Freight forwarder : definition, role, functions, and tools for the transport of goods

The world of freight transport is complex and requires a multitude of processes and formalities for the goods can be delivered safely and effectively. This is where the freight forwarder, a key actor of the supply chain. In this article, we will explore in detail what is a freight forwarder, its mission and role, as well as the important tools it has available to facilitate the transport of goods.

What is a freight forwarder ? Definition:

A freight forwarder, also known as the transport agent or customs broker, is an enterprise specialized in the organization, management and coordination of the various elements needed for the international transport of goods. Its role is to ensure the smooth running of the logistics operations, ensuring that the goods arrive at their destination in a timely manner and in accordance with the regulations in force.

Qu’est-ce qu’un transitaire

Missions and the role of the freight forwarder:

The freight forwarder plays an essential role in the transport of goods by providing various missions, such as :

  1. Organisation du transport: Le transitaire est chargé de trouver les itinéraires les plus appropriés pour le transport des marchandises, en tenant compte de plusieurs facteurs tels que la distance, les délais, les coûts et les réglementations en vigueur.
  1. Management of the customs formalities: The freight forwarder takes care of all customs formalities necessary for the import or export of goods, ensuring that all necessary documents are completed properly and submitted to the competent authorities.
  1. Documentation: Le transitaire est responsable de la préparation de divers documents essentiels, tels que le connaissement ou le "bill of lading", la facture commerciale, la liste des obligations du transita

It is important to mention that there is a difference between a freight forwarder agent and freight forwarder. While the freight forwarder agent acts on behalf of his client and shall be liable, the freight forwarder acts in his own name and does not assume any legal responsibility direct to the carrier.

Différence entre transitaire mandataire et commissionnaire de transport

Difference between freight forwarder agent and freight forwarder:

The 7 functions of a freight forwarder:

The main functions of a freight forwarder include :

  1. Organization and management of transport-road, sea or air.
  2. Management of the customs formalities and required documents.
  3. Audit of the compliance of the goods with the regulations in force.
  4. Cargo tracking and resolution of potential problems.
  5. Management contracts of marine insurance.
  6. Coordination with the various stakeholders, such as the carriers, brokers and customers.
  7. Regulatory monitoring to ensure compliance to the laws and customs obligations.

Formalities and obligations of the freight forwarder:

As a key player in the transport of goods, a freight forwarder must comply with certain formalities and obligations, such as :

  1. Establishment of the bill of lading or the "bill of lading", a contractual document is essential for the transport of goods.
  2. Preparation of the packing or of the "packing list", which describes the nature, quantity and quality of the goods transported.
  3. Obtaining the certificate of origin of the goods, which attests to its country of origin.
  4. Preparation of the commercial invoice, which determines the commercial value of the goods.
  5. Respect of the obligations as a freight forwarder licensed customs, such as the payment of duties and taxes customs duties and the submission of required documents.

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