What is a freight forwarder?

Release time:2024-03-18 11:48

What is a freight forwarder?

The phrase "freight forwarder" is derived from the Italian word "Spedizione," translating to shipment or delivery in English. This term can refer to both an individual and a company engaged in the movement of goods, covering both national and international scopes.

What is a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder is essentially the maestro of shipping, orchestrating the movement of goods for others. This entails arranging for the collection of goods from the supplier, managing customs clearances and necessary documentation, overseeing handling at various warehouses, and securing transportationbe it by ship, plane, or truck. It's common for freight forwarders not to personally manage every step; instead, they often collaborate with subcontractors for specific tasks. To the customer, however, this entire operation appears as a seamless, unified process, even though it involves multiple hands on deck.


Illustration of the 7 steps of the shipping process:

A freight forwarder distinguishes itself from entities that possess actual transportation resources, such as trucks, ships, trains, airplanes, and storage facilities. In essence, a freight forwarder doesn't own any of these assets. Instead, they procure the necessary space across various modes of transport, ingeniously weaving these elements into a cohesive solution, complete with document management, to offer a comprehensive transport service to their customers.


While theoretically, a freight forwarder could be as minimal as "a person equipped with just a cellphone and an email," the reality of operations is considerably more complex. Typically, freight forwarders may opt to directly manage certain segments of the logistics chain, often choosing to own or operate warehouse facilities within their primary market. This approach not only provides a degree of control over the logistics process but also enhances the service quality delivered to clients.

sea freight forwarder

Typically, the freight forwarder manages all interactions with the client, ensuring a seamless process. When a freight forwarder excels in their role, clients remain blissfully unaware of the intricate steps involved in transporting goods from point A to point B. The hallmark of a successful freight forwarder is delivering shipments on schedule and without incurring unexpected expenses, thereby maintaining the illusion of simplicity in a complex process.

Different types of freight forwarders

Freight forwarders vary widely in their size and scope of operations. They range from global giants with hundreds of offices worldwide and an employee count in the hundreds of thousands, to small enterprises operated by a single individual equipped with a cellphone and, perhaps, a van.


In the upper echelons of the freight forwarding industry, companies like DHL, Kuehne & Nagel, Schenker, and Panalpina stand out. These powerhouses, originating from Europe but with a global presence, are capable of providing a 'complete package,' allowing clients to ship their goods from any location to any other spot across the globe.


On the other end of the spectrum, numerous smaller freight forwarders operate within each country. Typically, these companies might maintain a single office in their homeland and rely on subcontractors for managing international logistics. This diversity in freight forwarding services ensures that there's a fitting option for every shipping need, from local deliveries to global logistics chains.

Which freight forwarder should I pick?

When deciding on a freight forwarder, our advice leans towards small businesses, entrepreneurs, and those new to the shipping sector opting for medium-sized freight forwarding firms. These companies strike a balance, being substantial enough to staff crucial locations with their own personnel, yet not so vast that a smaller client might find themselves deprioritized. Moreover, medium-sized forwarders are often noted for their exemplary service, making them a fitting choice for those who value both efficiency and attention to detail in their shipping needs.


China to e

What makes a good freight forwarder?

A proficient freight forwarder, irrespective of being an individual or a sprawling corporation, must possess a deep understanding of their specialty—ensuring the smooth transit of goods from point A to point B, adhering strictly to the stipulated timeframe and cost. It's crucial to recognize that communication stands as the backbone of freight forwarding, accounting for about 90% of the task. The mode of communication, be it direct phone calls or automated updates via an IT system, often plays a secondary role to the timeliness and effectiveness of the information shared. For most clients, the format of communication is flexible, provided they receive timely updates. Therefore, when selecting a freight forwarder, the paramount criterion should be their proactive approach in keeping clients well-informed throughout the shipping process.

What do I start?

If you're navigating the complexities of selecting a reputable freight forwarder, FBABOX offers a seamless solution. Specializing in providing "one-stop logistics solution" services, we cater to international trading companies and cross-border e-commerce sellers aiming at European markets. With over 14 years of experience, FBABOX has become synonymous with reliability, safety, competitive rates, and superior customer care.


Our services extend beyond mere transportation to include customs brokerage, warehousing & fulfillment for key online marketplaces like Amazon. Whether you require FCL (full container load), LCL (less than container load), or special items shipping, our extensive network covering the USA, Europe, APAC, and Canada ensures your goods reach their destination efficiently.


For tailored freight forwarding solutions that simplify shipping to Amazon or other platforms, reach out to us at support@fbabox.com. Trust FBABOX to streamline your logistics needs with our extensive expertise and robust infrastructure. Get a quote now!!!