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Understanding Freight Forwarding: A Comprehensive Guide

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Freight Forwarding is a term often heard in the world of global trade and logistics. But you might be wondering, ‘What actually is freight forwarding?’, ‘Who or what are freight forwarders?’. If this is you, you’re not alone. In the world of global trade, freight forwarding is a cornerstone, so we’ve created this guide to cover the basics and tell you everything you need to know.

Want to talk to an expert? If you have a specific question about freight forwarding that we don’t cover in this guide, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team (we’re Australia-based freight forwarding experts). Otherwise, read on, dear reader—this guide will answer all of the most commonly asked questions, from’ What is freight forwarding?’ to ‘Is it for me?’. We’ll also explore how we at Gava International, and other freight forwarding companies help with this process.

Pressed for time? Here's some fast answers:

  • What is freight forwarding: a service, the act of coordinating and ‘moving’ goods from one place to another, usually interstate or overseas.
  • Who uses freight forwarding? anyone who needs to move goods or supplies internationally (or sometimes nationally) for businesses.
  • What is a freight forwarder? A freight forwarder is the provider of the freight forwarding service for businesses with international or multi-national transportation needs. Think of them as your transportation organisers; they coordinate the whole process and liaise with all the associated suppliers.
  • What are the benefits of freight forwarding? Freight forwarding removes the complexity of international shipping. It offers a streamlined and reliable way to operate across borders and sees someone else take care of the process for you.
  • What is a freight forwarder’s main goal? A freight forwarder’s main job is to ensure that your goods arrive safely and on time at your new home. They navigate through the complexities of global logistics and transportation with ease, so that you can focus on your core business operations.
  • How much does freight forwarding cost? Find out quickly and easily for your exact scenario by getting in touch with us. We’ll get you a freight forwarding quote within 24 hours.
  • I have a specific question on freight forwarding I want to talk about? Get in touch with our friendly freight forwarding experts.


Now we’ll take a look at these basics of freight forwarding in more detail so you can better understand what freight forwarding in logistics is, what a freight forwarding service entails and whether it’s something you need.

What is Freight Forwarding in logistics?

Freight forwarding is a key service for businesses or companies that need to move goods across borders or overseas to conduct business.

The freight forwarding service acts as an intermediary between the company that needs to send or receive goods and the various transportation services that move these goods. The forwarder takes care of the process for both the sender and receiver and makes sure everything runs smoothly.

For the general consumer, business or company, freight forwarding is the service you book to ensure that your goods get from their place of origin to their destination smoothly.

Who uses Freight Forwarding services?

A freight forwarding service is usually used by companies or businesses engaged in international or multinational import and export or anyone who needs to move goods or products overseas or across large distances interstate.

Freight forwarding services are usually used by those who either have to regularly transport goods or supplies large distances, or who need to move bulk loads from time to time.

What method of transport does freight forwarding use?

Freight forwarding can use a number of different goods carrier options and methods of transportation. These can include any or a combination of air freight, sea freight (FCL and LCL), road freight, or railway freight. The forwarding process begins with the ‘shipper’ or freight forwarder and ends at the final destination. The freight forwarding company takes care of the entire process for you.

What is involved in Freight Forwarding?

Once you book a freight forwarding service, the freight forwarding process is completely taken care of by the freight forwarding company.

The freight forwarding process is all about ensuring a seamless transportation process for the customer (in this case, usually a business or company). Freight forwarding involves everything needed for the coordination and shipment of goods from one place to another using various carriers.

A freight forwarder uses their expertise to navigate the complexities of international shipping, including regulations, transportation modes, and logistics planning.

Want a quote or have a question?

Request a free freight forwarding consultation and quote with our team today. We come back with quotes within 24 hours.

Here’s more information on what the freight forwarding process involves:

What does the Freight Forwarding process involve? Here's how it works

To further understand how freight forwarding works, let’s take a closer look at the main steps of the process that freight forwarders manage. Their key goal is to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of goods.

Origin Handling

This involves collecting cargo from the shipper’s premises. The freight forwarder then inspects and prepares it for export at their warehouse. This step is crucial in determining the cargo type and contents, which will affect the subsequent stages of the process.

Export Haulage

Cargo is transported from the freight forwarder’s warehouse to the origin port or airport. This journey can involve multiple modes of transport and several logistics companies. The freight forwarder ensures that the goods are transported in a cost-effective manner, arranging transportation that best suits the type and size of the cargo.

Export Customs Clearance

Customs brokers handle the necessary documentation for your cargo to exit its country of origin. This is a critical step in the freight forwarding process. The freight forwarder works closely with the customs broker to ensure that all paperwork, including the commercial invoice, is correctly completed and submitted on time.

Import Customs Clearance

Before the cargo arrives at its destination country, paperwork is filed with the relevant customs department to ensure the goods can enter the country. This is typically handled by a customs broker in the destination country. The freight forwarder liaises with the broker to ensure that the cargo complies with the country’s customs regulations.

Destination Arrival and Handling

Upon arrival, customs handles and inspects the cargo. Quarantine inspection may be required by quarantine authorities, such as the Australian Quarantine Service. The freight forwarder coordinates with these authorities to ensure that the cargo passes inspection and is ready for final handling.

