting companies, membership in professional organizations can signify a company’s reliability and commitment to the future. In other words, companies with professional affiliations are much less likely to disappear overnight.

Access to a Larger Network of Reliable Partners

In the freight forwarding industry, there are few things more important than having a network of international partners to rely on. After all, if you’re a California-based freight forwarder sending cargo to South Africa, it pays to know the forwarder who’s handling the cargo on the other end—especially if there are any snags in terms of customs or transportation.

Professional organizations open up a network of like-minded and trusted partners to freight forwarders. For example:

Approved Freight Forwarders is a member of WCAworld, an international network of freight forwarders. With members in more than 196 countries, membership in WCAworld means that Approved has access to more than 10,000 trusted partners to assist in handling shipments for clients around the globe.

Bottom Line: Membership in an organization like WCAworld means you can trust that your forwarder has access to the relationships and resources to safely get your package anywhere in the world—and solve any challenges that crop up.

Additionally, Approved is also accredited by the IATA. This accreditation means that we’ve proven our financial and professional competence to IATA, so we can ship cargo on IATA-member flights.

Bottom Line: Membership in IATA means access to more routes, which means more flexibility and more potential solutions for our customers.

Keeps Team Members Informed, Up-to-Date—and Well-Trained

Many professionals get into logistics because it’s a fast-paced environment that’s always changing. In this rapidly-shifting environment, it’s important to keep up to date with global events—and with your skills.

Membership in professional organizations offers companies an easy way to keep their team informed on issues in the transportation industry, as well as global issues that may affect cargo shipments. Additionally, membership also comes with training opportunities that 1) help newer professionals access specialized knowledge to get up to speed and 2) keep experienced professionals sharp.

Bottom Line: Forwarders aligned with professional organizations are likely to be well-informed and well-trained, which means a smooth, seamless experience for shippers and partners alike.

Access to Insurance, Bonds, and Other Business Resources

Professional organizations also offer independent companies the chance to pool their resources to enjoy a significant number of business benefits, including:

  • Financial protection and easy payment options for in-network transactions, which translates to a more seamless experience for shippers.
  • Access to insurance options and bonds for their customers, enabling them to connect shippers with the solutions that reduce financial risk and keep cargo moving.

Bottom Line: Professional organizations often offer financial solutions that ultimately offer shippers greater ease and security while shipping cargo.

Finally, let’s take a quick look at the professional organizations that Approved has joined so you can see some real-world examples of professional organizations in action.

Approved’s Professional Memberships and Affiliations

Approved Freight Forwarders is a member of the DeWitt Companies, a fourth-generation, family-owned group of five sister companies. The DeWitt family has long believed in the importance of professional organizations. Woodrow Wilson “Woody” DeWitt was one of the founders of the Household Goods Forwarders Association of America, now known as the International Association of Movers (IAM). Woody and his son, Richard, were both inducted into the IAM’s Hall of Honor, and continued generations have carried on the DeWitt family tradition of aligning with and serving in professional organizations.

Approved Freight Forwarders currently belongs to the following organizations:

The American Trucking Associations (ATA), the largest and most comprehensive national trade association for the trucking industry. ATA connects Approved with an extensive network of trucking professionals, as well as educational resources to helps us stay on top of trends in the industry.

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the leading global association for supply chain management professionals. In addition to networking opportunities, CSCMP offers research and educational opportunities for our supply chain professionals.

Cargo Network Services (CNS), a subsidiary of IATA that’s dedicated to the air logistics chain. Membership in CNS offers access to educational resources and an online payment system that adds significant ease to air cargo transactions.

International Association of Movers (IAM), the largest global trade association of the moving and forwarding industry. Membership in IAM connects Approved with an international network of trusted forwarding and moving companies, which means seamless service for shippers, even in less-common destinations.

Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), the only organization that represents the combined interests of the intermodal freight transportation industry. IANA membership gives Approved a voice in the conversations shaping the intermodal industry, along with networking and educational opportunities.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) supports aviation with global standards for airline safety, security, efficiency, and sustainability. Approved’s accreditation with IATA allows us to ship cargo on IATA-member airlines, offering our customers greater flexibility for air cargo.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the trade association for retail leaders. As members, Approved takes advantage of RILA’s networking and educational resources to keep the pulse on one of our most vital verticals.

Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), the premier organization for third-party logistics professionals in North America and abroad. Membership keeps Approved connected to potential partners and allows us to maintain a pulse on the industry as a whole.

Transportation Marketing and Sales Association (TMSA), an association for marketing, sales, and communications professionals in transportation and logistics. Our membership in this organization keeps us on the cutting-edge of emerging trends in the industry and offers insights for communicating more effectively with our customers and partners.

WCAworld, the largest logistics network for global freight forwarders. WCAworld connects professional freight forwarders around the world, enabling us to move cargo safely, efficiently, and confidently to nearly 200 countries.

Vetting Your Freight Forwarding Partners

The right freight forwarder can make all the difference—especially when you’re moving cargo regularly. By looking at your potential partners’ professional affiliations, you’ll get another valuable perspective for your vetting process. Along with the other factors you’ll investigate, membership in professional organizations can be a quick way to set candidates apart and move you closer to a final decision.

Looking for a partner to move your cargo? Reach out to one of our experts for a complimentary consultation. We’d be happy to discuss your upcoming shipments to help you come up with a plan that adds ease and simplicity to your supply chain.

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