What Does a Freight Forwarder Do?

Freight Forwarding Services

Freight Forwarders

Importing and exporting are the life on International Business. Without it freight forwarders we would have been to enjoy many of the luxuries we have.

The process and regulations involved in international trade may seem intimidating. However, you can be a successful international freight shipper without getting caught up in the logistics of logistics.

That’s what a freight forwarder is for.

What is a freight forwarder?

BusinessDictionary.com defines a freight forwarder as follows:

Firm specializing in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers. It usually provides a full range of services including: tracking inland transportation, preparation of shipping and export documents, warehousing, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims. Freight forwarders usually ship under their own bills of lading or air waybills (called house bill of lading or house air waybill) and their agents or associates at the destination (overseas freight forwarders) provide document delivery, deconsolidation, and freight collection services. Also called forwarder.

That definition is a little wordy and sounds complicated, so let’s just do a basic definition as follows:

A freight forwarder is a company that arranges your importing and exporting of goods.

So What does a freight forwarder really do?

There is a lot that goes into arranging your international shipping. While the freight forwarder handles the details of your international shipping, it is important to know what a freight forwarder does not do in order to understand what a freight forwarder actually does.

A freight forwarder does not actually move your freight itself.

They act as an intermediary between a shipper and various transportation services such as ocean shipping on cargo ships, trucking, expedited shipping by air freight, and moving goods by rail.

A freight forwarding service utilizes established relationships with carriers, from air freighters and trucking companies, to rail freighters and ocean liners, in order to negotiate the best possible price to move shippers’ goods along the most economical route by working out various bids and choosing the one that best balances speed, cost, and reliability.

Freight forwarders handle the considerable logistics of shipping goods from one international destination to another, a task that would otherwise be a formidable burden for their client.

Do I need a freight forwarder?

A good freight forwarding service can save you untold time and potential headaches while providing reliable transportation of products at competitive rates.

A freight forwarder is an asset to almost any company dealing in international transportation of goods, and is especially helpful when in-house resources are not versed in international shipping procedures.

There are many advantages to using a freight forwarder. Here are a few listed:

  • Handles ancillary services that are part of the international shipping business
    • Insurance
    • Customs Documentation
    • etc…
  • Provides to consolidators as well as individual shippers:
    • Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier documentation
    • Bills of Lading
    • Warehousing
    • Risk Assessment and Management
    • Methods of International Payment
    • etc…
  • A FF insists on personal communication and great customer service.


How do I find a freight forwarder?

The same way you find this website. First try searching for one on the internet or ask around. Make sure you check the references, a good rate sometimes means nothing. Focus on the service.

There are many places you can find freight forwarders. Yellow pages is one place you can find Freight Companies.

Try search using the following keywords.

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