Freight Forwarder:Ultimate Guide

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Written By Sharline

Sharline is an expert on Chinese export trade. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, she is familiar with all relevant regulations and laws about China's exporting. She loves to share her experiences with people and has written many helpful articles.

The critical attempts or running a business include importing and exporting. Most of the time, international shipping can seem like a great idea, and it genuinely is. Still, the process of doing it may soak a person in the business.

In certain shipping situations, freight forward is a term and idea that can provide a lot of ease to your business.

You may consider a freight forwarder to be a shipping agency, but it is not. However, it is an essential piece of business that helps to take a load of shipment, management, exporting, and importing off your shoulders.

Indeed, it is a useful asset for many lucrative businesses. Finding a reliable freight forwarder is a pain in the neck, but once it is all done, you will understand why you needed a freight forwarder in the first place.

Whether you require information on how to choose a freight forwarder or are merely trying to know what actually it is and what it does, this guide will help you.

Here is an ultimate guide on Freight Forward, including essential tricks, detailed information, and how to choose a reliable source for your business.

freight forwarder

What is a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder is considered as a firm or agency that specializes in the arrangement of shipping and storage ofsupplies on behalf of the shippers.

A standard and appreciated freight forwarder provides a bunch of other services, including preparation of export and shipping documents, warehousing, tracking inland transportation, booking cargo space, freight consolidation, filling of insurance claims, and negotiating freight charges.

A freight forwarder usually ships under their charges of air or lading waybills, known as house bill of lading.

Their associates or agents at the destination provide proper deliveries, including deconsolidation, freight collection, and document delivery. In other words, a forwarder.

Although that definition seems a bit wordy and complication, it defines a freight forwarder well in the business language. Still, let’s get to the more straightforward and basic definition of it, which is as follows:

A freight forwarder is an agency that arranges your exporting and importing of supplies – simply put!

So, that’s that. But, how does a freight forwarder carry out the entire process of managing and handling the goods?

What Does a Freight Forwarder Do?

In terms of shipment, a freight forwarder has a lot of obstacles to remove. Check out this list of all the services you must expect from a reliable freight forwarder:

  1. Freight forwarders make the bookings, arrange payments required for every sector of the shipment, and all the paperwork that is necessary for the job.
  2. The majority of excellent freight forwarders provide a customs brokerage examination, in which they both are forwarding and clearing agents and work on your behalf with other custom agents.
  3. They participate on your behalf with several other parties involved in air cargo carriers, shipment, and outsider freight forwarders involved in the process.
  4. If there is a problem, freight forwarders will step in and resolve the issue.

When it comes to planning work with you, the freight forwarder customer, here are all the services you will get:

  1. When you make a deal with a freight forwarder, they will walk you the process and offer you with everything you need to know. They will demonstrate it all on key freight documents and alert you about the shipment progress. They are professionals and will inform you of anything essential and crucial for the business.
  2. When demanded, they will give advice and discuss various options.
  3. As far as the shipment process is concerned, freight forwarders must keep you informed, especially at a point where the shipment faces a difficulty.
What is a Freight Forwarder

Why Choose a Freight Forwarder?

With all the excellent freight forwarders out there, are you aware of how to choose the right freight forwarder for your business?

This part of the ultimate freight forward guide will help you choose a reliable source.


Having flexibility is the most vital aspect to consider when finding a professional and reliable freight forwarder.

Your freight forwarder should maintain a stable network all around the world. You need to know whether they have connections in the cities/countries of destination and origin for your exports and imports.

Suppose you are importing or exporting from France. In that case, it does not matter how good the service providers’ connections are in China if they cannot provide you with complete services.

Therefore, make sure you ask about your forwarder’s experience and connections in the specific locations you require.

Shipping Cost Saving

Shipping costs matter the most. And this is the most common mistake all businesses make; hiring a service provider that offers affordable initial rates but brings out a list of additional costs when everything is done.

It is crucial to avoid this mistake, especially when you are on a budget. Do your homework. Find a freight forwarder agency that lets you negotiate and does not give you any surprises at the end.

Additional Services

Every business in need has set barriers and requirements when it comes to international shipping.

When finding a reliable freight forwarder, make sure they have the services you require. It will ensure all your international shipments will run smoothly without any clashes.

The services that a right freight forwarder should provide are the following:

  • Storage and packaging
  • Tracking inland transportation
  • Insurance
  • Booking cargo space
  • Management of inventory
  • Freight consolidation

Type of Freight Forward

There are four main types of freight forwarders, depending on the activities they perform and also the title they contain that allows them to be accredited in particular situations.

From the highest to the lowest rank of services, the following types of agents and operators can be distinguished as exceptional types of freight forwarders.

1. Online Freight Forwarder

If the idea of a digital service for importing and exporting goods does not seem to excite you, it is understandable. Traditional freight forwarders have sufficed for the number of international business operators for many years.

