It is imperative for cargo owners to know and equally understand the differences between a carrier and a freight forwarder and their responsibilities. This helps during the cargo claim lodging process. So cargo owners will not confuse the two and file a claim to a freight forwarder instead of the carrier and vice-versa.

Who is a carrier?

Generally, a carrier is a person or company that undertakes the professional conveyance of goods or people. In the maritime industry, carriers are shipping lines that use container vessels to ensure the sound delivery of consignments entrusted to them for delivery at the specified destination.

Who is a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer, or final point of distribution. They specialize in the arrangement of cargo shipments on behalf of shippers.
Typically, freight forwarders will provide a variety of supply chain services, including but not limited to the ocean or air freight transportation, Inland transportation from the origin and/or to the destination.
In terms of responsibilities/ duties.
The primary obligations of the carrier under international carriage of goods conventions are;                        

  • Taking over the goods
  • Preserving the goods during the voyage
  • Carrying the goods to their destination by a suitable means of transport.
  • Deliver the goods to the holder of the bill of lading.

The main responsibility of the freight forwarder is to arrange the movement of the cargo to its destination point. Apart from that, the freight forwarder must prepare and process the documents for international freight forwarding which include;

  • Preparing price quotations.
  • Informing about the freight prices, port charges, cost of special documents, insurance prices and the prices for handling the goods.
  • Providing recommendations for the best packaging for the goods to protect them during transportation.
  • Settling the packing of the goods, or placing them in containers at the port.

In conclusion, keep the differences between a carrier and a freight forwarder in mind when lodging a claim.