The sea freight forwarding market has grown exponentially over the past few years and is expected to reach a monumental $207 billion by 2026. A lot of people are jumping into this business for the booming eCommerce industry that has been the catalyst for growth. Essentially, this means that once you search for the best sea freight forwarder, you’re bound to find numerous results.

The question is, how do you find the right one for your business? In this guide, we’re going to explore all the factors you must consider before hiring a sea freight forwarder.

Read on to find top things you should look for in a freight forwarder.


You’re looking for a sea freight forwarder to help you import and export your products, how do you find one that can handle your needs?

Experience is key. You should definitely look for sea freight forwarders with extensive experience in sea freight forwarding as well as warehousing and distribution.

Not only will they be able to better understand your business, but they’ll also have the know-how to navigate the complex issues related to sea freight shipping.

Simply put, experience is everything when finding a sea freight forwarder. Find a company that’s been around long enough to master every intricacy of the industry and provide customers with unbeatable services at unmatched rates.


As with every industry, sea freight forwarding has its fair share of scammers and fake companies. Make sure your sea freight forwarder is a verified business on LinkedIn as well as a legitimate business on Google My Business. Also, ask to see their licenses from organizations such as OTI and NVOCC.

If they provide you with any false documents or information, be careful. This may mean that there are some underlying problems the sea freight forwarder will have difficulty handling down the road.

In addition to credentials, we also believe that word of mouth counts for a lot too. An experienced sea freight forwarder can often be trusted more than one that just recently opened. So ask for references and get in touch with them.

Sea Freight Expertise

The sea freight industry is an expansive one, and sea freight forwarders need to have extensive sea freight knowledge. They should know how to handle all your sea freight needs successfully. A sea freight forwarder who only has experience in air and trucking forwarding will not be able to provide you with the high-quality service you deserve.

Ask sea freight forwarders about their specialties. Do they focus on international ocean shipping? Are they experts in LCL consolidation?

Are they experienced in lashing, securing, and deck loading? This is crucial when it comes to expanding or beginning your business. It’s also essential to have a sea freight forwarder who can handle all aspects of your sea freight shipping.


It’s no secret that the sea freight forwarding market is competitive, and rates can vary significantly from company to company. When searching for a sea freight forwarder, make sure you get quotes from multiple companies and compare pricing. However, do not simply choose the cheapest sea freight forwarder.

Remember, you get what you pay for. A sea freight forwarder that offers incredibly low rates may be cutting corners in other areas (e.g., customer service, safety procedures, etc.).

This can lead to disastrous results down the line. The best way to find a sea freight forwarder that offers the best value for your money is to consider all aspects of their services, not just the price.

Customer Service

It’s important to have a sea freight forwarder that provides top-notch customer service. After all, you’ll be working with them closely to ensure your sea freight shipping runs smoothly. A sea freight forwarder should always be available to answer any questions or concerns you may have, no matter how small they may seem.

Additionally, they should be able to provide you with regular updates on the status of your shipments and anticipated delivery dates. If you don’t feel valued as a customer, it may be time to find another sea freight forwarder.

Online Tracking System

When sea freight shipping, you should always be able to monitor the status of your shipment online. From assembly at origin to disassembly at the destination, as well as during sea transport. This way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing exactly where your sea freight shipments are at all times.

The top freight forwarders provide customers with easy-to-use online freight forward systems so they can track their sea freight shipments anytime, anywhere. A sea freight forwarder that does not offer this is one you should avoid.

Round the Clock Services

Oftentimes sea freight is an emergency shipment that is time-sensitive and important to get to its destination as soon as possible. A sea freight forwarder who provides round-the-clock services and support means you can communicate with them about sea freight shipments anytime.

You don’t have to worry about what time it is or where they’re located. Additionally, they should also provide an online sea freight calculator, so sea freight forwarding estimates do not need to be complicated or confusing.

Customs Expertise

When shipping goods overseas, there are certain customs procedures that must be handled for your sea freight shipment to arrive at its final destination successfully. When choosing a sea freight forwarder, ensure they have extensive experience working with customs officials across the world.

This way, you can be sure your sea freight shipment will not get held up in customs, and you’ll avoid any costly delays. The freight forward business can be complex, so find a company with a team of experienced customs brokers who can help you with all of your sea freight shipping needs.


When sea freight shipping, it’s always a good idea to have insurance in case something goes wrong. Unfortunately, accidents do happen during sea freight transport, and it’s essential to have someone you can rely on to help you through the process.

Make sure the sea freight forwarder you choose offers insurance coverage for both your goods and their own liability. The best sea freight forwarder should have insurance coverage for both cargo and liability so customers can have peace of mind knowing their shipments are protected during transport.

Finding the Best Sea Freight Forwarder

Finding the best sea freight forwarder can be a challenge. However, if you consider all these factors, you should be able to locate a reputable and professional company. That said, please head over to our blog for more informative guides!