However, that situation was only because the conventional method of freight forwarding was the only option available. After all, it had its drawbacks as well.

Currently, online freight forwarding is in. An online freight forwarder can provide a range of benefits that reduce barriers and increase competitiveness to internationalization.

Working with an online freight forwarder can provide a handful of benefits. Online forwarders can make it easier for businesses to conduct global trade, as they develop networks supreme by their brick-and-mortar parts.

As soon as you book your export or import shipment, the digital forwarding provider shares the details with all the parties involved, including the recipient, forwarding agents, and the supplier at the origin and destination of the shipment.

Other than that, online freight forwarders have real-time shipment tracking facilities attached to their platforms.

That said, you will get automated, immediate alerts if any element of surprise occurs in the transportation of your products.

2. Consultative Freight Forwarder

When it comes to consultative freight forwarders, they are a bit similar to online providers. Still, the only difference is that you can gain guidance from them.

Consultative freight forwarders will provide you with an action plan of whatever portion of the shipment that seems unclear or strange.

3. Low-Cost Freight Forwarder

However, there are not many low-cost freight forwarders available, but there are specific ways to reduce freight forwarding costs.

You must evaluate your method of transportation, which leads us to sea freight transportation – it is the cheapest.

Shipping a day earlier or later can make a difference and reduce freight forwarding bills. Also, try to ship items in bulk to lower the shipment costs.

Lastly but most importantly make sure to be aware of the additional shipment services and always go hybrid, as that will surely save you a lot of time and money.

4. Global Freight Forwarders

As experts in the export and import business, using a freight forwarder agency can reduce stress and promote a smooth line of operation in your industry.

With a reputable global freight forwarder, you can get a lot of help, including warehouse and packing stages to customer procedures, and everything else that takes the pressure off you.

A global freight forwarder can provide the following benefits:

  • International import and export documentation
  • Customs clearance
  • Packing
  • Insurance
  • Storage

With their expertise and knowledge, freight forwarders make sure that your goods will arrive at their destination on time.

Global Freight Forwarders

How to Choose the Best Freight Forwarder for Your Industry?

Freight forwarders are the best source of help for businesses who require quality shipment services.

A quick Google search will determine there is no shortage of companies ready to ship your items internationally.

Still, there is a massivevariance between a right freight forwarder and any freight forwarder.

That said, if your business is new to international shipping, you may not even understand the significance of freight forwarding.

The reality is, the success of your international business solely depends on your preference of a freight forwarder.

For getting your hands on the right freight forwarder, please keep reading.

1. Analyze the company’s transportation needs

Freight forwarders’ industry relationships are another crucial aspect to consider. Connections in the shipping industry can have a significant effect between success and failure.

When your service provider has valuable connections across the country, it will be an effortless process to get your supplies shipped wherever your business wants.

That said, you have to make sure your freight agency is adverse and versatile enough with great transportation solutions, even hybrid.

2. Find a Forwarder with the Right Experience

The key to finding the best freight forwarder is to determine their line of experience. Besides, there are a few other things to consider.

For example, suppose you are handling export and import customs. In that case, you need to determine if your partner has the industry knowledge to navigate regulations and laws in both the destination and origin of the country.

It would be nice if you also thought about the need to work with a professional, especially for handling cargo procedures.

Whether you are shipping recycled plastics or perishable goods with reefer containers, having a reliable freight forwarder that knows the best attempts for transporting your goods is essential.

3. Make sure they Offer Cargo Insurance

Let us assume you have found a freight forwarder with 3PL services, transparent pricing, and you both have established a trusted bond.

Regardless, you may need to consider the last piece of the puzzle; cargo insurance. Suppose you want peace of mind and a risk-free application.

In that case, it is essential to purchasing cargo insurance that offers full coverage for shipping by land, air, or sea against the odds of damage or loss to your shipment.

Furthermore, if you can find a forwarder that can provide particular cargo insurance, according to your shipment requirements, then that would be an equivalent of hitting the jackpot.

4. Choose Someone with a Transparent Pricing Structure

It is essential to find a freight forwarder with transparent pricing policy. Just imagine. You request a quote, and it takes three days to get a response, and after you book your space, you find out the price was higher than expected.

The shipment costs may vary due to the PSS or GRIs adjustments. Still, there is a possibility of your service provider not having a transparent pricing structure.

Furthermore, you may find that the total freight rate offered is not transparent at all, and the costs may be combined.

Freight forwarders can sometimes charge you for brokerage or fuel, and you may not even know it. Considering that, find a forwarder with a transparent shipment pricing policy that does not risk any ambiguities.

5. Ensure They Have Licenses and Permits

Freight forwarders are required to have documentation and permits to handle your cargo, as well as special licenses for conducting sensitive investigations for products.

