Forwarders are natural persons who organise the shipment of goods for a customer and concludes a forwarding contract. Thus, they are providers of transport services and serve as an intermediary between the sender and the transport service provider. They can either commission a freight carrier with the transport or execute it themselves. In many cases, they are responsible for the transport themselves and thus assumes the role of both the forwarder and the freight carrier. This means they transport in their own name.
The rights and obligations of forwarders are regulated in the German Commercial Code (HBG). Their tasks include, among other things:
- Determination of the means and route of transport
- Selection of carriers to execute the transport
- Conclusion of contracts
- Customs clearance
- and much more
The occupational and professional titles “forwarder” and “forwarding company” are not legally protected and are not subject to any permit requirement. The German Freight Forwarders’ Standard Terms and Conditions (ADSp) generally form the basis of the occupation.
In practice, the terms forwarder/forwarding company, haulier, freight carrier and transport company are often used synonymously; however, they must be clearly distinguished from each other.