Import Haulage

The final leg of the journey involves transporting the cargo from the import warehouse to its final destination. This could be the consignee’s warehouse or another specified location. The freight forwarder coordinates with the land carrier to ensure that the cargo arrives safely and on time.

Who, or what, are Freight Forwarders?

Freight forwarders are the organisational wizard taking care of everything involved in the complexity of moving goods overseas. They act as the intermediary between the shipper and transportation services, navigating the logistics and legalities of international trade. They are more than just a transportation company; they are partners in your business, taking care of all the freight forwarding work and ensuring that your goods reach their final destination safely and efficiently.

Freight forwarders leverage established relationships with carriers—be it trucking companies, airlines, or ocean liners—to negotiate the best possible price for moving shippers’ goods along the most economical route. They also handle ancillary services related to international shipping, such as customs documentation and clearance, cargo insurance, and inventory management.

Think of freight forwarding companies as the ultimate logistics partners for businesses venturing into the global market or relying on goods or supplies moving great distances successfully, efficiently and seamlessly.

What role do Freight Forwarders play in supply chain management?

Freight forwarders are instrumental in optimising supply chain and logistics services for businesses. They provide essential logistics planning and management services, facilitating the efficient flow of goods across borders. Their role extends beyond that of a mere transportation company; they serve as a vital link in the global trade chain.

As logistics experts, freight forwarders offer a comprehensive suite of services to ensure smooth transportation of goods. They provide expert advice on all shipping aspects, including packaging, storage, and transportation, guaranteeing professional handling of your goods.

Freight forwarders are key to streamlining supply chains, leading to cost reductions and enhanced efficiency. By entrusting your logistics needs to a freight forwarder, your business can focus on its core activities, leaving the complex task of supply chain management to the experts. Thus, freight forwarders are more than just a freight company; they are strategic partners in your business’s success.

Want a quote or have a question?

Request a free freight forwarding consultation and quote with our team today. We come back with quotes within 24 hours.

Do Freight Forwarders handle sea freight?

While freight forwarders handle all types of cargo, sea freight is one of the most common modes of transportation they deal with. Sea freight is a cost-effective way of transporting large volumes of goods, especially for long-distance shipments. Freight forwarders have extensive knowledge of sea freight operations, including the handling of cargo, customs clearance, and dealing with port authorities.

Do Freight Forwarders handle customs clearance?

Customs clearance is a critical part of the service freight forwarders provide. Freight forwarders work closely with customs brokers to ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and on time. This includes the preparation of the commercial invoice, packing list, and other required documents. By handling customs clearance, freight forwarders help businesses avoid delays and penalties associated with incorrect or incomplete documentation.

What are the benefits of using a Freight Forwarder?

Using a freight forwarder can offer numerous benefits for businesses of all sizes. These include:

Cost Savings

Freight forwarders negotiate rates with transport companies and can consolidate shipments to achieve economies of scale. They are adept at finding the most cost-effective means of transporting goods, whether by sea freight, air freight, or land.

Time Savings

Freight forwarders handle all the logistics and paperwork, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations. They manage the freight forwarding process from beginning to end, saving businesses valuable time.

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Freight forwarders can handle shipments of all sizes and types, making them a flexible choice for businesses with diverse shipping needs. Whether you’re exporting goods or importing, they can tailor their services to suit your requirements.


Freight forwarders have extensive knowledge of the shipping industry and can navigate complex customs regulations and international trade laws. They understand the intricacies of the freight forwarding process and can guide businesses through each step.

Peace of Mind

With a freight forwarder handling your shipping needs, you can have peace of mind knowing that your goods are in safe hands. They ensure that all cargo contents are correctly declared and that all paperwork, including the commercial invoice, is correctly filled out and submitted on time.

Want a quote or have a question?

Request a free freight forwarding consultation and quote with our team today. We come back with quotes within 24 hours.

Gava International: Your Trusted Freight Forwarding Company

As industry leaders in freight forwarding companies, Gava International offers tailored solutions to meet your specific needs.

Our team of experts, backed by extensive knowledge and experience, is committed to ensuring the safe, efficient, and timely delivery of your goods.

We navigate the complexities of the logistics industry, providing seamless guidance throughout the freight forwarding process.

You can learn more about us and what makes us one of the world’s best freight forwarding companies, learn more about our freight forwarding service, or request a freight forwarding consultation and quote today to get started.

Freight forwarding is about making your life easier

Grasping the concept of freight forwarding and the role of freight forwarders is essential for businesses involved in importing and exporting goods. More than just service providers, freight forwarders like Gava International are partners in your business’s success, offering the expertise and services needed to navigate international trade complexities.

Whether you’re a small business shipping your first cargo or a large corporation with regular shipping needs, understanding the value of freight forwarders is key to successful and efficient global trade. You can trust Gava International to help you with your freight forwarding needs. You’ll soon see how much easier we make the whole process for you.

Simplify your process of moving goods overseas with Gava International

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or request a quote, and let us support your logistics planning and operations, ensuring your goods reach their destination efficiently and safely.

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