What is a freight forwarder?

Simply, the middleman between you as the shipper or consignee (person or company receiving the product) and the Airline or Shipping Line and road/rail transport.

  • A Freight Forwarder will coordinate on your behalf your entire process of importing or exporting your product including handling the Customs clearance of your goods into Australia or into a country you  export to.
  • A Freight Forwarder can also coordinate third party shipments, ie, if you are the seller of a product for example from Germany to Dubai. This keeps you in control and you only have to deal with a local Forwarder.

Choosing a suitable forwarder for your needs.

Forwarders come in all sizes, from 1 person business/Sole Traders to the extremely large multi nationals with offices in every part of the globe.

You need to be comfortable with the company you are dealing with. Some questions you may ask according to your needs to choose a freight forwarder:

  • Is the Forwarder willing to spend the time you may need to offer advice freely on important issues such as Freight or Customs requirements?
  • Do they have a network of offices or agents in the Countries you need?
  • Can they offer an “integrated service” from the Door to the Door?
  • Can they take out Marine Insurance for you?
  • Do they appear to have the power to buy well from the shipping lines and airlines so they can provide you with a competitive service rate?
  • Can they provide you with order tracking on door to door consignment?
  • Do they have internal Licensed Customs Agents?
  • Do they have their own warehouse, handling facility?

For air shipment:

  • Are they a Licenced Regulated agent for Air Freight?
  • Are they an IATA. (International Air Transport Association) approved?
  • Do they have trained personnel in Dangerous Goods, Airline Security Procedures, Export and Import procedures?

If you have any enquiries related to import/export matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Contributor:  Corrinne Campbell of Xdoc