A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent, also known as a non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC), is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution. Forwarders contract with a carrier or often multiple carriers to move the goods. A forwarder does not move the goods but acts as an expert in the logistics network. These carriers can use a variety of shipping modes, including ships, airplanes, trucks, and railroads, and often do utilize multiple modes for a single shipment. For example, the freight forwarder may arrange to have cargo moved from a plant to an airport by truck, flown to the destination city, then moved from the airport to a customer's building by another truck.
International freight forwarders typically handle international shipments. International freight forwarders have additional expertise in preparing and processing customs and other documentation and performing activities pertaining to international shipments. Information typically reviewed by a freight forwarder includes the commercial invoice, shipper's export declaration, bill of lading and other documents required by the carrier or country of export, import, and/or transshipment. Much of this information is now processed in a paperless environment. The FIATA shorthand description of the freight forwarder as the "Architect of Transport" illustrates the commercial position of the forwarder relative to its client. In Europe, some forwarders specialize in "niche" areas such as rail-freight, and collection and deliveries around a large port.
Firm specializing in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers. It usually provides a full range of services including: tracking inland transportation, preparation of shipping and export documents, warehousing, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims. Freight forwarders usually ship under their own bills of lading or air waybills (called house bill of lading or house air waybill) and their agents or associates at the destination (overseas freight forwarders) provide document delivery, deconsolidation, and freight collection services.
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