Forwarder – the Professional of International Trade. Explained about the detail of Forwarder job.

General public may not be familiar with the word, “forwarder.” Only a few people understand what a “forwarder” is doing.

Certainly, I didn’t know much about an occupation, called forwarder, until I actually chose it as an occupation.

My understand was like this; it arranges for logistics, but I had no idea what exactly it would do.

Senior CatSenior Cat

It’s such an unfamiliar occupation in general.

So, this time, I would like to talk to those who are interested in the forwarder profession as an author, who has been a forwarder for eight years.

What is a freight forwarder?

Let’s look at the word, “forwarder,” on Wikipedia first.

A forwarder is a freight forwarding business operator that accepts freight from a shipper and accepts transportation, using transport means of other contractors (ships, airlines, railways, lorries, etc.).

Generally it refers to a freight forwarding business operator that handles international transportation.

Air freight forwarders (forwarders) specialize in air transportation, NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier, sometimes abbreviated as NV) specialize in marine transportation.

Senior SeagullSenior Seagull

So that’s it. It means a company that arranges logistics when sending the cargo to overseas.

That’s exactly the case. “DHL” and “Fedex” (these are also called courier) are world-famous company names, and as for Japanese companies, such as “Nippon Express” is famous.

Forwarder’s job is to control logistics

When sending goods, various processes are included to send cargos to overseas.

General process of international transportation

Examples of marine and air transportation processes:

・Packing cargo
・Loading the cargo on a truck
・Domestic delivery of the cargo
・Document confirmation and form application
・Export customs clearance
・Loading the cargo (port / airport)
・Marine / air transport (ship / airplane)
・Unloading of the cargo (port / airport)
・Notice to each ministry for some cargos
・Import customs clearance
・Pickup of the cargo at port
・Delivery the cargo
・Unloading of the cargo

Senior CatSenior Cat

It requires documents and the cargo are moving properly in each operation.

Troubles are inevitable accompaniments to international logistics

We affirm this. A cargo will not reach a destination with some troubles. This is 100% probability.

You may think that your luggage arrives without a big problem every time, but we, the forwarders, are the ones that solves problems behind the scenes.

Weather, vessel delays, documentation errors, strikes at the port, equipment problems at the port, customs clearance, etc. There are so many of factors can delay or stop shipments.

It is the role of a forwarder to avoid and adjust these causes as much as possible and deliver a cargo to a customer on schedule.

Good Forwarder has so much information to control logistics

Forwarders are those who provide services to transport customers’ cargo.

Service quality, rather than product quality, has a greater impact on the level of a forwarder.

The especially big factor is information.

Senior SeagullSenior Seagull

How can we do the best when we have a problem? A good forwarder has plenty of answers for the question!

Senior CatSenior Cat

Forwarders basically don’t have ships or planes. So, a cool forwarder can provide the best service to a customer, making full use of the information it has!

What qualifies a cool forwarder?

As mentioned above, forwarders are a service business. What is a good service that we can offer to customers as a company engaged in international logistics?

Here are the conditions of a cool forwarder that the author thinks.

Conditions for a cool forwarder

・ Has many options
・ Can provide optimal proposals tailored to customer needs
・ Easy to obtain a space for a ship
・ Transportation costs are lower than other companies
・ Explains risks to customers well
・ Uses full power to work on a solution when a problem occurs
・ Cargo does not stop at customs clearance
・ Makes correct application in accordance with laws and regulations

It is based on the competence of sales person and CS personnel

Unlike the manufacturing industry, the forwarder is a service industry. Therefore, the quality of service depends on the knowledge and speed of response of sales person and CS (customer service) personnel.

Rather than those who say they cannot do it right away from the beginning or those who give up if it is a little difficult, if there is a sales person, who will do his/her best to deal with a customer’s request, the customer will often follow the person.

Often, when a sales person changes jobs to a competitor, his/her customer follows the salesman.

This is because it more happens when the higher the level of a sales person that the service level lowers due to the change of the person in charge.

Senior CatSenior Cat

It is characterized by more individual influence than the name of a company!


If you are interested in the job of a forwarder, the author’s experience can promise that, with this job, you have numerous fighting chances that you will succeed..

Having a knowledge of trade and working hard to solve the logistics problems that occur at various sites will increase your experience.

The accumulation of these skills will lead to high evaluations from customers, so I would like you to take on challenges.