A freight forwarder is someone who acts as an agent to ensure that goods are delivered safely and on time. This person will manage the whole process for you, which can ease the stress and hassle of shipping whether it be domestically or internationally. Since this person is the linking pin in the whole process, finding the right freight forwarder is no simple task. To begin your search, fill out the form below to receive several free quotes from various providers.
A larger company that operates on a national or international level might procure the aid of a local agent, who would act like a freight forwarder to facilitate the transport of your goods. For example, a smaller truck company could consolidate goods from various shippers onto different pallets or into one larger container (individually, these would be known as LTL / Less-Than-Truck load or LCL / Less-Than-Container load). Once combined, the agent would arrange transportation via air, water, truck or rail. Upon arrival, he or she would then unpack the loads and deliver each one to its appropriate final spot. Keep in mind that the freight forwarder assumes responsibility for the goods throughout the entire process.
The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) describes themselves as the global voice of freight logistics. This non-governmental organisation (NGO) operates in 150 countries and acts on behalf of 40,000 freight forwarding and logistics firms. They have their hand in everything. A short list could include the following: the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the International Union of Railways (UIC).
Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the China International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFA) are global NGOs which act as an information source, advisor and mediator for players in the shipping industry such as a freight forwarder, broker, maritime lawyer, ship owner, or even an educational institution dedicated to the shipping industry.
The Airforwarders Association (AfA) operates in the USA and speaks for over 200 airforwarding companies, so your freight forwarder might be one of them if you are using planes to move goods into, out of or within America. For transit in the Asia-Pacific region, the Federation of Asia-Pacific Aircargo Associations (FAPAA) brings together members in 16 countries. Also known as indirect air carriers (IACs) or freight forwarders, airforwarders contribute to a $17 billion industry due to the fact that they not only arrange shipment from origin to destination, but because they also manage the entire supply chain including customs clearance, compliance, warehousing and storage.
A freight forwarder is also known as a commercial shipper or consignor. The bill of lading is a formal contract that will specify who will move the goods and it will also indicate who the consignor and consignee is. Note that it is not a document of title to the goods; it is more like a receipt or contract for transport. It is also known as the air waybill in the air freight industry. This is only one of the many documents that a freight forwarder will need to arrange for you.