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What it takes to become a freight forwarder?

It is generally agreed that competition in the freight forwarding domain is quite high and there are many forwarders on the market claiming to provide shipping business owners with the best services. However, being a successful freight forwarder implies a series of important aspects and one of them is to join a freight forwarding network in order to get in touch with numerous potential clients. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a freight forwarder.


Step #1 – Learn more about the industry

The first step into becoming a successful freight forwarder in this domain where competition is quite harsh is to have vast knowledge about the international transportation process. Attend all training courses in case you are working at a freight forwarding firm and go to courses, workshops and seminars that professional organizations, vocational schools or some transportation companies provide in order to learn more about this industry and to keep up to date with the latest news.

Step #2 – Improve your communication and administrative skills

Whether you read books or you attend specialty seminars, it is highly important to develop your communication and administrative skills, since these are some of the most important ones that every freight forwarder must have. Keeping your clients in touch with everything related to their shipping businesses that you are handling is important, not to mention that you need to know how to manage and administrate them properly in order to benefit from the best results both for you and your clients.

Step #3 – Study the documentation thoroughly

Besides the fact that you have to understand what international transportation is all about, you also have to study the documentation and all the applicable regulations for every country where you perform your activity in order to be well informed about everything. It is worth mentioning that global transportation industry is document-intensive, which means that it involves a great deal of paperwork, such as letters of credit, bills of lading or other customs documents that freight forwarders need to handle.

Step #4 – Earn the necessary licence and certifications

In case you are interested in operating individually or a freight forwarding firm, it is recommended to secure the necessary accreditation, license and certifications. Make sure you go to the right organization and obtain the required certifications and licences in order to provide the specific services you want. Also, make sure you check whether you need other certifications or accreditation to apply for depending on the scope and type of your services.

Step #5 – Choose your specialization

If you want to succeed in this industry and to differ yourself from other freight forwarders, you should definitely consider developing a specialization and to opt for handling operations regarding certain types of transportation only. You can opt for air, ocean, rail or even in-land waterways for instance, but bear in mind that no matter what your choice is, ensure you are the best at it.

To conclude, these are the most important facets that need to be taken into consideration the moment one decides to become a freight forwarder.