The legal definition of a freight forwarder is "a person holding itself out to the general public (other than as a pipeline, rail, motor or water carrier) to provide transportation of property for compensation." It does not include people who use transportation of an air carrier.
A freight forwarder must also fit several other qualifications to meet its legal definition. First, it must provide or assemble and consolidate shipments, and perform or provide for their distribution. Second, the law requires that it hold responsibility for the transport of its goods to its destination. Finally, the freight forwarder must use a carrier that is subject to jurisdiction under the appropriate subtitle.