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How do I start a freight forwarding business?

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To start a freight forwarding business, become an expert in the international freight transportation business; develop solid administrative and communication skills; understand freight transportation documentation and regulations; and obtain required licensing and certifications, according to Vanessa Cross for the Houston Chronicle. It is also helpful to specialize in a particular mode of transportation.

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In the freight forwarding business, training is obtained on the job and through vocational schools, professional associations and courses offered by freight forwarding companies, explains Cross. To succeed as a freight forwarder, it is critical to communicate clearly, be an effective administrator and an excellent project manager. Freight forwarders must manage a large volume of paperwork, including bills of lading, letters of credit and customs documents. Knowledge of export regulations is also needed because freight forwarders must advise clients on the legalities of shipping particular goods across international borders.

The licensing required to become a freight forwarder depends on the mode(s) of transportation, notes Cross. For example, ocean freight forwarders must be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission. Freight forwarders often specialize in a single mode of transportation, such as air, rail, ocean and in-land waterways. There are freight forwarder associations for the different modes of transportation, which provide industry insight and networking opportunities.

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