Is Freight Forwarder the Same as Carrier?

Freight forwarders and common carriers are two different shipping methods that can be used to transport goods. As there are benefits to each, it is a good idea to understand the differences so you can select the option that works best for your needs.

Common Carrier

A common carrier is either a company or a person that transports goods, but they do so at set rates and on set routes to move goods from origin to destination.

Hub and Spoke Model

Common carriers operate under a hub and spoke model to transport goods from one location to another. The location in which goods begin is the origin, while the location goods are to be transported to is the destination.

Under the hub and spoke model, a hub is a city while a spoke is the route taken to travel from city to city. At a hub, goods are offloaded from one truck and loaded onto another truck until they reach their final destination.

Cost Effectiveness

Common carriers utilizing hub and spoke models can be cost-effective as they are best suited for high volume, low weight freight like small packages.

Additionally, common carriers can offer lower rates because they move goods from city to city using established routes.

Common Carrier Risks

The hub and spoke model used by common carriers increases touchpoints, meaning the goods being transported are handled much more often. This can lead to a higher risk of damage occurring. 

Multiple touchpoints can also make it more challenging to pinpoint service failures, which may result in damaged or lost freight.

Lastly, because routes and rates are pre-established, the hub and spoke model reduces customizable options for clients.

Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder is either a company or a person that organizes shipments for either corporations or individuals to transport goods from an origin location to a destination location.

Typically, freight forwarders operate via contract with a carrier to transport goods.

There are trustworthy freight forwarding companies like Dedola – Import Freight Forwarder services that are reliable, easy, and fast.

Line Haul Approach

Freight forwarders typically use a line haul approach when transporting goods from origin locations to destination locations.

Once goods are picked up by the contracted carrier, which is selected by the freight forwarder, they are delivered to the closest line haul agent.

After the line haul agent has the goods, they are transported from the origin to the final destination city. Then, a second contracted carrier picks up the goods and delivers them to their final destination.

Highly Customizable Service

The line haul approach is highly customizable. Clients can select pickup and delivery times, liftgates, air-ride trucks, pallets, and more to ensure the shipment meets their unique needs.

Also, multiple modes of transport can be utilized such as rail, ocean, air, and ground. 

Fewer Touchpoints

Freight forwarding and the line haul approach lead to fewer touchpoints, more transparency during transit, and more accurate tracking information.