What is a Freight Forwarder and does your business need one?

What is a Freight Forwarder and does your business need one?


4 minute read | By Denholm Good Logistics

Last updated: January 16, 2024 | Published: May 2, 2017


A freight forwarder is a company that organises the movement of goods around the world on behalf of an organisation or individual. Sounds simple enough, in reality, though, getting goods from A to B can be a complicated process, and the function of a freight forwarder is to simplify and streamline that process as much as possible, making international shipping a painless prospect.

A freight forwarder that doesn’t own any vessels is known as a non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC), but essentially the service is the same. They work with various carriers to transport goods by sea, air, rail and road, taking responsibility for the goods and dealing with issues of logistics and documentation, often offering numerous additional services for a smooth and seamless process that can take goods right up to their final point of sale.

If you’ve got goods to move, we’ve got five good reasons to consider using a reputable freight forwarder:

#1 Expert freight forwarding advice

When you choose an expert, experienced freight forwarder you can rest assured that they’ll find the best possible solution to meet your shipping needs. There are lots of freight forwarding companies in the UK to choose from, including large global businesses to smaller independent and family owned companies. If you’re not sure what to look for in your perfect freight forwarder, check our blog ‘10 essential questions to ask your freight forwarder’. A key factor to consider is their experience in your particular market and industry, working with a freight forwarder that really understands your requirements can make a big difference when guiding you through what can be a daunting and confusing process.

#2 Door to door delivery

If you’re looking for a full door to door shipping service, some freight forwarders will offer this, giving you ultimate peace of mind and stress-free shipping. Larger freight forwarders will provide wrap-around services including product sourcing, convenient port-centric storage, picking and packing, and delivery to the final point of sale. This kind of flexible ad-hoc service can be especially useful to small and growing businesses who may not have the resources to co-ordinate the various elements involved in moving goods for themselves.

#3 Secure and safe

A good freight forwarder will know how to move your cargo as safely and securely as possible. They’ll be able to advise on how best to transport your goods – from which method of transportation to use, to the type of container. For example, perishable items like food and drink need extra consideration, such as reefer containers and flexible food grade storage.

#4 Network Connections

Using an established and accredited freight forwarder allows even the smallest or newest business to benefit from a strong network of relationships with shippers, ports, airports, UK Customs, and other relevant agencies and services providers. This means you can enjoy the quickest and most convenient shipment schedules, reduced costs, and even a quicker and easier Customs clearance process if you choose an Advanced Economic Operator (AEO). Most freight forwarders will have a presence overseas, so wherever you’re moving goods to and from, you can be sure they’re in safe hands adhering to the very best industry practice.

#5 Save time, stress and money

Perhaps the bottom line for many is that using a freight forwarder can save you money, not only by using cost-effective shipping solutions but also by saving you the time of making and overseeing the arrangements yourself. Solutions like online tracking systems give customers access to the most recent information regarding their shipment at all times, providing peace of mind and a stress-free user experience.

A good freight forwarder will simplify the complex importing and exporting process, and become an asset to individuals, companies and businesses by being collaborative & consultative in their approach.

If you want to move goods with a minimum of stress and hassle, the answer to ‘what is a freight forwarder and do I need one?’ is, undoubtedly, yes.

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