International Freight Forwarder: The secrets of a profession that moves Europe

The international freight forwarder is a key link in the supply chain. The term ‘freight forwarder’ originated from the Italian word “spedizione” (meaning “shipment” or “parcel”), with its roots tracing back to the 15th century. It was during this time that warehouse law and forced road transport were introduced, mandating the storage of goods in cities under this obligation, leading to delays. This created the need for the role of a ‘pseudo-purchaser’, whose task was to send cargoes in their own name but at another’s expense. Today, the fundamental premise of the profession remains unchanged, but the methods and scope of responsibilities have evolved over the years with economic and technological growth.

What does an international freight forwarder do, and what are their responsibilities? 

The primary duties of a freight forwarder include organizing and overseeing the transportation of goods on an international scale. Freight forwarders are responsible for negotiating contracts, determining routes and schedules, and ensuring that goods are transported safely and efficiently from point A to point B. 

“Finding the best transportation solutions for our clients.” – Lukasz – Branch Manager, Wroclaw 

One of the most important duties of a freight forwarder is to ensure the compliance of transportation with international law. This requires detailed knowledge of customs procedures, tariffs, safety regulations, and other aspects of international goods transportation. A freight forwarder should be in constant contact with suppliers, recipients, and regulatory bodies to ensure the smooth flow of the process.

“We take care of customer service and organize transports for them, including coordinating the creation of transport documents and customs clearances.” – Michal – International Forwarder


Beyond these fundamental responsibilities, freight forwarders often also handle problem-solving issues that may arise during the transportation process. These can include delays, loss or damage to goods, or documentation problems. In such situations, the role of the freight forwarder is to find quick and efficient solutions that minimize the impact of these problems on the transportation process.

“Organizing transports, maintaining relationships with clients and carriers, negotiating rates, overseeing current transports.” – Adam – International Forwarder 

What are the requirements and qualifications for this profession? 

Working as an international freight forwarder requires extensive knowledge and skills. Foremost, knowledge of international transportation regulations, as well as the ability to negotiate and manage logistical processes, is essential. 

Another important requirement is an understanding of import and export regulations. Freight forwarders must be familiar with the customs and trade laws of various countries to coordinate the transportation of goods correctly and efficiently. They are obliged to stay updated on any changes in these regulations. 

Additionally, a freight forwarder should have strong interpersonal skills, as their job involves constant contact with many different parties involved in transportation. An ability to solve problems and make decisions under time pressure is a significant asset. Furthermore, freight forwarders must have good communication and negotiation skills. This is crucial for communicating with clients, carriers, and other entities involved in the transportation process. The ability to negotiate contracts and resolve issues that may arise during transport is also important. 

firma spedycyjno-transportowa

The requirements that are most important according to Euro24 freight forwarders: 


Foreign languages 


Negotiation skills


Communication skills 


Analytical skills


Organizational skills


Knowledge of the industry and regulations

“Willingness; commitment; English language + other languages; stress resilience.” – Marcin – Branch Manager, Katowice 

“You need to combine professionalism with a distanced approach to this profession. Don’t take anything personally and know that there is a solution to every situation (sometimes just more costly). Languages, charm, and negotiation skills are, of course, the basics.” – Krzysztof – Senior International Forwarder 

“Above all, knowledge of several foreign languages, at least English. Communicativeness is also required, as we talk a lot with clients and drivers.” – Kamil – International Forwarder  

What does a day in the life of an international freight forwarder look like? 

The typical day of a freight forwarder is filled with challenges and tasks. Work usually starts with checking the status of current shipments and communicating with suppliers and recipients. Next, the freight forwarder organizes and coordinates deliveries for upcoming deadlines, which often involves negotiating with transport providers and setting transport routes. 

Paperwork, such as filling out customs and transport documents, is a constant in a freight forwarder’s job. Monitoring international law regulations and staying updated with any changes that may affect the transportation process is essential. 

In addition to these regular tasks, a freight forwarder must be ready to solve any problems that may arise during the transportation process. This can include negotiating compensation for lost or damaged goods or dealing with delays and documentation issues. 

