How to become a Freight Forwarder

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: December 2015
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • What are the key market issues and trends?
  • What are the main trading issues?
  • Legislation
  • Further information

A freight forwarder arranges shipments by sea, road and air for all types of cargo from one country to another on behalf of shippers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, buyers and sales agents. Freight ranges from packages, crates and containers to bulk goods and specialist consignments such as livestock, furniture or machinery.

Forwarders arrange the shipping details so that the freight arrives at its destination in good condition, at the right time, and in the most cost-effective way. They research shipping prices, provide information on routes, book cargo space, prepare and check bills of carriage and insurance contracts, and ensure that the lowest possible customs charges are levied.

Freight forwarders require a good working knowledge of one or more foreign languages and have a thorough understanding of the International Chamber of Commerce's 'Incoterms' (rules that specify the tasks, costs, and risks associated with the transport and delivery of goods) and all aspects of export and import documentation, customs procedures, insurance, payment procedures, and trade finance.

Forwarders with sufficient experience and know-how frequently offer additional services including customs brokerage, warehousing, order picking and packaging, and consultancy relating to overseas markets and haulage. It is common for forwarders to join international networks of operators, giving them access to a set of trusted forwarding services that can act as representatives in other regions.

This profile provides information about starting up and trading as a freight forwarder. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and some of the key trading issues. It also explains the main legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information.

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