We often encounter the fact that the terms of transport and forwarding are used interchangeably. Nothing could be more wrong. So let’s take a closer look at the differences that exist between these services. Simply put, it can be said that transport is the transport of cargo from the place of receipt to the destination, while forwarding is an area that is strictly responsible for its organization. What are the more precise differences between the two issues?
Many transport companies offer their customers a wide range of services, which also includes forwarding. To get an idea of what the differences are, it’s helpful to explain it step by step.
The transport activity involves a service that consists in transporting goods from point A to point B. The transport is carried out with the available means such as road vehicles, ships, trains and even airplanes. In particular, international transport can take place in an intermodal form i.e. with the use of various methods and types of transport, such as, for example, covering part of the route by land, and the next party by air, i.e. reloading to an airplane.
Transport activity is, of course, associated with the fulfillment of strictly defined requirements. One of the key is to have professional competences that are documented in the form of a special certificate of professional competence. In addition, in the case of transport companies specializing in road transport, the company has its own fleet of vehicles that allow the transport of various types of goods and require drivers with appropriate licenses. The vehicles are made available for the transport of a specific load to the place indicated in the terms of cooperation. All the carrier’s obligations are focused solely on the safe transport of cargo to a specific place and time. The role of the transport company is therefore executive, it begins when the goods are handed over and ends when they are delivered.
A forwarding company usually does not have its own fleet of vehicles, so it bases its activity on cooperation with carriers, unless the organization combines both services as is the case with Euro24. As we mentioned earlier, transport concerns only the transport of goods, while forwarding is an area that covers a much wider range of legal and actual activities related to the process of organizing the transport of goods.
The forwarding services also include the services of preparing the shipment for transport, issuing a bill of landing, loading of the transported goods, or insurance of a given load for the period in which it is transported.
Moreover, the forwarder may also be responsible for escorting the shipment, declaring it for customs clearance, preparing a report on the condition of the shipment, but also organizing the storage of goods. The activity of a forwarder also requires cooperation with a number of other entities that also take part in the transport process.
As it is easy to conclude, the interchangeable use of the concepts of transport and forwarding is incorrect, but very often it is the so-called “to be or not to be” of shipping and transport companies as they depend on each other, and their cooperation is beneficial for both parties. Forwarding, dealing only with the organization of the transport process, does not have to generate additional costs related to the maintenance of the fleet, while the transport provided by the contractor does not take on the issues related to the procedures and additional personnel.
If a company combines both of these services, as it is in Euro24, it means that it comprehensively deals with every aspect of the customer’s goods transport.