Freight forwarders are responsible for organizing and coordinating the transport of cargo from its point of origin to a specified end location. The freight forwarder manages contracts with manufacturers and uses all acceptable forms of transportation (such as trucks, ships, and airplanes) to ensure delivery is as quick and cost-efficient as possible. Freight forwarders are expected to negotiate for the most cost-effective carriers to move the cargo safely and efficiently; it is common for a forwarder to propose a bid to carriers to find the most suitable one to start the shipping process.
Freight forwarders generally work full time in an office setting, although they may also work in manufacturing locations where cargo is held. Many employers start new forwarders with on-the-job training to familiarize them with negotiation tactics, preferred route management, and various company policies. New hires frequently shadow a seasoned employee as well; additionally, they are evaluated on performance and standards regularly.
A freight forwarder generally must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent; however, many companies prefer a postsecondary degree in a relevant field. Good basic math skills and proficiency with basic computer programs are needed, and excellent communication skills are required as well. Geographic knowledge of relevant areas is beneficial.
Freight Forwarder Tasks
Communicate with customers picking up or dropping off cargo.
Perform freight transfers.
Inspect equipment to prevent damage or injury.
Load and unload cargo from pallets and containers.