A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent, is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get large orders from the manufacturer or producer to market or final point of distribution. Forwarders will contract with a carrier to facilitate the movement of goods. A forwarder is not typically a carrier but is an expert in supply chain management.
In other words, a freight forwarder is a “travel agent,” for the cargo industry, or a third-party (non-asset-based) logistics provider. A forwarder will contract with asset-based carriers to move cargo ranging from raw agricultural products to manufactured goods. Freight can be booked on a variety of carrier types, including ships, airplanes, trucks, and railroads. It’s not unusual for a shipment to move along its route on multiple carrier types. International freight forwarders typically arrange cargo movement to an international destination. International freight forwarders have the expertise that 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, ortransshipment. Much of this information is now processed in a paperless environment