More Glossary Terms

Freight Forwarder

What is a Freight Forwarder?
A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent is an intermediary between the shipper and the carrier, typically on international shipments. Freight forwarders provide the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to changing customer and consumer demands and international shipping (import/export) requirements.
Common carrier types may include waterborne vessels, airplanes, trucks, or rail. Freight forwarders typically arrange cargo movement to an international destination. Also referred to as international freight forwarders, they have shipping expertise, which allows them to prepare and process the documentation and perform related activities pertaining to international shipments. Some of the typical information reviewed by a freight forwarder is the commercial invoice, shipper’s export declaration, bill of lading, and other documents required by the carrier or country of export, import or transshipment.
What does a freight forwarder actually do?
Freight forwarders handle the details of your international shipping, but they do not actually move the freight itself. The freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between a shipper and various transportation services such as ocean shipping on cargo ships, trucking, expedited shipping by air freight, and moving goods by rail. A freight forwarder is an asset to almost any company dealing in international transportation of goods and is especially helpful when in-house resources are not versed in international shipping procedures.

A freight forwarding service utilizes established relationships with carriers, from air freighters and trucking companies to rail freighters and ocean liners, in order to negotiate the best possible price to move goods along the most economical route by working out various bids and choosing the one that best balances speed, cost, and reliability.

TMS for Freight Forwarders

Why should I use a freight forwarder?
A freight forwarder is not required for importing or exporting goods. However, because importing and exporting can involve so much documentation and so many regulations, and these regulations and the required documentation can vary from country to country, many of the most successful importers and exporters use a commercial freight forwarder to be their logistics partner.

Knowing the shipping companies, the documentation, and the customs laws of various countries is their job. That means a good freight forwarding service can save you time and potential headaches while providing reliable transportation of products at competitive rates.

Advantages of using a freight forwarder include:
  • The ability to handle ancillary services that are part of the international shipping business, such as
    • Insurance
    • Customs Documentation
  • A Freight Forwarder provides to consolidators as well as individual shippers:
    • Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier documentation
    • Bills of Lading
    • Warehousing
    • Risk Assessment and Management
    • Methods of International Payment
How MercuryGate makes complex moves clear and manageable
Top freight forwarders rely on MercuryGate to plan and manage freight transportation via air, truckload (TL), less-than-truckload (LTL), parcel, rail, intermodal, and ocean. MercuryGate’s ability to handle complex routing means freight forwarders can confidently provide a true door-to-door delivery with efficiency and precision. From tendering loads to carriers, to tracking those loads and providing visibility to customers, to advanced invoice settlement, MercuryGate gives freight forwarders the power to make the complex simple.

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