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When it comes to keeping international trade moving there are few more important roles than that of the freight forwarder. If you’re serious about growing your business into new international markets or rely on a regular supply of imported goods or components, then it’s likely you will need to use one.

What is freight forwarding, how does it work, and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

What is freight forwarding?

Freight forwarding takes much of the logistical complexity out of importing and exporting goods. Freight forwarders coordinate the shipping of goods on behalf of customers, acting as intermediaries between the manufacturer and the company or individual that ultimately receives it.

Acting as a third-party company, they manage complex processes and ensure the easy management of long journeys. They will often work with companies that are experiencing rapid growth that is making it impossible to develop their own shipping system and who need to respond quickly.

How do freight forwarding companies work?

The freight forwarding company will take time to find out about the company, its immediate needs and future plans, what is being shipped and where it’s going. They will handle all aspects of the shipping process, including customs clearance, documentation, and transportation.

The freight forwarding company will select the most appropriate shipping method, such as air, sea, road freight or a combination of the three. They will use their contacts and negotiating power to agree on a competitive rate with carriers. They will then arrange for any necessary documentation and permits.

The freight forwarding company will handle all customs clearance and documentation that are required for the shipment of goods across international borders. This might include obtaining correct licences and permits, arranging for any inspections that might be required and ensuring that all of the necessary taxes and duties are paid.

As soon as the goods have been delivered, the freight forwarding company will then take care of the final documentation. This might include the preparation of any bills of lading or other required documents. They will also handle any disputes or claims that may arise.

Freight forwarding companies ensure that the import and export process is carried out in an efficient, cost-effective and thorough manner. They take care of the logistics allowing business owners to concentrate on other revenue-generating activities.

What are the advantages of using a freight forwarding company?

Using a freight forwarder is a widespread practice for any company that is serious about importing or exporting. It has a range of advantages for businesses including:


The import and export process can be complicated. There is extensive paperwork involved, as well as the physical logistics of the process. Keeping abreast of regulatory and compliance requirements can be time consuming and confusing.

When you’re shipping across borders, incomplete or incorrectly completed documents translate to delays and extra costs. Your goods may even be seized by customs and banks could place a hold on the transfer of funds due to irregularities on your documents. Freight forwarders act as intermediaries and skilled negotiators when problems do arise.

The freight forwarding company handles all of these tricky aspects of the import/export process for their clients eliminating the risk of costly and time-consuming mistakes.

Lowered costs

Freight forwarders reduce the overall costs associated with shipping goods internationally. Due to the huge quantities of goods that freight forwarding companies transport, the overall cost per unit is significantly lower. This can make it particularly attractive to smaller companies who will , if ever, send sufficiently large shipments to access discounted rates.

A record of delivery

Successful freight forwarding companies will have an extensive track record of delivery for their clients. They will have proven their worth over time and will be highly experienced at what they do. Their contacts across the industry and access to information will be second to none. They are trusted by a wide range of different companies to deliver their goods across the globe. With a real risk of loss connected to shipping goods, this experience is well worth investing in.

A safeguarded process

Freight forwarding companies will have developed a range of safeguards that reduce the potential risks of the complex importing and exporting process. Problems can occur outside of their control, but they will take every countermeasure they can to reduce the risks considerably. Using a freight forwarding company reduces the risk of severe losses, customer complaints and a negative impact on your company’s reputation.

A predictable delivery schedule

A freight forwarding company should be able to provide a guaranteed time limit for the arrival of your goods to a particular destination. Barring any major logistical problems beyond their control this deadline will usually be met.

Routes will be planned beforehand and emergency measures will be put in place in case changes need to be made. The reputation of a freight forwarding company relies on its ability to deliver so they will work relentlessly to ensure that deadlines are met.

What services do freight forwarding companies offer?

Freight forwarding companies provide an extensive range of import and export services. They can take care of the entire process from arranging the most appropriate shipping method, take care of customs clearance, warehousing and other services such as packaging, labelling, crating and the assembly of goods.

In short, a freight forwarder is your expert partner for shipping goods internationally.

SSO International Forwarding offers a tried, tested and trusted freight forwarding service to a growing range of clients. We offer complete transparency in our pricing structure while providing rapid response rates and excellent customer service.

To find out more about what we offer contact us today.


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