What is a Freight Forwarder?

Jan 23, 2020 Lilia Khovrak Lilia Khovrak

What Does a Freight Forwarder?

The term freight forwarder originates from the Latin «Expedire», and means «the one that deals with types of cargo and freight transportation». In reality the term freight forwarder can mean a company specializing in cargo handling and that transports ocean freight, air freight, railway freight or road freight. A freight forwarding company offers the best transport route, provides freight, cargo insurance, and, if necessary, carries out customs clearance in the countries of departure and destination.


The meaning of the forwarder’s profession 

Freight forwarder is a profession that has appeared in our country recently. Perhaps not everyone still knows what this person is doing, but a lot depends on him in cargo transportation.

4 main tasks of the forwarder

1. The choice of route. In transport logistics, it is necessary to develop the most comfortable, convenient and financially profitable route. It is not difficult to understand that only a trained professional can make a transportation plan, which takes into account all the details of the case.

2. The choice of transportation. A competent specialist can make the right choice of transport depending on the weight of the transported cargo and its size, the required speed of delivery, transportation and storage. In addition, for transportation, the company can use other equipment, for example, rigging. 

3. Assistance in collecting documents. The forwarder should help to collect the documents necessary for the carriage of goods both domestically and abroad. It goes without saying that for a freight forwarder this will turn out to be a much easier task than a person not familiar with this issue.

4. A specialized professional should be able to make the most appropriate decisions if certain problems arise along the way. An experienced freight forwarder will do everything in his power to make sure that the property is delivered intact, safe and on time.


Which freight forwarder should I pick?

Forwarder is a legal entity operating throughout the entire process of cargo deliveries in the interests of a company or other person who has entered into an agreement with it. The choice of the route of movement and the quality of transportation directly depend on the advice and actions of the forwarder.

Before choosing a forwarder, check out the following factors:

1. Logistics company. A good and reliable freight forwarder, as a rule, can be checked in different sources. There are customers, who can leave a feedback on the work of such company. And the main thing, that if you can find some reviews and feedback about this kind of logistics provider on the internet or in the specialized platforms – this would be the best verification method.

2. The volume and complexity of transportation. As a rule, forwarding services are necessary for the transport small parties, containers and standard packages. And for more complex shipments there must be an experienced forwarder.

3. Prices.  Research not only the offers with the lowest price, try to find out what specific services are offered to you. Compare the cost of the services in synergy with all associated values, which a forwarder brings you.

4. Convenience of interaction with the forwarder. If you are uncomfortable talking with the company at the preliminary stage, it is worth considering what will happen in the future.


Freight forwarders in the world

Since now the big competition for forwarding companies, the consulting company Armstrong & Associates has made the top 25 global forwarders. All of them are distinguished by large incomes and cargo.

Top 5 forwarders in the world

1. DHL Supply Chain & Global Forwarding. German international express and cargo delivery company, world market leader. Operates in more than 120,000 cities in 220 countries and territories. As of 2019, DHL celebrates 1.5 billion parcels annually. DHL has four divisions — DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Global Mail and DHL Supple Chain. It was founded in 1969 in the USA. 

2. Kuehne + Nagel. An international logistics company founded in the German Empire in 1890. Over the 120 years of its history, it has made its way from a modest freight forwarding office in Bremen (Germany) to a global-scale corporation headquartered in Switzerland. The company has more than 1300 branches in 109 countries. 

3. DB Schenker. Division of the German railway operator Deutsche Bahn AG. The company was acquired by Deutsche Bahn as Schenker-Stinnes in 2002. It includes units for air, land, sea transportation and contract logistics. Schenker was founded in Austria in 1872. Schenker has approximately 65,000 employees in 2,000 offices worldwide. 

4. DSV.  Founded in 1976 in a small town in Denmark. DSV consists of three units offering a full range of services: Road, Air & Sea, and Solutions. Over 1,500 offices, terminals and warehouses around the world.

5. Sinotrans one of the largest logistics companies in China. Since 2005, Sinotrans has been providing logistics and foreign trade services for companies and individuals involved in the import and export of goods. Sinotrans' network covers all parts of China and five continents of the world. 


It would seem that the most reliable way is to contact a large company with a name known in the market. But such a solution is far from always the best. Of course, you will be sure of the stability of the company, but prices and working conditions for cargo owners with small volumes of shipments may not be the most profitable. As a rule, it is more profitable for cargo owners with small volumes to choose stably working small forwarders.

Anyways, if you are searching to get the best matching offer in means of price and quality, and you need to take a decision in the shortest time, we always welcome you to check the best freight rates online, provided by the verified forwarders.

Lilia Khovrak is a professional content manager from Odessa, Ukraine. Loves life by the sea. Dreams to see Paris and eat a croissant on the thresholds of Notre Dame de Paris. Hates to read meaningless articles.