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HomeEducationCan anyone become a freight forwarder..??

Can anyone become a freight forwarder..??

So you want to become a Freight Forwarder huh..!!

Did you wake up one fine day and think “Hey let me become a Freight Forwarder”..?? Or have you been obsessing and dreaming about becoming one for a long time..??

So whats the deal.. Can anyone become a freight forwarder..??

Before that let’s consider the question as to who is a Freight Forwarder and what do they do..??

A Freight Forwarder is someone who undertakes to handle the movement of goods from point to point on behalf of the cargo owner..

The essence of freight forwarding is to ensure that the cargo is picked up from the seller and delivered to the buyer at the required place, at the right price and in the same condition that it is picked up from origin..

A freight forwarder will have the below capabilities :

  • experienced in all modes of transportation – road, rail, air and sea
  • store the cargo belonging to the clients at their warehouse (usually all big forwarders have their own warehouses)
  • arrange the distribution or “forwarding” of the cargo as per the instructions of their client
  • negotiate freight rates with the shipping line
  • book the cargo with the shipping line as per the requirement of the client
  • prepare bills of lading and associated shipping/negotiating documentation (Eur1, Certificate of Origin, etc)
  • issue approved house bill of lading (House bill of lading)

Freight Forwarder

Ok, now to answer the question – Can anyone become a freight forwarder..?? Theoretically the answer seems to be YES.. 

As long as one is able to fulfill above duties and the client is satisfied with their credentials, anyone can term themselves a Freight Forwarder..

While the big boys in freight forwarding might have their own infrastructure and facilities to handle above, there are scores of freight forwarders who don’t have their own infrastructure and facilities and outsource most of their activities..

They carry out all or most of the above mentioned activities as a 3PL Logistics provider whose definition includes freight forwarders, courier companies, companies offering logistics and transportation services on a sub-contracted basis..

A freight forwarder would need to register with the Local city/revenue authorities, Tax authorities etc which must be checked at the place of business operation as per local regulations..

In certain countries a freight forwarder may have to register himself with Customs, Port and other authorities like FMC (for shipments to/from USA) if he plans to issue his own House Bill of Lading, file his own manifest with Customs and issue his own Delivery Order to the consignee..

I mention certain countries because there is no global regulation concerning the issue of House Bill of Lading..

The term freight forwarder however, is being used quite loosely nowadays and a lot of the companies/people entering the logistics field term themselves a freight forwarder for lack of better understanding of their operation and what to call themselves..

What are your thoughts..??

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiarhttps://www.shippingandfreightresource.com
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Nice article, and I agree with Margy..while there is no technical schooling needed for 3PL freight forwarding, there is still a plethora of extensive details, legalities, structures, and hoops to jump through for any freight forwarder to be equipped with when dealing with major third party logistic operations and distribution chains. Our internal freight forwarder team members are some of the most well rounded professionals we have, because they are nearly self taught in all things distribution and 3PL: from warehousing fulfillment to pick and pack services and so much more.

  2. Just about anyone can try to be a freight forwarder, but if they don’t know what they’re doing and don’t have the proper international shipping industry relationships, they shouldn’t be trusted with anyone’s imports or exports and won’t last long. I work for a freight forwarder who has been in business for over 27 years and wrote a blog response to this blog:


    • Hi Jared, thanks for the references to my blog and the article in your blog..

      In this post, i have discussed this question on a legal basis..

      For example, not anyone can be a doctor or a lawyer.. One has to study for it and get recognised by certain institutions in order to practice as a doctor or a lawyer.. However for someone to become a freight forwarder, there are no such restrictions..

      As i mentioned in my article, any Tom Dick or Harry can call themselves a Freight Forwarder..

      But I fully agree with your comments that people shouldn’t just hand over their cargo to anyone who calls themselves a freight forwarder, but there are very many people among us who do not know how to choose a forwarder or a shipping agent and have been left in the lurch..

      Lets hope there will be more of an awakening reg this issue..

  3. After reading your post I get the answer of some important questions about the freight forwarding. It is a very useful blog for the people who do not have any knowledge about the freight forwarding. Thanks for sharing this informative post…………

  4. Hey,

    I’m a customs clearing agent, and I’m really positive about this blog….
    I want to work as an expeditor, tomorrow I have a job interview, please help me out, I know verything about BAF/CAF etc… but I haven’t got any experience with NVOCC, thanks in advance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Whilst anyone can become a freight forwarder, may I direct you to the list of additional essential knowledge required before contemplating this specialised industry –
    – The Law and legal requirements of Freight Forwarding
    – WCO for AEO and Trusted Trader requirements and origin Customs regulations
    – WTO for Trade Agreements
    – Air and Sea regulations on Dangerous Goods
    – Marine/transport liability for own risk
    – Incoterms and how they must be interpreted from a Forwarders view in relation to Customs/Banks requirements
    – thorough understanding of the terms and conditions of master and house bills of lading for air and ocean
    – GEOGRAPHY, origin/destination country knowledge of culture, terrain and regulations.

    • first of all, i totally agree with Mr Hariesh with can anyone start business like Fright Forwarder but if u want to success in this business or any business you must know who are clients or who are people that u provide them with ur services and this depend on your experience in this field , i think there is no course help you in it , also if u start business with new client it is not preferable to deal with 3 pl provider , also i noticed most of F.F get supported with Shipping line Companies which has a separate business in this field . there are clients dont want to deal with anew F.F Co or any F.F Co that not known , when F.F co was established for 10 year period it is asset to it so remember when start this business keep in your mind the first beginning is very hard , also u need huge budget , more knowledge a good marketing department


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