Freight Forwarding* is the business of deciding the best modes and methods for moving specific goods according to a specific requirement, on a worldwide scale. The Freight Forwarder has often been described as a travel agent for cargo, however they are more widely known as the “Architect of Transport”. It is a heavy knowledge driven industry requiring expertise in all modes of Transport (including documentation), Geography, and most importantly, International Business Relationships and Networking.
In the same way that an Architect is employed to design and supervise the building of a house, the Freight Forwarder advises their Clients (Manufacturers, Exporters) on the best available options for the movement of their cargo. Advice is given regarding appropriate methods to physically transport the goods (via land, sea or air) and also specialist considerations regarding carriage of Dangerous Goods, consolidation, storage, handling, packing and distribution unique to different cargo types. Forwarders are also familiar with the import rules and regulations of Foreign countries and the necessary documents related to foreign trade. The Forwarder then takes instructions from the Client based on that advice and knowledge to oversee the performance of the various carriers involved in moving cargo to the end consumer.
The Freight Forwarder will also service the client’s additional requirements, including Customs Clearance, Duty and VAT payment, Marine Insurance cover and Documentary Credit arrangements. Through the need of finding suitable quotes for their Client, the Freight Forwarder would have strong connections and relationships with Carriers (Shipping Companies/ Airlines) and service providers of all kinds. These relationships, coupled with their own knowledge of the industry, enable Freight Forwarders to save their Client much time and avoid potential hazards by offering the best advice and securing a rate suitable to each client’s unique needs.
Freight Forwarding may have once conjured up images of men clad in overalls working on the docks, however today Freight Forwarders are highly educated individuals with the necessary knowledge to safely transport goods across international borders. They are proficient with the latest Information Technology enabling them to track shipments across the globe in order to safely reach their destination.