Guide To Shipping & Freight Services

What Is A Freight Forwarder

Difference between freight forwarder and shipping agent

Individuals and other business premises organize their goods shipments through an organization by the name freight-forwarder. In some instances, a freight forward plays a freight carrier, or else they might opt to look for another option, for example, a third-party carrier. Freight-forwarders act as the medium between the carriers and the people who are shipping the goods. They can provide specific insights and assist the customers throughout the process, eliminating any issues that may arise from logistics. Freight-forwarders sometimes have additional offers to the customers, including paperwork assistance, packing, insurance coverage, and other services like custom clearing for shipping, especially in cross-border shipping.

What Is A Shipping Agent

An organization or an individual that takes the role of transporting and handling goods is known as the shipping-agent. It also takes the responsibility of defending the best interest of the customers. During the customer’s shipment process, the agent takes the responsibility of overseeing several critical tasks, including crew transfers, clearing customs, cargo transportation dispatch, and waste declarations. In other words, every freight-forwarder is a shipping-agent simply because they offer support services that complement cargo transportation from point to point. However, not all shipping-agents freight-forwarders since they vary in the operational concepts, especially when supervising the transportation process from point-to-point. On top of that, freight-forwarders are more prominent in size and have greater resource access than individual ordinarily shipping-agents.

Both freight forwarder and shipping agent deal with logistics in companies. However, the roles of a freight forwarder vary from those of a shipping agent. One of the best ways of differentiating a freight forwarder and a shipping agent is by defining the roles and responsibilities of each one of them.

Roles and responsibilities of a freight forwarding services provider

A freight forwarder Singapore agent mainly acts as the link between transport service providers and the owner of goods to be shipped. If you are a forwarding agent, your duties will vary based on the logistics company you work for. Below are the main functions of freight forwarding services providers.

  • Providing documentation and clearance services

A forwarding expert has to prepare all the required documentation for the exportation and importation of goods. They make sure that the owner of goods being transported has complied with the legal requirements.

  • Organizing for distribution, packaging, and warehousing of cargo

The forwarding agent is in charge of goods storage before they are exported or imported. With the best forwarding expert, you will be provided with the best cargo storage services before or after arrival while awaiting clearance.

  • Booking cargo freight space

One of the most significant roles of a forwarding agent is to ensure clients get cargo space mainly on airplanes or other modes of transport. You will find that forwarders focus on networking with transport service providers mainly air freight and sea freight to enable clients to import and export goods effectively.

  • Providing advisory services

Forwarding agents will provide you with information about the most reliable means of shipping your goods. Clients get assisted by forwarding experts to get affordable carriage by negotiating the costs involved in shipping cargo.

Roles and responsibilities of a shipping services provider

The main duties of a shipping expert include:

  • A shipping services provider works in the best interest of the customers by handling and organizing the transportation of cargo.
  • A shipping assistant recommends to clients the best means of transport mainly air and sea for cargo shipments. Based on the type and condition of goods you want to be shipped, you will need the help of a shipping services provider.
  • Tracking cargo movement

A shipping expert is in charge of monitoring the movement of cargo as they update the goods’ owners. Being a shipping services provider requires you to be well versed with the right routes and directions that different means of transport should take when delivering goods to customers.

  • Ensuring safe arrival of shipments

A shipping services provider closely follows up shipping matters until the cargo is safely delivered to the right clients. You should be provided with an invoice for your cargo upon arrival by a shipping expert.


Types of freight services

Sea freight

This is a category of freight shipping where goods are transported using ships and ferries. If you are on a tight budget, then this is the most affordable means of transporting cargo internationally. However, your cargo might take time to get to the destination as sea freight is slow. The LCL & FCL shipping comes into play.

You will find ocean freight shipments known as LCL consolidation services whereby cargo owners have to share with others the available container space. On the other hand, FCL shipping applies to the type of shipping where all goods loaded in a container belonging to one person. You can choose either LCL & FCL shipping based on the category of cargo you want to ship. A forwarding agent would be the right person to give more information about LCL & FCL shipping.


Air freight

air freight forwarder

This is the transportation of cargo using aircraft. It is the fastest way to transport goods thus being effective for those who want their cargo to reach their destination on time. However, air freight shipping is quite costly.


Rail freight service

rail freight

This type of freight service is used to transport bulky and dangerous materials. You will find this means of cargo transportation mode to be very pocket-friendly and efficient.


Types of shipping services

The shipping service providers offer different services to meet their customers’ needs. These are two main categories of shipping services which include:

  • Linear service

This applies to the types of ships that use only specified routes and schedules. It is a cost-effective way to transport small volumes of goods.

  • Tramp service

These are the types of ships used to transport large volumes of goods. It has no fixed schedule or regular routes.


Frequently asked questions

Question: What makes a good forwarding agent or a shipping expert?

Answer: You check the level of proficiency they have in their field and willingness to meet your needs.


Question: Which is the easiest way to differentiate between a forwarding agent and a shipping services provider?

Answer: You check the transport services they provide. A forwarding agent provides one mode of transportation while with shipping experts you will get intermodal transport means.


Question: How can I find more customers for my freight forwarding and shipping company?

Answer: Ask your loyal customers to refer other potential clients to your company. If you have a good reputation, you will get many new customers through recommendations.