Air Freight Forwarding

With the freight industry currently growing and expanding, there are plenty of jobs to be filled. One such job is that of a freight forwarder – you work with importers and exporters to secure freight.

But in order to work as a forwarder, you will need to get a freight forwarder license. To get your license you need to cover several freight forwarder license requirements such as getting a freight broker bond.

Read on to find out how to get your freight forwarder license or jump straight to the infographic.

What’s the difference between freight forwarders and freight brokers?

Freight forwarders and freight brokers tend to be confused for one another, but they actually do different things.

Freight brokers are the ones who make the connection between shippers of goods and carriers. They try to negotiate rates for shippers and secure good conditions and routes for carriers.

Freight forwarders are concerned with forwarding and handling freight from importers or exporters who are their clients. They store cargo, secure its transport to its destination via air, sea, or road, negotiate costs, prepare documentation, secure insurance, take care of port charges, and may even do customs clearance. I.e. freight forwarders handle the freight of their clients. For this reason, they are often also called cargo or freight agents.

How to get a freight forwarder license?

Depending on the type of transportation means they work with (sea, air, or road), freight forwarders need to get different licenses. Freight forwarders who work with trucks, in particular, must get their license at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Before getting started with your registration, you need to determine whether you will need a USDOT number. If you plan on functioning as a carrier as well as a forwarder, you will be required to obtain a USDOT number as well as Operating Authority (MC Number).

If you only plan on working as a forwarder, you will only need to get Operating Authority, and in particular – Freight Forwarder Authority (FF). There are two types of freight forwarder authority. Freight forwarding of household goods and freight forwarding of property. To get permanent authority in either category, you will need to pay a $300 filing fee.

As of December 2015, registering as a freight forwarder happens through FMCSA’s Unified Registration System (URS). During your registration as a freight forwarder you will be asked to submit the following:

  • A freight forwarder application form (contains your FF authority application)
  • An employer identification number (EIN) or social security number (SSN)
  • Company information
  • Applicant personal information
  • A USDOT number (if applicable)

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