Freight forwarding is an operation of managing the transport of goods on behalf of a client. A forwarder can be a company or a person (also called a transit agent) working for this company. Its function is to ensure the movement of goods from one customs territory to another. A transit order, provided by the state, allows the client to authorize the transit agent to clear goods through customs. A freight forwarder can be an agent, i.e. bound to his client by an agency contract: the client gives him the power to act in his name and on his behalf.
He can also be a commission agent: he acts as an intermediary by organizing the transport, which often requires successive modes of transport and is remunerated by commission. The transit agent has the freedom to choose the modes of transport adapted to the routing of the goods. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things you need to know about being a forwarding agent.
What is the role of a transit agent?
His role can be summed up in a few words: shipping goods worldwide and ensuring that they arrive at their destination in the best conditions and on time. He carries out, on behalf of the client, all the administrative and legal formalities: he collects, verifies and draws up the import-export and shipping papers, the customs declarations and the various certificates and contracts.
He is in charge of organizing the transportation of the client’s goods by choosing the appropriate means. He has an obligation to inform the client of the progress of the operations and to propose solutions in case of problems.
Why use a forwarding agent?
Few small and medium-sized companies have the in-house expertise to handle transit operations: ensure that deadlines are met, and anticipate possible obstacles. They must call upon the services of a specialized intermediary: the transit agent.
The transit agent acts as an advisor and assistant to the client on the movement of goods between two customs offices or from one customs territory to another. The company is thus relieved of several tasks (for example, multiple contracts with transport companies, whether maritime, land or road) while having control of all its shipments. The forwarding agent is its only interlocutor and point of contact.
Becoming a forwarding agent: what studies?
You must have a professional baccalaureate in Logistics Management or Transport Operations to start your career as a forwarding agent. But it would be better if you have a BTS in Transport Management and Associated Logistics or in Transport and Logistics Operations. With a baccalaureate + 3 years of study, you will be able to manage a team or be in charge of a forwarding department.
Knowledge of computers and English are necessary to practice the profession of forwarding agent. In France, you can find specialized training centers that provide training specific to the profession:
- École Supérieure Commerce in Rennes (currently Rennes School of Business)
- Kedge business school (Bordeaux)
Is it possible to create one’s own transit company?
It is possible to create a freight forwarding company with a certificate of professional competence in road freight transport (BTS Transport – DUT Gestion Logistique…) and an excellent knowledge of the regulations and operation of a transport company.
How much does a forwarder earn?
A beginning forwarder earns about 1500 € with possible bonuses. An experienced forwarder can earn up to 3000 € depending on experience. The forwarding agent’s job is open to the international market, and there is no unemployment. In general, it is a sedentary job, but you can travel and work anywhere in the world.
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