Shipping Terms Glossary
Shipping Terms Glossary
Freight Forwarder

Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarders are like travel agents, but for freight. They are experts on how shipments work, from start to finish.

What are freight forwarders?

Freight forwarders are like travel agents, but for freight. They are experts on how shipments work, from start to finish.

There is no one-size-fits-all freight forwarder!

Some freight forwarders specialize in ocean freight, some in air freight, and others in inland freight.


Small freight forwarding companies may reach only a few popular territories, whereas larger ones can reach globally.

What's the job of a freight forwarder?

They have many functions but here are the main ones you will need to know:

1. They coordinate on your behalf with other parties involved in the shipping process (Customs, air/ocean cargo carriers, trucking companies).

2. They may act as your customs broker (when working with customs agents).

3. They handle any issues that might arise during transit.

How are they different from freight carriers?


Freight forwarders do not move goods themselves, they coordinate between the companies who do (freight carriers).

Bookairfreight Tips:

"Freight forwarders are like travel agents you would use to book a flight ticket. They don’t own the planes, but have partnerships with the airlines."

Beware! Freight forwarders need a license to operate!


Depending on the type of transportation they work with (sea, air, or road), freight forwarders need to have different licenses. These requirements may differ from country to country.


For example, in the US, all freight forwarding companies need to apply for an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) license.

Cristian Ungureanu

Logistics nerd and resident marketing guy of Bookairfreight. I love writing content that simplifies old-fashioned industry processes and provides solid, accurate information you can base your decisions on. Outside of logistics, I enjoy nature, hanging out with friends, electronic music and spirituality.

Say goodbye to industry jargon.

Download our free shipping terms glossary! 👊💥

Best decision you made! Check your email for our download link.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

You'll Also Love ❤️...

Take Your Logistics to the Next Level.

Sign up today for free and get access to 20% cheaper freight rates from top forwarders all over the world.

Hundreds of fast-growing e-commerce businesses are working with Bookairfreight.
mascot-image