What is a freight forwarder?
In the world of road haulage, the freight forwarder is the one who has to find must find the best solution to meet the customer’s needs. In general, this player is called upon to provide access to attractive rates and, above all, to the best possible service. best possible value for money. At the same time, the freight forwarder can also be called upon for more specific transports, requiring a certain know-how (handling sensitive goods, technical deliveries, etc.). Most freight forwarders work as independent professionals.
What's the day-to-day life of a freight forwarder?
Definition of a freight forwarder
Case law clearly defines the concept of freight forwarding as an “agreement by which the freight forwarder undertakes to the principal to perform (…) the legal acts necessary for the movement of the goods from one place to another…”. When a customer (shipper) uses a freight forwarder, the forwarder organizes the transport under his own responsibility and in his own name. It is an intermediary, organizer and manager of transport and logistics services.
In the world of TRM (Transport Routier de Marchandises), there are other professions quite similar to that of commission agent… But they should not be confused with each other! The broker, for example, does not draw up a contract for the acceptance and transport of the goods in his own name. The freight forwarder, on the other hand, is an agent responsible for carrying out transport operations in compliance with his principal’s instructions: he is not responsible for subcontractors unless he has selected them himself.
Rules governing freight forwarding: contracts and obligations
When you use the services of a forwarding agent, you must sign a commission contract. This document precisely defines the nature and purpose of the road haulage. It also specifies the terms and conditions of the contract, the obligations of each of the parties involved, and the prices agreed upon.
The freight forwarder is not only responsible for delivering goods from point A to point B. If necessary, he or she also takes on the work of inventory managementpackaging and warehousing, communication of information to the recipient management of traceability and all administrative formalities.
Like a carrier of goods, the commissionaire is bound by an obligation of result. obligation of result They must ensure that the goods reach their destination safely, and do everything in their power to avoid delays, damage or loss.
How do I become a freight forwarder?
In order to operate as such, all professionals mustregister as a freight forwarder. To do so, they must contact the DREAL, which is responsible for checking compliance with the conditions of access to the road transport professions (passenger or goods). This institution is an integral part of the regional and departmental prefecture to which each belongs.
At the same time, you must hold a attestation of professional competence as a forwarding agent (issued by the region) to ensure full compliance with the law. There are several possible routes to this profession:
- A level 3 diploma in transport (bac +2 equivalent) ;
- A level 3 diploma in business, law and accounting;
- At least 5 years’ professional experience as a manager;
- Successful completion of the annual national examination (4-hour written exam).
Professionals who choose the freight forwarding profession sometimes progress to positions such as customs brokerfreight forwarder or freight broker.
The essentials of a good TRM commission agent
A freight forwarder is an extremely versatile extremely versatile contact Not only does he know all the practices and regulations in the TRM world, but he also has a solid technical background, negotiating skills and an excellent sense of human relations. This tact must be put into practice with the many players in the supply chain, from shippers and drivers to operators and logisticians.
At the same time, the commissionaire has organizational skills unquestionable: faced with any request from a loader, it must be able to find solutions, while respecting budgets, deadlines and all the requirements of the specifications. Extremely rigorous in the way they operate and check the smooth running of each freight shipment, commission agents combine efficiency, productivity and method.
His or her knowledge is necessarily multi-faceted, since he or she is required to occupy a a cross-functional role in the organization of pallet, parcel or goods transport of all types. He or she must be familiar with customs regulations, international law, insurance terms and conditions (Ad Valorem, limit of liability) and, in the vast majority of cases, English. Finally, they must be able to respond effectively and calmly to emergency situations, which requires a strong capacity to withstand stress.
Choosing the right freight forwarder
Download our free guide and find out how to choose the right road haulage service provider:
- Select a carrier capable of meeting your needs
- Save money by choosing the right price
- Working with an environmentally-friendly professional