Freight Forwarders: Functions, Responsibilities, and How to Choose the Best

In the realm of import and export, there is a crucial entity that plays a vital role in the entire logistics chain – the freight forwarder. Discover the functions and responsibilities of a freight forwarder in this article and delve deeper into this topic!

Defining the Freight Forwarder

According to the Federal Revenue Service, a freight forwarder is any individual who, on behalf of an importer or exporter, arranges the transportation of goods, consolidates or deconsolidates shipments, and provides related services. In essence, they act as intermediaries between exporters and/or importers and logistics companies, assuming the responsibility for coordinating the logistics process for exports and/or imports.

Functions and Activities of a Freight Forwarder

  • Monitoring the movement of shipments through various modes of transport.
  • Obtaining quotations and organizing the most suitable transport modes based on the country of origin and destination.
  • Handling all necessary payments for the operation, including mandatory fees and attributes.
  • Arranging insurance coverage for the operation to mitigate risks (if requested by the client).
  • Mapping out the procedures and legal documents required for the successful completion of the operation.
  • The level of involvement and monitoring provided by the freight forwarder throughout the export process may vary from case to case, depending on the exporter’s specific needs. Additionally, the fees charged by the freight forwarder adhere to the parameters defined by the International Commercial Terms (Incoterms).

What are Incoterms?

Incoterms, defined by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), are rules that regulate international business and define the rights and obligations of the exporter and importer. Their purpose is to ensure safer and more precise procedures.

In summary, the primary Incoterms used in exports and imports include EXW (Ex Works), FCA (Free Carrier), FOB (Free on Board), and CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight). It is crucial to be well-informed about these terms and their implications in the export process.

Learn more about Incoterms here.

Why Should You Hire a Freight Forwarder?

The process of export/import involves:

  • Navigating legislation and regulations between countries.
  • Choosing the appropriate transportation modes to be used.
  • Seeking and obtaining quotations from logistics companies for the selected transportation modes.
  • Managing the various fees required to maintain compliance.
  • Handling the necessary legal documents.
  • Given the complexity of these details, freight forwarders possess extensive experience in this field. Apart from their comprehensive knowledge of the processes involved, they also have a vast network of contacts with companies and logistics operators. Moreover, they can structure the most optimized and cost-effective plan according to the specific needs of the exporter and/or importer.

For many companies looking to export (or are already exporting), having a freight forwarder overseeing this activity results in lower operational costs, increased security throughout the process, and reduced legal, juridical, and material risks.

Choosing the Best Freight Forwarder

When selecting the ideal freight forwarder for your shipment, consider the following factors:

  • Experience and track record of handling shipments for other companies.
  • The network of partner companies and logistics operators the freight forwarder works with.
  • Client satisfaction and feedback.
  • Reasonable pricing.
  • Quality of customer service.

Learn more about finding a reliable business partner here.


In conclusion, freight forwarders play a pivotal role in the successful execution of import and export activities. Their expertise, network, and ability to navigate complex logistics procedures make them invaluable assets for companies seeking to engage in international trade. Before embarking on any export or import endeavor, carefully selecting a competent and reputable freight forwarder is crucial for a smooth and efficient operation.

About Cheap2Ship

Discover Cheap2Ship, a technology company specialized in logistics and foreign trade. Through our advanced freight management and quoting platform, medium and large companies have experienced a significant increase in operational efficiency and a reduction in logistics costs.

Our commitment is to provide greater transparency in the costs related to current freight providers, such as shipping lines, freight forwarders, and carriers. With this, our clients can make more informed and strategic decisions for their businesses.

To learn more about our innovative solutions, visit our website and follow us on social media. There, you will find relevant content about foreign trade, logistics, and supply chain. We are ready to drive the success of your company in the global market. Join us and discover how we can make a difference for your business.