Daniella Walter, Freight Forwarder at InterEast.
InterEast 20th of June 2023
Unlocking the Secrets of Logistics: What Does a Freight Forwarder Do?
Have you ever wondered about the invisible hands that orchestrate the seamless movement of goods across the globe? Enter the world of freight forwarders, the unsung heroes of logistics. From streamlining shipping processes to navigating complex customs regulations, these experts play a pivotal role in connecting businesses and consumers to products from all corners of the world. Whether you’re considering a career in freight forwarding or simply want to understand the value they bring to your business, join us as we answer the question “What does a freight forwarder do?”.
What a Freight Forwarder Do and How the Role is Defined
A freight forwarder acts as a logistics intermediary, facilitating the smooth movement of goods between different locations. Depending on the specific requirements, freight forwarders arrange land, air, or sea transport, or a combination of these. They also offer related logistics services, such as warehousing and administration. Additionally, freight forwarders can handle export and import customs clearance, as well as manage all necessary documents. While they may function as customs agents, it’s important to note that companies remain responsible for the information submitted to the customs authorities.
Key Responsibilities of a Freight Forwarder:
- Transportation planning.
- Documentation and paperwork handling.
- Customs clearance.
- Freight consolidation.
- Freight booking and negotiation.
- Shipment tracking and coordination.
- Risk management.
- Supply chain collaboration.
The Importance of a Freight Forwarder in Supply Chain Management:
Freight forwarders play a crucial role in optimizing supply chains by ensuring efficient and compliant transportation. They streamline shipping processes, reduce costs, and enhance overall supply chain efficiency. As a result, businesses can focus on their core operations and expand their global trade.
Interview with the Freight Forwarder Daniella Walter, at InterEast
We sat down with Daniella Walter, a freight forwarder at InterEast, to gain insights into the daily life of a freight forwarder, the qualities of a successful freight forwarder, typical challenges faced, and more. Let’s delve into her experiences.
How it All Started
“I didn’t plan on working in logistics; it sort of just happened. But when the chance arose, I took the leap and felt right at home from the get-go. And I haven’t looked back since,” says Daniella.
After several years in the clothing industry, she sought a new challenge. When an opportunity to work as a Logistics Coordinator at Schenker arose, she seized it. During her time there, she handled various responsibilities, such as managing road traffic, implementing new customers, planning supply chains for campaigns, and more. Seeking further growth after seven years, Daniella joined InterEast, attracted by the increased responsibility and freedom offered as a freight forwarder.
A Day in the Life of a Freight Forwarder at InterEast
Daniella describes her daily work as a dynamic experience, likening it to a mixed bag of candy. Each day begins by catching up on developments from the previous workday, which takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes. As a problem solver, Daniella faces challenges daily. While some days are meticulously planned, unforeseen issues like delayed trucks or paperwork complications require her expertise to ensure swift and professional resolutions.
“I didn’t plan on working in logistics; it sort of just happened. But when the chance arose, I took the leap and felt right at home from the get-go. And I haven’t looked back since”
How Does a Day at InterEast Differ from Similar Positions at Other Logistics Companies?
At InterEast, Daniella is fully accountable for the entire process, from order placement to delivery. This sense of ownership and responsibility provides her with the freedom to grow and influence the company’s operations. InterEast prioritizes personalized service and close collaboration with clients, setting it apart from other logistics companies. Daniella believes that passion, a proactive approach, and the ability to tackle challenges are key traits for freight forwarders to thrive.
How Freight Forwarders Benefit Customers
Freight forwarders offer several benefits to customers. Here is just a few good examples:
Streamlining the shipping process: By arranging transportation, consolidating shipments, and optimizing routes, freight forwarders streamline the shipping process, resulting in improved efficiency.
Ensuring compliance with customs regulations: With their extensive knowledge of customs regulations and documentation requirements, freight forwarders ensure that customers’ shipments comply with all necessary legal and regulatory frameworks, including international transportation with its varying country-specific regulations.
Managing documentation and paperwork: Freight forwarders handle complex paperwork involved in international shipping, relieving customers of administrative burdens. This includes managing bills of lading, customs declarations, and insurance forms.
Tracking and coordination of shipments: Utilizing advanced tracking systems and logistics software, freight forwarders monitor shipments and provide real-time updates to customers regarding their goods’ status and location. For instance, InterEast’s customer-first portal, Elise, offers a prime example of this service.
Providing expert advice and guidance: As industry experts, freight forwarders offer valuable advice and guidance to customers. They assist in making informed decisions about shipping routes, transportation modes, packaging requirements, and cost-effective solutions.
Becoming a Freight Forwarder
Becoming a freight forwarder doesn’t always require prior education or experience. Key qualities include willingness to learn and genuine interest. Progression opportunities exist, and essential skills include problem-solving, adaptability, and passion.
Education and Training Requirements
To become a trained freight forwarder, there are various university courses and vocational training programs available. However, it is also possible to enter the profession without prior logistics education or experience. The key is a willingness to learn and a genuine interest in the field. Examples of educational institutions offering logistics programs in Gothenburg, where InterEast’s Swedish office is located, are the University of Gothenburg and Yrkeshögskolan (University of Applied Sciences in Gothenburg).
Certification and Professional Development Opportunities as a Freight Forwarder
A career as a freight forwarder provides numerous options for growth and advancement. Starting as a junior freight forwarder, individuals can progress to become freight forwarders, senior freight forwarders, and even team leaders with the right experience and leadership skills. Depending on the company’s specific services, freight forwarders may pursue additional courses to expand their knowledge and expertise. These courses may include IATA education for air freight, customs training, and specialized training for handling dangerous goods in different transportation modes such as road, sea, air, and rail.
Skills and Qualities that Make a Successful Freight Forwarder
Daniella Walter, freight forwarder at InterEast, highlights the following skills and qualities that are essential for success in the profession:
- Problem-solving abilities and effective decision-making.
- Adaptability and the ability to work effectively under moments of stress.
- Strong prioritization and time management skills.
- Structured approach to work.
- Genuine passion for the field.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Quick absorption of information.
- Inherent drive to help others.
- Willingness to take responsibility.
Let´s wrap this up
In conclusion, freight forwarders are the architects of efficient and compliant logistics operations. By streamlining the shipping process, ensuring customs compliance, managing documentation, tracking and coordinating shipments, and providing expert guidance, they empower businesses to thrive in the global marketplace. With their expertise and dedication, freight forwarders like Daniella Walter at InterEast navigate the complexities of supply chains, enabling companies to focus on their core operations and expand their reach. So, the next time you witness the seamless arrival of goods at your doorstep, remember the indispensable role played by freight forwarders – the invisible hands that bridge the gap between you and the world of commerce.