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Tips on starting a freight business in the UK
A freight forwarding business manages and handles the shipment of different items and goods using varied transportation methods by air, sea, and land. In order to be successful in the freight business, it is essential that you become knowledgeable first in the many processes involved in importing and exporting. You also have to develop a network of suppliers and logistics companies in other key locations. Good and useful contacts are important. Even though there are already a good number of freight forwarders in the UK, there is still ample room for newcomers because of the ever increasing number of importers and exporters
Here are a few pointers on how you can set your own freight business:
1. It starts with gaining proper experience in the freight brokerage business. You can do this by applying for a reputable freight forwarding or logistics company. This will help you learn many things about the business and even establish important contacts which will come in handy the moment you set up your own freight brokerage business.
2. You have to determine the freight brokerage business niche that you want to focus on. There are UK freight forwarders who only cater to their immediate area, there are those which concentrate in small and large loads, and there are some who cater to a specific market such as the agricultural or chemical industry.
3. You need to create a detailed business plan for your freight forwarding business which should include the costs of setting up an office and the prices of equipment. You also have to fully lay out your management plan, operational strategy, and marketing plan.
4. After the plans have been laid out, the next step would be obtaining the funds that you need to start a freight forwarding business. You need to look for private investors and banks which would be willing to provide you with business loans. It would be a smart idea to acquire more than enough funds, something that can cover the first six months of operations and that should include the payment to shippers for their services in case your clients are late in their payments to you.
5. Have your company legally registered as a freight forwarding company. This is in accordance with the business registration regulations in the freight forwarding industry in the UK.
6. Secure a carrier license. You need to get a license as a legitimate forwarder for all the states you intend to work in. If you want to be an international freight forwarder, you need to get licensed as a carrier in all the countries you intend to send and get goods from. For example, freight forwarders that are involved in international sea shipping in the US need to get their license from the Federal Maritime Federation while the freight forwarders that do air shipping needs to be licensed by the International Air Association (IATA). While freight forwarders in the UK do not need to be licensed, most of them opted to become members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA)
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