Defining “Freight Forwarder”

A freight forwarder is a company that coordinates the shipments of goods from one place to another for other individuals and/or corporations. These shipments are carried out through single or multiple carrier types including rail, trucks, airplanes, and ships. Freight forwarders are experts in the supply chain management process and act as the “travel agent” for all cargos and shipments during the transport. As there are domestic forwarders, there are also international freight forwarders that deal with all products and shipments from country to country.

definition of freight forwarding

Freight forwarders help arrange the shipping goods from one international destination to another.


History of the Freight Forwarding Service

One of the first established freight forwarders was Thomas Meadows and Company Limited of London, England in 1836. Originally, innkeepers, Thomas Meadows founded the first international freight forwarding company that re-forwarded the personal items of their hotel guests. They would arrange for carriage by contracting with various carriers located in the area. Forwarder responsibilities included advice and management of documentation and customer goods, requiring that all customs were met in the country of destination.

Moving forward to today, the freight forwarder accepts and carries on the same responsibilities. The forwarder will operate as a domestic carrier or will correspond with an agent overseas for global coverage. Within a single transaction, the forwarder will either act as the carrier or as an agent for his customer. In some cases, they will act as both.


Principles of Success with Freight Forwarding

To be successful with the freight forwarding process, individuals and companies are required to understand that all goods and products are maintained in good condition throughout their travels, with the most cost-effective and least-problematic transportation. To ensure this is accomplished, freight forwarders must be experts in managing logistics, movement of goods & products and understand the process of freight shipping. This means having the right tools and systems at their disposal, at any time during this process.

Another factor is being able to negotiate tariffs, customs regulations and being fluent with the requirements of all carriers to manage the risks and benefits of shipping both domestically and internationally. Having the knowledge and skills to navigate the regulations is integral to the smooth transport of the customer’s goods. However, this also requires relying on the right people who you can call on that are also committed to excellence and customer satisfaction.


Freight Forwarding Resources

4 Important Ways Freight Forwarders Help Businesses and Personal Shippers be Successful

How Does Freight Forwarding Work, and Does My Company Need It?

Must Knows When Choosing Freight Forwarding and Shipping Services

The Rapid Evolving Freight Forwarding Industry


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