Freight Forwarder Definition

We’re here to set the record straight on everything you need to know about freight forwarding agents, from what roles we fulfil, right down to where you can get a freight forwarding quote.

What is the Definition of ‘Freight Forwarder’?

A freight forwarder will offer the management and arrangement of the shipping of merchandise and goods on behalf of their clients. These clients can be anything from multinational companies needing to import and export goods to individuals that need to ship something to another country or state. However, there are more roles that a freight forwarder will take on to offer a more comprehensive service, but we’ll go into more detail on this later on.

What Are the Duties and Roles of a Freight Forwarder?

Now that you have an understanding of the definition of a freight forwarder, it’s important to know one thing about what we don’t do, before we go into what a freight forwarder’s duties are

We won’t move your freight ourselves. Instead, the role of a freight forwarder is to act as the middle man between the shipper (you) and various transportation services, such as air, rail, road, and sea. Using our well-established relationships with multiple transportation companies, we will negotiate the best price to move your goods along the most economical route and the one that makes the most sense with your requirements.

For example, if you need something transported from Perth to Italy and it needs to be there as soon as possible, we would recommend air freight over sea freight, as it’s a faster option.

Some of the other duties a freight forwarder fulfils might include:

  • Tracking inland transportation
  • Preparation of shipping and export documents
  • Warehousing
  • Booking cargo space
  • Negotiating freight charges
  • Freight consolidation
  • Cargo insurance
  • Filing of insurance claims

What Does the Freight Forwarding Process Involve?

  1. Export Haulage

    This process details the movement of items from the shipper’s location to the freight forwarders warehouse. Usually, it involves the goods being loaded into a truck or train, depending on their size.

  2. Item Checkpoint

    Once your goods arrive at the warehouse, the freight forwarder agent will receive the goods and check that everything has been transported without issues. Following this, the goods will be dispatched, and the transportation process to the country of delivery will begin.

  3. Customs Clearance (Export)

    Before the goods can be shipped off, clearance is required from the country of origin, with this process being performed by customs brokers. The customs broker will provide all the details about the cargo and supporting documents. An agreement is established between the shipper and the consignee responsible for the process.

  4. Customs Clearance (Import)

    Upon the arrival of the goods in the destination country, authorities will check all the import customs documents. The freight forwarder or customs broker is responsible for the clearance of the cargo by the time it arrives at its destination country.

  5. Arrival at Destination & Handling

    Once customs have been cleared, the freight forwarder will receive all the documents for the cargo, which includes carrier bills.

  6. Import Haulage

    The final stage of the process involves the transport of the cargo from the receiving warehouse to its final destination. A freight forwarder usually facilitates this process, but the consignee can also choose to collect the cargo themselves.

What Is Freight Forwarders Liability Insurance?

Like with any process that involves the transportation of goods, there are certain risks involved with freight forwarding. For example, the loss of or damage to cargo, liabilities against third parties, errors and omissions, removal of abandoned cargo, breach of regulations, and more.

Freight Forwarders Liability Insurance sees to it that your cargo is protected and covered should any of the above-mentioned incidents occur. This way, if something is damaged or lost in transport, you can claim those costs back from the insurance provider.

We would recommend speaking to your freight forwarding agent about insurance and what it offers before you decide to ship your goods with them.

What Are the Charges for Freight Forwarder Services?

Numerous factors can impact the charges involved in freight forwarding, some of which are:

  • Size, weight, and dimensions of your cargo
  • Your desired transportation, whether it be via air, sea, rail, or road
  • Whether you need the cargo shipped on the same day

To get a better idea of the charges you could incur for using our freight forwarding services, use our calculator.

Where Can You Get a Quote from A Freight Forwarder?

As professional freight forwarders, Express Link has all the licenses required to conduct our business legally. Find out more about the services we offer, here.

Alternatively, you can use our website to generate a custom quote for our freight forwarder services or give us a call if you have any questions.