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In this article, we will focus on the role of the Mexican freight broker; and above all, the precautions that can be taken before entrusting your exports , imports or cargo transportation logistics .

We are aware that Cargo Agents play the important task of solving the problems posed by freight trade commerce. Their main contribution is to solve issues for both the user and the carrier; obtain loads for carriers and solve any problems for the users that are linked to the transport of their cargo including, in some cases, assistance with everything related to applicable taxes and customs , insurance and collection of the product or procurement documents or payments.

In the case of Cargo Agents located in Mexico, because they are not regulated by any authority, it is more difficult to guard against unethical practices between Cargo Agents and their clients; as well as, fraudulent practices between freight and transport companies . It is critical that the Mexican authorities do something about it and take into account Cargo Agents by granting them rights and obligations – not only for the sake of Cargo Agents themselves but for the whole industry.

What is a Mexican Freight Broker?

The Cargo Agent is the Company or person acting as a third party between you and the carrier whose aim is to provide a specialized logistics service. Although it can be compared to American cargo intermediaries, the Mexican Cargo Agent has a great challenge: it is not controlled by the authorities and is not subject to any rules and regulations that would give more guarantees to the user and himself when it comes down to their charges to customers and establish their responsibilities.

In short , anyone with a computer and phone can become a Mexican Cargo Agent .

What should I do to protect myself ?

No matter where you the Cargo Agent is located, it is always advisable to request trade references . For those carriers who are hired by Cargo Agents, they should not be treated as another customer. Take into consideration that most Cargo Agents do not have sufficient assets to pay their obligations with carriers . Never mind the freight promises or projections that they give you –who will be providing the equipment and money is your own Company. If they do not sign a credit application, it is very possible they do not have good intentions. If it is a rather small Cargo Agent ask them to sign a promissory note for the amount of credit that will be granted, and always request references from other carriers .

It is highly recommended to ask for references from at least five companies. Find out if they belong to AMACARGA (Mexican Association of Cargo Agents – www.amacarga.org.mx), and whether they are reputable and serious. Also, investigate if they have been reported for non-payment or failure to AFS Debtor Watch. There are thousands of companies reported in our database.

Because we live in a world ruled by technology, I want to point out a few key aspects that can help you when choosing a Cargo Agent:

Cargo Agents often invest heavily in marketing in order to build, overnight, an image of being a solid Company with a good reputation by just setting up their website. When you find a Cargo Agent through the Internet, do not become complacent, I recommend you always ask for trade references mentioned above.

On the other hand, you may come across Cargo Agents who do not have a website and who utilize free email addresses such as hotmail, yahoo and gmail . My experience of many years has taught me that, for the most part, Cargo Agents having an email without owning a domain name, prove to be a companies who provide services that are not very desirable or default on their payments to carriers . Now a days, a website serves as the most common and accepted way to get to know the portfolio of services of a Company by providing general contact information and detail, location, or references. If you decide it is not important to you that a Cargo Agent does not have a website, that is fine. However, do not forget to request the aforementioned trade references.

Remember how valuable is your load and, in the case of the carrier, the value of your equipment when transporting and the costs involved in each transaction. You do not want a bad decision turning into an overdue receivable or even a bad debt.

Salvador Bañuelos

Sal is known internationally for the debt collection results he has provided to the freight transportation and import/export industries worldwide for the last 15 years. Author of "Credit and Collections in the Freight Industry Handbook" & "Credit & Collections Policy – Practical Guide”. He contributes to the industry with articles in the following leading magazines: T21 and Enfasis Logistica Contact him:  E-mail ,  Twitter ,  facebook,  Linkedin.com

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