What is a Forwarding Company?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2019
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A forwarding company is a company which accepts goods for international shipment and arranges for their transport. The forwarding company itself does not have a fleet of trucks, trains, ships, and aircraft, but it has business relationships with companies which do, and it uses these relationships to facilitate transportation of goods for its clients. Individuals can use forwarding companies, as can companies which need assistance with international shipments.

The work of a forwarding company is about much more than making shipment arrangements. These companies also handle storage, including special needs storage such as climate controlled storage. In addition, they process the paperwork necessary to go through customs and satisfy any requirements from the originating or destination countries. Forwarding companies also track shipments, provide mechanisms for claims in the event that there is a problem, and provide similar services.

One advantage to using a forwarding company is that every aspect of the shipment will be handled by the company. Shipping internationally can be extremely complex, and if mistakes are made, shipments may be held up or returned. Forwarding companies ensure that goods move quickly through shipment with no hold ups on the first try and their expertise can also make the overall process much faster. Byzantine paperwork which might take an average person a day to get through can be quickly finished by a forwarding company because the personnel are familiar with all the steps and needed information.


Some forwarding companies provide services such as dropping off shipping containers at homes or business so that people can pack them and then picking up the containers for shipment. Some may also offer packing services. Many people making international moves use the services of a forwarding company to ensure that their goods arrive intact and as quickly as possible. Such companies can also be useful for businesses which are not large enough to be able to maintain accounts with major shipping companies.

Before using the services of a forwarding company, it is a good idea to get reviews and recommendations. Many nations do not regulate companies which advertise themselves as offering freight forwarding services, which means that customers can end up in the care of a company which does not have experience or is engaging in fraudulent activity. Major shippers may recommend forwarding companies they work with, and other sources of recommendations can include embassy personnel as well as other people or businesses which have had need of a forwarding company in the past.


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