Freight Forwarders act as intermediaries of exporters and importers in arranging for the safe, cost-effective and efficient means of transporting goods and merchandise for clients such as ships, airplanes, trucks or trains.
In arranging for the best means for transportation, they consider the type of goods to be transported and the customers’ requirements in delivering the goods. Freight forwarders may work for a freight forwarding company which may itself either provide these services or contract other companies that provide them.
Nature of Work
Freight forwarders are responsible for researching and making plans to determine the best possible route and type of transportation for shipping goods and merchandise. They must take into account the type of merchandise which could be hazardous or perishable, the cost of transport, and the time it takes for the goods to arrive at their destination. They must also consider how to make sure that goods are secured and not tampered with along the way. Freight forwarders are also in charge of arranging for the right packaging materials. The must consider the prevailing climate along the route, the terrain if traveling by land, and the weight and nature of the goods. These considerations are important because packaging must withstand the rigors of being transported. They should also take into account how the goods are to be delivered, and where they will finally end up. The goods will need to be insured and will have to pass through customs overseas. It is the job of freight forwarders to obtain, check and prepare pertinent documents to comply with their customs and insurance regulations. They act as brokers and consultants when negotiating with customs overseas, guiding the transport of the goods through the complexities of customs requirements. Because of this, they should have updated knowledge of current legislations and even political climate and situations overseas that might affect the transport of the goods they handle.
Freight forwarders have to specific educational requirements although they are expected to possess a high level of understanding and experience in the transportation industry. They usually learn through on the job training and other training courses provided by freight forwarding companies. They need to obtain authority form the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration before beginning their job. Freight forwarders must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, and an excellent multi-tasking and organizational ability in order to coordinate with different local and international firms.