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Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent

A Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent organises import and/or export shipments and works within the shipping and logistics sector. These shipments may be for individuals or for other companies such as manufacturers or retailers.

A Freight Forwarder will usually act as an agent rather than an active carrier. In this way, a Forwarding Agent is a third party (non-asset-based) logistics provider who works to dispatch shipments via asset-based carriers. Freight Forwarding positions involve booking and arranging space for shipments on carriers such as vessels, aeroplanes, trucks and trains. FIATA (the trade association for freight forwarding and logistics firms) defines a Freight Forwarder as an ‘Architect Of Shipping’ – and this shows the commercial position of a Forwarder in relation to their clients.

What does a Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent Job description include? 

  • The main purpose of a Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent is to arrange cargo movements to destinations overseas. In this role you could be involved in all modes of transport including air, sea, road and rail freight.
  • An International Freight Forwarder will have specialist expertise relating to preparing and processing documentation for international shipping.
  • A Forwarding Agent will typically review documentation such as commercial invoices and shipper’s export declaration Bills of Lading.
  • A Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent will also look at any other documents required by the carrier or the country of import or trans-shipment,  including HM Customs documents – which are produced digitally, creating paperless working methods.
  • The role of Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent involves working with others’ and so being able to communicate clearly and being very organised is essential.

Specialist & European Forwarding Agent Roles

  • In Europe, there are a variety of specialist Forwarding Agent roles. These niche roles include jobs specialising in routing traffic throughout Europe, to collection and deliveries around a large port (Hafen Spediteure) and rail freight specialists. In some countries, a Forwarding Agent may work only with domestic traffic, never handling international cargo.

Key skills and qualifications of a Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent: 

  • Previous experience as a Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent is preferable, but a background in administration may be acceptable.
  • Good numeric skills are required as the role of Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent deals with quantities and volume.
  • Problem solving and negotiating skills are also an advantage in the role of Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent.
  • For those positions that deal with international cargo, ideally you will have specialist knowledge of the procedures and steps that need to be carried out to move cargo on an international scale.
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal are required as a Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent is required to liaise with different organisations/groups in their daily tasks.
  • Must be familiar with computer software programs eg Word, Excel, etc. 

How to find more Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent jobs within the Shipping and Logistics Industry:

To find more Freight Forwarder or Forwarding Agent jobs or other jobs within this sector, or to place a vacancy, please contact us


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