Therefore, ensure that your forwarder has the appropriate licenses that are posted somewhere publicly for you to witness.

6. Wide Array of Shipping Services

It is vital to know if your freight forwarder can provide additional services for document management and shipment logistics.

  1. Document services

Always make sure you find a provider that understands what type of document management you need. The last thing is to find out that your freight forwarder is not able to deliver any of the following services:

  • Assisting with custom clearances
  • Notarizing invoices on shippers’ behalf
  • Attaining certificates
  • Reviewing and preparing documentation
  • Creating amendments or correcting document errors
  1. Shipping Logistics 
  • You must also make sure that your forwarder is offering the following services:
  • Discovering appropriate shipment routes for a particular shipment
  • Negotiating freight rates for road, sea, and air
  • Providing import and export quotations
  • Arrangements for loading and packing
  • Making payments

Wide Array of Shipping Services

Key Terms You Should Know

If you are also a part of the export-import business, you will come across many hurdles. Here are some of the essential terms every business person should know.

Bill of Lading

It is a bill generated by the carrier containing details of a shipment’s contents, destination, and origin, along with the names of the products.

The bill of lading is abbreviated as BoL or B/L in international trade. It is used for transferring the title to the receiver after the supplies have been delivered.

Air Waybill

It is an air carrier-issued receipt for supplies being transported, including the documents associated with the carriage.

An air waybill is non-negotiable. It does not represent a value or title of the underlying merchandise. The standard air waybill consists of 11 digits in three sections: a 7-digit serial number of the bill, a 3-digit airline code, and a final regulation that is the remainder of separating the serial number by 7.


Drayage is known as cargo movement over short distances, mostly from a ship to a warehouse or in-between terminals.

Port-Centric Logistics

It is a supply chain program where the supplies are unloaded and palletized and delivered directly from the port.

In certain situations, this practice can vary custom fees and reduce additional storage costs, especially when many port destinations are available.

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is like any other payment analysis that serves as a customs declaration from the exporter. It includes the seller, buyer, list of products, signature, and Harmonized system codes.

Harmonized System Codes

It is considered as an internationally-agreed list of codes that cover all sorts of goods. Each code is used for simplifying tariff collection by several countries around the globe by developing a standard system.

Shipper’s Export Declaration

It is a form in which the exporter mentions to the US Census Bureau essential information about a shipment, including the destination, consignee, Harmonized System Codes, etc.

4 Essential Things to Know Before Shipping Goods

Whether outsourced or in-house, having a remarkable logistics team is essential for your company’s international success.

Below are tips to remember when shippin goods.

Make bookings with advance notice

When you are shipping goods internationally, it is quite noteworthy you are confident of the delivery date of a specific shipment and schedule your details of shipment accordingly.

There are several reasons why a shipment can receive hurdles along the way – get delayed, especially when traveling on international skies or waters.

Delivery overnight may not be possible at all for several destinations around the globe.

Some particular categories of goods may take longer getting cleared from Customs than others. That said, you must ship and prepare with time in hand.

Making bookings with advance notice will help you remove the hurdles and execute your shipments according to the delivery dates.

Keeping a Good Relationship is Important

By that, we mean your customers. Every time a sale happens, you probably have a system that sends emails automatically.

All of these emails incorporate clickthrough rates, which are six times greater than other types of emails. Therefore, you must use them accurately.

Make sure you are offering your customers with an excellent experience through their shipping emails.

It all depends on exceptional customer service. Order confirmation emails offer your customer with the order information.

They can also give you a fuzzy, warm feeling for your customer; they know you have your order and are working on it.

Keeping your customers updated on every information helps to develop a good bond. Also, communicating with your freight forwarding can go a long way. That said, be sure to be neutral on both sides; freight forwarder and customers.

Keep your cargo documentation organized for your forwarder

An essential thing to consider when sending goods is your shipment’s documentation and packaging. When exporting items to other countries, your shipment will be inspected by different Customs before entering its destination.

For most international shipments, the documentation required includes applicable licenses, EEI filing, export invoices, and a dangerous goods note.

Additionally, there are many other documents needed for a package to ship across the borders.

Luckily, many of today’s platforms are designed to confirm that all necessary documentation is in the bag to ensure your export shipment goes smoothly.

Freight Forwards aren’t Legally Responsible for Delays

Many companies blame their freight forwarders when something goes wrong. But, delays usually happen when your documentation is missing.

To avoid delays during the inspection, make sure your shipment is appropriately labeled and packaged. If your shipment does not clear Customs, it may not meet the required delivery date, which will cost you extra money.

How Leeline Help You Transport Goods From China

Leeline will give you a price directly from the factory with no hidden fee.

Leeline gives you the best rates for shipping goods from all across China. You will get one-month free warehouse storage with A+ product quality and proper investigation.

