A forwarding agent is a person who acts on behalf of importers and exporters to organize safe, efficient, and economical goods transport. Persons who are” employed to collect, deliver, and otherwise forward goods on behalf of others are called forwarding agents. They are supply chain experts who focus on the logistics and transportation of an international business transaction. With the expansion of, business, many manufacturers take recourse to middlemen (forwarding agents) who would relieve the manufacturers from the troubles of collecting, goods from suppliers, and delivering goods to the destination. Essentially, they arrange and monitor all of the fine details so that shipments flow across international borders with compliance and efficiency, mitigating delays. They help the cargo owners in the efficient movement of goods to the buyers by completing some procedural and documentary formalities.
Freight forwarder was traditionally related to ocean freight brokers, around 30 years before the freight forwarders are started offering end to end solutions for cargo movements. Forwarders are agents who arrange for cargo to travel from an origin to a destination within a specific time frame. They are experts and knowledgeable in laws and regulations governing the shipment of goods through the customs authorities as well as in commercial practices, especially the ones concerning transport. There are several entities involved in the successful transportation of a shipment. It is very important to understand the functions of a freight forwarder and their role in a shipment.
International freight forwarders typically handle international shipments and have additional expertise in preparing and processing customs documentation and performing activities pertaining to international shipments. The international forwarding agent organizes shipments for importers and exporters, acting as guarantor in order that the commercial operations proceed according to the agreed conditions and without prejudice to any of the parties involved.
It is a firm specializing in arranging shipping and storage merchandise on behalf of its shippers. It usually provides a full range of services including –
- tracking the transportation
- preparation of shipping and export documents
- negotiating freight charges
- booking cargo space
- freight consolidation etc.
- Recommendation and advice on costs to obtain the most profitable and effective alternative.
- Preparation and presentation of the documentation required to export goods and for the different participating agents.
- Advice on freight transport, packaging, and storage.
- Reservation of the necessary freight space on a means of transportation, as well as taking care of the cargo storage and/or distribution.
- Completion of formalities with customs agents in foreign countries in order to comply with all regulations.
- The forwarding agent is responsible for solving any problems arising with an international shipment.