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Iowa Freight Forwarder first builds relationships and trust with shippers to remain flexible

Joseph International is based in Muscatine, Iowa, and serves SMEs throughout the state.

Tony Joseph is the owner who works diligently to establish trust with his clients to better understand them and their products. This understanding pays off in spades when it comes to shipping their clients’ goods. It enables him to make timely freight decisions in getting the products to destinations exactly when needed.

These shipping decisions are not solely based on costs. A good example is getting a customer’s products to Europe. “Because Germany’s air freight is congested right now, we may route cargo to a European airport to get them to the destination a bit faster,” said Mr. Joseph, “which may cost more but will make the deadline.”

According to Mr. Joseph, air freight is more costly, but ocean freight delays are a week or more longer because there are more variables, such as a missed vessel at the transship port, vessel sailing delays, longer loading, and unloading times due to congestion, among others.

“Although the client makes the final shipping decisions, we make suggestions and provide options for both air and ocean shipments.” Mr. Joseph explained.

When asked about damaged goods by air or ocean shipping, he replied that, “We have been fortunate regarding damaged goods. However, LCL are more prone to damage due to the number of times the goods are handled by the consolidator. Ocean LCL shipping has resulted in the most damage claims,”

He then went on to explain that ocean shipping is controlled by steamship lines, meaning the speed of transit is controlled by the steamship lines as they are the ones to establish the sailing schedules.

“Some carriers have faster transit times than others, but there is a cost difference. The customer must balance transit times and costs depending on their buyers’ expectations."

In an effort to keep air freight costs affordable, we consolidate, choose carriers with transship service to the final destination. We have found that longer transit time normally yields a lower AirFreight cost compared to direct service to the destination. Direct or transship service is always balanced with the customer’s needs.

Typically, air freight shipments are handled as general cargo, however if there is congestion or over booking, we may need to change to Priority air service. This will allow our cargo to load before general cargo. It may cost more, but based on airport congestion at origin, we may have to change the service.

Some goods that Joseph International handle are time sensitive and therefore those cargo must be expedited to their destination. He must be flexible in what mode of transportation is needed to get there on time.

For full container load shipments, Joseph Int’l Freight Service may consider trucking to get it to the port to allow enough time to make an earlier sailing compared to using the rail.

Rail is less expensive but more problematic with delays. “When considering the shortage of chassis and other factors, rail can take even longer,” he explained. “Depending on the lane you are using, we may face more challenges, so it makes trucking more attractive.”

If you had to choose between air freight and trucking to the port, it is more cost effective to truck the freight than air freighting the entire container of cargo.

He has not encountered much congestion in Chicago lately compared to the congestion that occurred during the pandemic. “We face changes daily, with the railroads changing ERD and cut off dates. When change happens, it is a domino effect of additional cost: holding times, re-delivery costs, chassis, and container shortages”, he concluded.

For information about the company, visit


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