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What’s the Difference Between a Freight Forwarder and a Freight Broker?

14 March 2017

The main difference between freight forwarders and freight brokers is that a freight broker never takes possession of the items being shipped. Whereas, the forwarder takes possession of the items being shipped, arranges the items into smaller shipments, and negotiates for the transportation of the consolidated shipments.

Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder is also known as a forwarding agent. Forwarders specialize in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of their customers. Forwarders take charge of merchandise and usually ship under their own bills of lading and provide preparation of shipping and export documents.

The forwarder can also be the carrier, agent, or third party of an individual or a company doing a business deal. The forwarder is also responsible for the bookings of shipment spaces for the transport of cargoes through ships, planes, trucks, or trains.


Freight Broker

A freight broker is considered to be the middleman that connects shippers and carriers and usually doesn’t issue bills of lading (BOL) with their name as the carrier. A freight broker’s  main function is to bring together a buyer and a seller. The buyer would be the shipper of the goods and the seller is considered to be the carrier. The broker negotiates the terms of the deal and handles much of the paperwork.

In other words, brokers make shipping arrangements to move freight belonging to someone else, using trucks that aren’t theirs. Brokers match available motor carriers to their clients’ transportation needs, whether truckload or less-than truckload and take care of the required documentation.


About Freight Retriever

Freight Retriever allows you to shop negotiated wholesale freight/LTL rates from a list of contracted carriers. Make freight/LTL as easy as shipping a FedEx or UPS package.  

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