There is a lot that goes into arranging an international shipment. Just to move a single pallet of goods from your China to a US warehouse, there is probably going to be between 4-6 entities involved. The freight forwarder’s job is to coordinate this and make sure that all required documentation is made.
While the freight forwarder handles the details of a shipment, it is important to have a clear picture of what the freight forwarder actually does and does not.
A freight forwarder does not actually move your freight itself, but act as an intermediary between a shipper and various transportation services such as ocean liners, air liners and trucking. companies
A freight forwarding service utilizes established relationships with carriers, from air freighters, trucking companies, and ocean agents across the globe, in order to negotiate the best possible price to move a shippers’ goods from point A to point B, along the most economical route that is reliable.
In other words, a freight forwarder’s job is similar to that of a travel agency. They handle the logistics of goods from one destination to another, a task that would otherwise be a formidable burden for their client.
Export.gov use the following to describe the role of a Freight forwarder:
“To comply with export documentation and shipping requirements, many exporters utilize a freight forwarder to act as their shipping agent. The forwarder advises and assists clients on how to move goods most efficiently from one destination to another. A forwarder’s extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, regulations, transportation costs and banking practices can help ease the exporting process for many companies.”