Important Terms in Freight Forwarding
Freight forwarding is an essential part of the logistics involved with contemporary international trade, but it's not an area the average citizen knows much about. If you're attempting to employ a freight forwarding service, many companies offer free rate quotes on their websites, but first you should familiarize yourself with the terms and concepts used in the industry. What follows is a list of the most commonly used terms that might trip up the casual reader.
Freight Forwarder - An individual or company responsible for arranging shipments of containers from one party to another, domestically or internationally. A forwarder handles all logistics issues and ensures compliance with the law. They may or may not also act as a carrier.
Carrier - A company responsible for dispatching vehicles to transport cargo from one location to the other. This can be accomplished by sea, land, air, or any combination of these.
Customs Broker - An agent in the U.S., licensed by the Department of Treasury experienced in all aspects of customs clearance issues, including import and export licenses.
Customs Bond - Required by the U.S. Customs Service to ensure payment from importers. Also called surety bonds, these come in two types, single entry and continuous. The relatively cheap single entry bond covers a single transaction; the quite costly continuous bond covers all transactions by an importer at all U.S. ports during a one-year period.
Customs Entry - A form required for all containers entering the U.S., describing all incoming goods and all fees associated with it.
Cartage - The act of hauling goods from one location to another. This can encompass every method from trucking cargo on land to transporting via airplane.
Liner - A type of ship employed to transport large amounts of cargo across the ocean.