Freight Forwarder

What is a freight forwarder?


The role of the freight forwarder can be summarized as the care of the logistics and organizational aspects of the transport of goods. The freight forwarder may work independently, as an intermediary or on behalf of a client. Responsibilities cover areas from the successful flow of goods along the supply chain to the optimization of deadlines and operational flow involved in the transit of goods.

If a has a certain autonomy, he most often works as a subcontractor. The uses his technical know-how and experience to fulfill his missions. He has the decision-making power to determine the most efficient and economical transit solutions for goods placed under his responsibility. The may specialize in maritime, fluvial, road, rail or air shipping. He is under obligation to provide results for his clients and partners.

The profession of is regulated by legislation which defines his missions and provides the description of competences required.


The freight forwarder profile


Several qualities and competences are demanded for the many varieties of missions.

  • The term is used only in freight transportation. We can use the title autoshipper in the automobile sector. The transport of passengers (charterer, tour operator…) is a separate activity sector.
  • Specific competences are required in logistics, automation and telecommunications. They are complementary to the knowledge of one or several foreign languages, as well as, knowledge of the laws and regulations that govern the transport and logistics sector.
  • The forwarder must display the qualities of an analytical mind, nerve, flexibility and reactivity in face of changing demands and evolving needs.


Examples and practical applications


Requirements for the role of freight forwarder

The profession of is defined mainly by the codes of practice of the transport professions and by the regulations set forth by the Code of transport. There are several criteria for admission:

  • Must have a registered company number;
  • Must be registered on the list of freight forwarders;
  • Justify professional capacities: this involves a certificate delivered by the regional prefect. Proof of ten years’ experience as a senior executive or director in the given sector is preferable. In case of the contrary, the candidate will be required to sit a written exam. A superior education diploma in transport or management is considered;
  • A clean criminal record is obligatory.


The main tasks

The presence of a proves indispensable in overseeing the main stages of the logistics chain:

  • Planning and organization of transport conditions;
  • Provide an adapted solution for clients;
  • Creation and verification of transport documents for each stage;
  • Ensure transport tracking for optimal traceability.


Freight forwarder in figures


  • In 2017, the transport sector in France represented 707,777 jobs and almost as many temporary or permanent posts every year.
  • The average annual salary of a is approximately 29,000 euros in 2019.
  • With nearly 2% increase in 2018, land freight remains the leading mode of freight transit.


Regulatory basis


Regulation of 4 October 2007 relative to the application for registry of freight forwarders

Regulation of 21 December 2015, modified by the decree of 22 March 2016 (modification of articles 5 and 7)

Directive of 12 January 2016 relative to the list of competences, examination jury and model of professional certification permitting the practice of the profession as .