Shipping Method You Can Choose

Leeline offers several useful methods for shipment, including:

  • Express Shipping from China
  • Air Freight Shipping from China
  • Sea Freight Shipping from China
  • Rail Freight Shipping from China

Professional Services

The professional services for freight forwarding include:

  • Best Cargo Insurance Service In China
  • Best Customs Brokers Service In China
  • Best Customs Clearance Service In China
  • Best Pick-up and Delivery Service In China
  • Flexible And Dynamic Warehousing Facilities In China

Why Choose Leeline:Our Features

Are you in need of the best freight forwarder in China? Well, you are in luck because Leeline is the farthest you will get!

There are many reasons why Leeline is an ultimate freight forwarding agency. Here is why:

Competitive Price

Leeline will help you ship goods from China most compellingly and satisfyingly. You will receive an acceptable shipping rate with a cut-down on shipping costs up to 50% off.

Also, the prices will be direct from the factory, so no hidden fee.

Safe & Delivery On Time

All of the products will be adequately investigated for any faults. The agents at Leeline will negotiate with the factory on your behalf, and all deliveries will be done on time.

24/7 Customer Support

As an international freight forwarder, Leeline knows the importance of availability. With worldwide services, including air, train, or sea, we will integrate our several logistics chains to provide you with the best solution possible.

We are available for consultation as well. So, if you ever feel puzzled or want to confirm your demands, Leeline’s customer service is always available to answer to solve your matters.

With everything said above, Leeline stands tall among all the other freight forward agencies providing shipment services.

24 7 Customer Support

FAQs For Freight Forward

1. Can You Get Both – Great Service And Price?

If a freight forwarder (an individual or company) that manages your freight shipment provides you an amount that sounds too good to be true, then it must be.

Therefore, you must understand the fees and costs included in your forwarder’s shipping total.

The freight forward cost structure is based on cargo placement, the weight of your shipment, the palletization and packing, container costs, documentation, administration, and insurance.

There could be additional charges as well. It is best to prepare yourself for a high cost because each of these services does not come cheap.

In terms of costs, if you are getting the whole package at a reasonable price, then you should go for it.

2. Where can I find a freight forwarder?

Without a doubt, the best freight forwarding services are available in China. Still, if you need a name, Leeline is the most fantastic freight forward service provider.

They will provide you with a reasonable price quote, all according to the services you require. Additionally, Leeline will investigate the products thoroughly and make deliveries on time.

Hence, your job will be done for you.

You can hire their services for almost every shipment-related purpose. They will work for you by working with you and accomplish unique ideas to take your business to the top.

One of the best benefits of reaching out to Leeline is that their agents will guide you with all their might. You will also learn a lot along the way, and the process of running an online business will seem like a breeze to you.

3. Sea freight frequently changes; how to avoid this?

Both the shippers and suppliers will need to monitor market costs and conditions on an ongoing basis as they enter the phase of negotiation in sea freight forwarding mode.

For the shipper, freight market movement analytics and cost benchmarking will also be essential to achieve.

As you already know, freight costs vary from company to company. And, when shipping via sea, there are a lot of risks involved. The most prominent one is it is time-taking, and many blunders come in the way.

The best way to avoid this situation is to start the shipment procedure a few days early, so even if something goes wrong, you will have enough time to overcome the malfunctioning.

4. Are You Looking First And Foremost For A Great Price?

If you prioritize a great price, then you must be willing to go the extra mile.

It will not be easy, but the later-benefits of hiring a freight forwarder with an epic price range is the dream of every person handling a shipment business.

A freight forwarder with significant experience will give you a reasonable price. Also, if the price seems a little too high, you should have some space to make arrangements because the efforts will be to the max.

5. Is The Freight Forwarding Company’s Service More Important?

A profitable freight forwarding industry offers companies with a more accessible and quicker solution to the shipping process.

Freight forwarders manage everything related to your items; they act as intermediaries between the transport company and your firm.

Freight forwarders offer companies excellent advice on every issue embedded in the freight movement, especially when it comes to international borders.

With their extensive expertise, a freight forwarder ensures that all your shipping items and documents are in place. Each requirement should be met.

The process of moving cargo to freight locations can be daunting, especially if you have no idea about freight transport protocols. In that case, a renowned freight forwarder can provide you with ease.

The bottom line is, prioritizing the services of your freight forwarder before the price is paramount.

Final Thoughts on Freight Forward

Having the proper skills and knowledge to navigate freight forwarding regulations is the central part of making your shipment business successful.

As much as important it is to understand what freight forward is, the hassle-free transfer of goods via an agency relies on its services.

That said, freight forwarding depends on having reliable people whose commitment to customer satisfaction and excellence ensures that your products reach their final destinations on time and efficiently.