There will always be a need for people to ship goods and, as the world becomes increasingly complex, there will be a greater demand for people to plan those shipments. In modern times that is often the role of the freight forwarding company. What is the difference between a freight shipping company and a freight forwarding company? Roughly speaking, it is the difference between the architect of a building and the builder/contractors who build the building. Sure you could just tell builders to start building and, most likely, you would have a building constructed at the end. But it may not be a very well-planned and well-constructed building. It would have been nice to have an architect.
Freight forwarders are used by clients, which include manufacturers and all types of exporters, in order to wade through the complexities of shipping, especially overseas shipping. There are many considerations that must be planned and of which many people would not necessarily think through as thoroughly as might be required. Such considerations include storage, consolidation, packing, handling, and distribution of the shipments. On top of those, going from one country to the next can require duty payment, customs clearance and related issues, and documentary credit arrangements.
There are quotes that need to be assembled in different parts of the process. Freight forwarding companies will have the relationships with carriers and other service companies that are needed to acquire and weigh all these different quotes. Freight forwarders are considered experts in the field, which is needed in the crazy world of shipping logistics. They must assess many documents such as the bill of lading, commercial invoice, and the shipper’s export declaration, all as a means to make the right decisions for the shipment and the path it should make.
Freight forwarding companies are sophisticated knowledge banks that, in this day and age, are technologically savvy. They use global resources in order to maneuver the transportation industry. Shipping providers, such as airlines, trucking companies, ships, and railroads, all have their own sophisticated (or unsophisticated) networks of information. Wading through them all and having systems and protocols for performance can be a tiresome task. Each and every one has their own rules, regulations, and documentation requirements.
So, before anyone goes off and builds a building, it may just make sense to find the right architect who can create a plan of action. Otherwise, they just may be sorry they didn’t. In the transportation industry, freight forwarders are those necessary architects.