Freight Forwarder vs Broker: Know the Difference

Understanding the freight forwarder vs broker difference is key in making informed decisions and potentially achieving cost savings of up to 37%.

While both play massive parts in transporting your goods, they operate in different ways. 


What is a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder acts as a comprehensive logistics provider, taking physical possession of your cargo and managing its entire journey from origin to destination. 

Freight forwarder handles: 

  • Transportation: Arranging cargo space through various methods such as air, sea, and land, and negotiating competitive rates with carriers. 
  • Documentation and Customs Clearance: Completing export/import formalities, navigating complex custom regulations, and ensuring smooth border crossings. 
  • Cargo Storage and Handling: Warehousing and packing your goods securely for safe transport. 
  • Insurance: Providing basic insurance coverage for your cargo during transit. 

What is a Freight Broker?

Freight broker vs freight forwarder functions more as a facilitator, connecting you with suitable carriers and negotiating transportation arrangements on your behalf. Unlike forwarders, they don’t handle your cargo physically, acting as a middleman between you and the transportation provider. 

Benefits of a Freight Forwarder 

The benefits of a freight forwarder is that it streamlines your process with a single point of contact for all your shipping needs. 

These are the benefits of a freight forwarder: 

  • Making use of their in-depth industry knowledge and experience to minimize risks and ensure smooth operations. 
  • Customized solutions tailored to specific cargo types, routes, and timelines. 
  • Real-time tracking and updates on your shipment’s progress.

Benefits of a Freight Broker

A freight broker often has access to competitive carrier rates due to the extensive network, potentially saving money. 

These are the following benefits of freight brokers: 

  • Carrier Network: Access to a diverse range of transportation options through their established connections. 
  • Fast and Flexible: Fast sourcing of carriers for urgent shipments or specific needs, ensuring speed in your supply chain. 
  • Reduced Paperwork: Simplifying the process by letting the broker handle most communication and documentation with carriers. 

What is a Freight Agent?

A freight agent refers to both freight forwarders and freight brokers. In some cases, it may specifically refer to a company representing a feight carrier in a particular region. 

They essentially work as an extension of the carrier, promoting their services and managing sales within a specific area. 

What is a Freight Carrier? 

Freight carrier is the company that physically transports your goods via air, sea, or land. They own and operate the vehicles (ships, airplanes, trucks) needed to move your cargo from point A to point B. 

Carriers work with freight forwarders or directly with shippers to arrange transportation. 

What Are The Differences Between a Freight Forwarder vs. Broker?

Though they facilitate the same movement of your goods, they approach it in entirely different ways. 

Physical Cargo Handling

Freight Forwarder: Acts as a physical holder of your cargo, taking complete responsibility for its handling throughout the process. They arrange transportation, manage storage, and oversee customs clearance, essentially becoming an extension of your logistics department. 

Freight Broker: Functions as a way to connect you with a suitable carrier, but never physically interacts with your goods. They negotiate rates, compare options, and facilitate communication between you and the carrier, acting as a facilitator rather than a handler. 

Level of Service

Freight Forwarder: Offers a comprehensive service package, covering everything from transportation and documentation to insurance and cargo handling. They provide a one-stop shop from all your shipping needs, further simplifying the process but often at a higher cost. 

Freight Broker: Focuses primarily on arranging transportation, leaving tasks like customs clearance and insurance up to you, potentially saving you money but requiring more involvement on your end. 

Control and Visibility

Freight Forwarder: Provides greater control and visibility over your shipment. They handle most aspects of the logistics process, keeping you informed and offering real-time tracking throughout the process. 

Freight Broker: Offers less direct control as they act as a middleman. You;ll receive updates, but your involvement in managing the shipment might be higher. 


Freight Forwarder: Generally charges higher fees due to the comprehensive service they offer. However, their expertise and control can sometimes lead to cost savings through optimized routes and negotiations. 

Freight Broker: Typically charges lower fees as their role is more limited. However, additional costs for tasks like customs clearance and insurance can accumulate. 

Forceget: Freight Forwarder vs. Broker 

Forceget operates within logistics, offering solutions that might align with both freight forwarders and brokers. 

With Express and DDP/DDU solutions for urgent deliveries, cost-effective and secure options for any cargo size, 3PL services optimized for supply chain, expert team simplifying clearance and offers insurance, Forceget is the suitable option for your needs.