The workday of an international freight forwarder is not typical. By its very nature, it is a profession that requires constant adaptation to changing conditions. Every day is different, but they all have one thing in common: they are always full of challenges.

“Every day is different; every transport is different. Every day we face various problems. Delays on the road, traffic jams, hours-long loading/unloading, issues at customs, random situations with drivers, finding urgent solutions for critical shipments – this is our daily bread.” – Arkadiusz – International Forwarder 

“Checking if the planned transports from previous days are going according to plan, ongoing contact with clients and carriers, organizing transport documentation, and of course, facing the challenges, which are never in short supply in our industry 😊.” – Michal – International Forwarder 


Advantages and disadvantages of working as an International Freight Forwarder 

Working as an international freight forwarder has many advantages. First and foremost, it is a dynamic and challenging profession that offers opportunities for continuous development and learning. A freight forwarder has the chance to work with various people, companies, and products worldwide, which can be very rewarding. 

Furthermore, the profession offers attractive remuneration and numerous opportunities for advancement. Many freight forwarders also appreciate the fact that their work has a real impact on the functioning of the global economy. 

On the other hand, working as a freight forwarder also comes with certain challenges. Primarily, it is a demanding and stressful job, often under pressure. A freight forwarder must be prepared for frequent changes in regulations and problems that may arise during the transportation process. 





Cultural and language differences


Changing regulations and laws in different countries

“Disadvantages: Lots of stressful situations, working with often incompetent people on the other side of the screen/headset.” – Michal – International Forwarder 

“And the downsides – being always on call is included in this job.” – Lukasz – Branch Manager, Wroclaw 

“Unexpected problems or situations that you don’t anticipate.” – Krzysztof – Senior International Forwarder 

“Disadvantages: Every day is different – sometimes you wish for a change, a normal, more relaxed day. But not here.” – Arkadiusz – International Forwarder 



Lack of boredom




Satisfaction from successful transports

“Advantages: the opportunity to meet new people from different (mainly European, but not only) countries around the world, enhancing soft skills, building confidence.” – Michal – International Forwarder 

“This job shapes character teaches many things. We work with people, and that’s the most difficult material to work with. But it gives a lot of satisfaction.” – Lukasz – Branch Manager, Wroclaw 

“The job is never boring. Sometimes I handle large amounts (even if virtually), and there’s satisfaction when the list of cars is clear at the end of the day, and the money adds up.” – Krzysztof – Senior International Forwarder 

“The lack of monotony is an advantage.” – Marcin – Branch Manager, Katowice 

“Advantages: the thrill, never boring, satisfaction from results or organizing a complex transport, colleagues.” 😃 – Michal – Forwarding Assistant 

“Advantages: Every day is different.” – Arkadiusz – International Forwarder

The way forward for European Freight Forwarders

The profession of freight forwarder is extremely important for the functioning of international trade and supply chains. Dynamic market changes and the growing demand for specialists in this field mean that the prospects for freight forwarders are very promising. 

However, to meet these expectations, freight forwarders must be ready to continuously improve their skills and knowledge. They need to stay up to date with international law regulations, market trends, and new technologies that can impact the transportation process. 

Despite the challenges, the profession of a freight forwarder offers much satisfaction and opportunities for development. For those who are ready to take on this challenge, here are a few pieces of advice from Euro24 freight forwarders: 

“Don’t be afraid! Working in transport might not be for everyone, but you will surely manage!” – Michal – International Forwarder 

“There’s nothing to fear, the beginning might be difficult, but beginnings are never easy. Look up to and learn from more experienced freight forwarders, don’t hesitate to ask questions, and all will be well.” – Michal – Forwarding Assistant 

“Be patient, persistent. Start building your network of contacts from the beginning.” – Arkadiusz – International Forwarder 

“Think it over well 😀.” – Kamil – International Forwarder 

“Remember, once you enter transport, you’ll stay in it 😉.” – Michal – Forwarding Department Manager 

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