What is a Freight Forwarder?
The first freight forwarder was established in London around the 1830’s. Rapid development of steamships and reliable rail connections created a demand in this particular industry, whose original function was to arrange for transportation from point of origin to point of destination by contacting various carriers.
History of the Freight Forwarder
As the freight forwarder was normally only situated in one place, it would develop a correspondent agent network overseas to look after his customers’ cargo and to keep the freight forwarder informed of any matters related to the transportation of the goods.
The forwarding industry grew rapidly as trade between Europe and North America developed.
The Forwarder today
Nowadays the forwarder has essentially the same role as when then the industry was established. They are typically either local or regional in scope and offer a strong network of overseas partners and agents. Few have grown into truly global freight forwarders, with their own presence across all continents.
Freight forwarders have not only grown their geographical coverage, but also the depth of their services. As such, a modern freight forwarder typically offers a broad range of services related to the core transportation products. These could include services such as:
– Storage at the forwarder’s facilities
– Packaging of goods for safe transportation
– Customs clearance and other documentation services
– Special handling of cargo, such as oversized or dangerous goods
– Inventory management and fulfilment
There are multiple other services in the modern forwarder’s portfolio which can be explored directly on their relevant websites.
Finding the right Freight Forwarder
When searching for a forwarder, it is always important to know which services you require. No two forwarders are the same, and their services and geographical strength can differ significantly. Typically, you should consider following:
Which trades do you need the freight forwarder to be strong in (country-to-country)?
Do you have specific requirements for cargo handling?
What are you willing to pay for the freight forwarding services (global players tend to carry a premium)?
What do you expect or need in terms of transit time and service level?
Researching online is an obvious good starting point, and you should make sure to include any freight forwarder comparison websites in your research.
Learn more about the freight forwarder and the roles of International Transportation.
Learn more about some of the Documentation issued by the freight forwarder.
See our blog about Finding the best freight forwarder with freight comparison websites.