All You Need to Know About Freight Forwarding

By Margaret Bux
clock 6 min
container yard with shipments

What is freight forwarding?

Freight forwarding is the coordination and movement of goods (a shipment) from one place to another via a single mode of transport or multiple modes of transport encompassing shipping by sea freight, air freight, road transport or rail freight

What is a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder is a person or company that acts as an agent between a client (shipper of goods) which could be an importer or an exporter – and the entire network of logistics carriers involved in the movement of goods (the shipment) from point of origin to destination.    

Why would I need a freight forwarder?

Firstly, due to the complexity of transporting goods, particularly internationally, either over land or sea, which increases the chance of things going wrong.  With years of experience, a professional freight forwarder will oversee this entire process to make sure it’s getting done correctly and safely.  

A professional freight forwarder will be able to provide advice on how to ship your goods, recommending the best modes of transport across land, sea or air, including local logistical support at the point of origin or international destination for ground transport, warehousing, customs clearance and supply chain management.

A freight forwarder will recommend the most optimal routes, whilst utilising their global network of trusted and competent partners that they have built relationships with, to facilitate the process.  These international partners can include customs brokers, other freight forwarders, transport carriers, ground handlers, professional packers and warehouse operators.  This enables the freight forwarder to provide services to customers in any part of the world over a significantly larger number of routes.  Highly experienced and bright freight forwarders can also provide individualised and creative solutions to complex shipping problems involving oversized or out of gauge (OOG) freight, or transport to remote locations.  You can read about some of the challenges that Clarke Global Logistics has overcome with oversized items in the following case studies: 

Adding to the complexity of moving goods, are the regulatory requirements involved in international shipping.  There are legal standards which vary in each country or jurisdiction involved in the shipment process.  It is crucial that shipping documentation, such as bills of lading, HS classification codes for goods, delivery orders, sea cargo reports and customs declarations are all completed correctly and on time over each jurisdiction.  Any incorrect or incomplete documentation could result in additional delay, costs, a fine or goods being held in port by authorities.  An experienced freight forwarder is knowledgeable and practised across the specific regulations in each jurisdiction and within the industry overall and can assist in the management of documentation to ensure that your goods are delivered in compliance with legal requirements.

To further benefit shippers, most professional freight forwarders utilise technology which enables them to track and trace shipments, keeping their clients informed of their cargo location at any given point in time, their expected arrival time (ETA) or any unforeseen delays impacting shipments.

Logistics and Freight Management

Another benefit is the ability of freight forwarders to pass on favourable shipping rates sheerly due to the volume of containers and space / pallets that they can pre-purchase and manage on vessels or aircraft across a number of clients.    

Some forward-thinking freight forwarders are able to go beyond managing the shipping aspects of clients’ businesses to providing business auditing and international trade advice, even assisting with the set-up of new businesses overseas by providing advice on licenses, registration of products to meet local specifications, packaging requirements etc.   You may be interested to read an article on how Martin Moyano of Clarke Global Logistics provided advice and assistance on the complex Indonesian import compliance regulations to restaurant chain Grill’d when they were establishing their first restaurant in Bali.

Thereby, in summary, a freight forwarder can partner with shippers to significantly add value to their business – be it small or large, by delivering a complete and accountable end-to-end service, efficiently streamlining the logistical process, navigating the documentation and regulations involved and preventing costly mistakes.

At Clarke Global Logistics, we strive to be the leading freight forwarder for businesses of all sizes. Our team of experts work closely with our clients to deliver a comprehensive and trustworthy import and export service that streamlines the logistics process, handles all necessary documentation and regulations, and avoids costly mistakes. Partner with us today and see the difference we can make for your business.

Image by: onlyyouqj and from Freepik.


We’re Australia’s Leading global logistics provider.

Established in 1917, Clarke Global Logistics is a reputable Australian Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder; offering a totally integrated trade service both locally and globally.


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