What is the Freight Forwarding Process?

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The ocean freight shipping of a container from beginning to end occurs seamlessly and efficiently thanks to freight forwarding processes. This is because the freight forwarding process is tightly controlled and involves a high level of technology. How this occurs is through a step-by-step approach where there are many checkpoints and follow-up systems in place. The freight forwarders provide the shipment overseas in large ships that are designed to allow transportation for shipments of any size. Freight forwarding is highly organized and requires a great deal of processing and complexity.

A Mini Freight Forwarding Guide


Freight forwarding defines how shipments are directed across the seas. Ocean freight companies plot how shipments are managed internationally. They control the logistics as well as the pace of shipments between the exporter and importer.

What is the Freight Forwarding Process?

The freight forwarders facilitate shipping from exporter to importer through their understanding of international regulation. They know how to manage the shipment of goods according to company protocol and adhere to rules that make shipping more efficient. This requires a lot of documentation and paperwork, as well as logistics planning. They try to keep all shipments organized so that they arrive by the correct shipment date. The freight forwarding process requires a lot more than simple delivery, but also the management of cargo manifests, billing, insurance claims, and more.

Why is Freight Forwarding Beneficial?

These processes help for the expedient shipment of goods worldwide. It is incredibly difficult to ship items across the world, where containers can be easily confused for one another and shipments mixed up. Because of this, a very rigid system is set in place for the identification of each cargo item. The freight forwarder also charts out the appropriate routes and provides the best options for traveling across the ocean. They may incorporate other forms of shipping, such as ground and air shipments. This is because, while most of the cargo will go by sea, to receive the items at the docking bay, it has to be transported to the boat by land or by air. They coordinate all of these details behind the scenes and help businesses become successful due to their organization of much complex planning. With their dependability comes the ability for businesses to provide supply and demand for their customers. Freight shipping also provides safety and security, where all shipments are tracked and never lost.

Step One – Hauling Exports

The first stage of freight forwarding involves finding the location of the shipper to obtain the goods. This export haulage is then taken to the freight forwarder’s warehouse for preparation. Usually, a train or a truck may be used to take these items to the correct location. If it is a longer distance, a train may be necessary. A truck can take items to a docking warehouse for short distances. Based on distance, this can take anywhere between hours to weeks of ground transportation.

Step Two – Checkpoints

After the export haulage is picked up and taken to the freight forwarder’s warehouse, the items are then double-checked. This allows the freight forwarders to make sure the goods were delivered properly without any damage. If some of the items are damaged, the freight forwarder may cover the costs with insurance coverage. When some of the items go missing somehow, they may launch an investigation to find out what has happened.

Step Three – Export Customs Clearance

The next stage is crucial because these items have to gain clearance from the originating country before being shipped to the receiving country. The customs brokers perform clearance checks. They take down notes and provide details on all of the cargo. They review any documents that accompany the cargo and make sure everything is acceptable. The shipper and the exporter have an agreement already prepared for this step where they provide this service. Otherwise, the exporter has to use a customs broker service.

Step Four – Import Customs Clearance

After the first hurdle, the shipment must then go through import customs clearance. The country where the items are being shipped has its own regulations and authorities who also check the imported goods. They review custom documents and also identify whether or not the items are legal or up to regulation. It is not widely known that this stage begins before the cargo arrives. The freight forwarder has to perform clearance during transit, which helps cut down the amount of time it takes for the items to be cleared at the border. If it is not the freight forwarder who is performing this function, it is the customs broker who will clear the items before the cargo arrives at the docking bay.

Step Five – Arrival Management

Once the cargo arrives, it is then processed. The freight forwarder staff will manage the shipping documents and review them. The carrier bills, any damages, and anything else to note will be processed and managed according to the company policy. This is the responsibility of the freight forwarder alone as they let the exporter know the status of their goods and that it was shipped safely. The importer will be updated on the status of the goods so that they can set-up their delivery methods as the final step.

Step Six – Hauling Imports

Similar to the haulage of exports, this step takes the cargo from the warehouse to the final destination where the warehouse of the importer is. The freight forwarders either provide the ground transportation for these goods, or the importer is the one who sends their team to pick up the goods themselves.

Read More About Hauling Before and After Ocean Freight


If you are curious to learn more about what happens before and after freight shipping, you can read more about air freight. In addition to freight shipping are ground transportation and air transportation. A lot may be understood about a shipment by train or by truck, but not a lot is known about air transportation. You can read more information about how air transportation is executed on our website and find out whether this is a good option for you.

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