So you want to become a Freight Forwarder huh..!!
Did you wake up one fine day and think “Hey let me become a Freight Forwarder”..?? Or have you been obsessing and dreaming about becoming one for a long time..??
So whats the deal.. Can anyone become a freight forwarder..??
Before that let’s consider the question as to who is a Freight Forwarder and what do they do..??
A Freight Forwarder is someone who undertakes to handle the movement of goods from point to point on behalf of the cargo owner..
The essence of freight forwarding is to ensure that the cargo is picked up from the seller and delivered to the buyer at the required place, at the right price and in the same condition that it is picked up from origin..
A freight forwarder will have the below capabilities :
- experienced in all modes of transportation – road, rail, air and sea
- store the cargo belonging to the clients at their warehouse (usually all big forwarders have their own warehouses)
- arrange the distribution or “forwarding” of the cargo as per the instructions of their client
- negotiate freight rates with the shipping line
- book the cargo with the shipping line as per the requirement of the client
- prepare bills of lading and associated shipping/negotiating documentation (Eur1, Certificate of Origin, etc)
- issue approved house bill of lading (House bill of lading)
Ok, now to answer the question – Can anyone become a freight forwarder..?? Theoretically the answer seems to be YES..
As long as one is able to fulfill above duties and the client is satisfied with their credentials, anyone can term themselves a Freight Forwarder..
While the big boys in freight forwarding might have their own infrastructure and facilities to handle above, there are scores of freight forwarders who don’t have their own infrastructure and facilities and outsource most of their activities..
They carry out all or most of the above mentioned activities as a 3PL Logistics provider whose definition includes freight forwarders, courier companies, companies offering logistics and transportation services on a sub-contracted basis..
A freight forwarder would need to register with the Local city/revenue authorities, Tax authorities etc which must be checked at the place of business operation as per local regulations..
In certain countries a freight forwarder may have to register himself with Customs, Port and other authorities like FMC (for shipments to/from USA) if he plans to issue his own House Bill of Lading, file his own manifest with Customs and issue his own Delivery Order to the consignee..
I mention certain countries because there is no global regulation concerning the issue of House Bill of Lading..
The term freight forwarder however, is being used quite loosely nowadays and a lot of the companies/people entering the logistics field term themselves a freight forwarder for lack of better understanding of their operation and what to call themselves..
What are your thoughts..??