Freight Forwarders & Couriers: Differences & Customers’ Rights

Freight Forwarders & Couriers: Differences & Customers’ Rights

If you are thinking about joining the freight or courier industry, among the things you should first learn about are the laws that govern them or the basic rules you have to conform to. Laws can differ in every location, especially from one country to another, so it’s worth taking time to learn about them so as to avoid breaking any one of them and face major consequences for your business. In this article, we zero in on freight forwarding and couriers.

Here’s the basic outline of the differences between a freight forwarder and a courier company:

The Freight Forwarder

The major difference between a freight forwarder and a courier company is that the former outsources the manpower needs, while the courtier company would directly employ staff – drivers, office staff and controllers. This means the freight forwarder needs to have a network of third-party providers in order to fulfil orders, while the courier company also needs a network of carriers to facilitate some operations.

Trade Partners

The freight forwarder doesn’t deal with the general public, rather they hire their services to businesses, such as courier companies and wholesalers who are importing goods. Basically, the freight forwarder provides some of the services for a single operation, especially when international services are required.

The Courier

The courier service would focus on small businesses, such as e-commerce, for whom they provide a comprehensive service that includes picking, packing and delivery. The courier would sometimes work with the freight forwarder when international consignments are required, which would be done on a job-by-job basis. The Perth taxi trucks or any courier company in different parts of the world usually offer a same-day delivery service. This type of service is slightly more expensive than the regular delivery that might take a couple of days. This is a very popular way for e-commerce businesses to deliver products to locally based customers, as the 3PL company picks, packs and delivers.

Specialised Handling

If you have valuable or delicate cargo, you might prefer to deal with a courier rather than a freight forwarder, as the courier handles the consignment all the way, while the freight forwarder outsources the handling to third-party providers. Therefore, the freight forwarder relies on the reputation of other handlers, while the courier company relies totally on their own staff, who are directly employed. This critical difference tends to push customers to the courier rather than the freight forwarder.

It is, of course, crucial that the cargo is delivered in good time and that is very much down to the courier or freight forwarder to ensure smooth completion of the delivery. Most e-commerce businesses outsource their picking, packing and delivery to a 3PL company, which takes away all the logistics pressure and places it firmly in the hand of the 3PL company.

The Basic Rules

Under Australian law or most of the laws around the world, customers are given the right to demand free repair of damaged goods, replacement or even a refund.

The basic principle when it comes to shipping is that, when people pay you to supply them the goods and services you promise, you have to comply within the time you have specified. If you have not stated any time for delivery, you have to get the goods and services to your customer within a reasonable time, with all the factors affecting delivery being considered. Failure to do so would have you break the Australian Consumer Law, which would deem the acceptance of payment as illegal. There are, however, exemptions to the law, and these include:

– Cause of failure of delivery is beyond the company’s control. This includes accidents.

– If the company already took every possible measure of caution and precaution to ensure the product reaches their customers.

Which Is Right For You?

If your cargo is of high value or fragile, you are advised to contact a courier company, which specialises in handling such goods. If you are exporting goods to a foreign country, it might be better to make an enquiry with an established freight forwarder, as they are equipped to facilitate long-haul operations. Small domestic deliveries are best handled by a courier who covers the area where the goods are to be delivered. A Google search will help you to locate the best provider, who can quote for the operation.

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