Freight forwarding

Every day the world’s airports, shipping lanes, train lines and roads heave with millions of goods making their way from exporters in one country to importers in another. Those in the freight forwarding business are the ones who carry this cargo to its intended destination on behalf of the companies that  export and import.

As well as organising the movement of goods, freight forwarders must also contend with clearing the goods through customs and the accompanying paperwork this often involves.  Naturally, successfully dealing with multiple legal jurisdictions requires a high level of organisation.

So what are the main areas of importance in the business of moving goods for A to Z?


Since forwarders are acting on behalf on behalf of their clients, their essential responsibility is to get the particular goods to a particular place in time and in good condition. While this may sound like a simple case of loading up the chosen vessel and setting off, there are actually a number of important details that need to be considered:

  • ·         booking the cargo onto the relevant shipping lanes, airlines, rail or road carriers
  • ·         preparing documents of carriage (a legally important document that acts as a receipt, contract and document of title)
  • ·         arranging relevant insurance
  • ·         ensuring that customs charges and levied incurred are as low as possible.

Customs and frontiers

Crossing into the legal jurisdiction of another country can involve a whole host of complicated issues. Going through UK border controls with certain goods for example, could mean having to deal with HMRC, the Rural Payments Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. On top of this, many products are the focus of specific licensing and control arrangements.  

For freight forwarders this means:

  • ·         they must always have readily available funds to handle their duty and tax payments
  • ·         they must have the software needed to communicate with HMRCs central computer system.

UK trade tariff

Also known as the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom, this tax sets out all of the duties and measures affecting the import, export and movement of goods into and out of the UK. The UK trade tariff acts to consolidate all of the UK specific data with that of the EU Integrated Tariff of the European Community (TARIC).

The UK tariff also contains:

  • ·         information on duty relief schemes
  • ·         contact addresses
  • ·         duty rate schedules and trade statistical descriptions
  • ·         guidance on freight procedures.

For anyone involved in the business of bringing goods into or out of the UK legal jurisdiction, including freight forwarders and their accountants, knowledge of this tariff keeps you from having any nasty and costly surprises.

International trade documentation

The global system of trade and cargo transport is built upon a large foundation of documentation. A huge part of a freight forwarders professional life is going to be taken up with making sure that the relevant documents are received and correct.

From initial contracts and instructions to legal documents such as the document of carriage (an air waybill for air freight, a bill of lading for sea freight and an CMR consignment note for road transit), a failure to keep track of the paper trail can lead to a whole world of international confusion.

We can help you make sure this doesn’t happen by offering you services that are suited to your business needs. From helping you manage your cashflow and profitability to putting the right internal processes in place to ensure more effectivity performance, contact us today to talk about what we can do for you.

You can call us on 01375 383 888, fill in our contact form or email



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RM17 5RY

Tel: 01375 383888
Fax: 01375 391672