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June 9, 2017
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Freight Forwarder International Cost Guide

Freight Forwarder International Cost Guide

A freight forwarder also referred to as forwarding agent or forwarder is a company or an individual, such as retailers or manufacturers that organize import and/or export consignment & works in the logistics & shipping sector. They will generally act as an agent as opposed to an active carrier i.e. they do not ship the merchandise themselves, rather they bond with international shipping companies to actually move your merchandise from its origin to destination.

That is, a freight forwarder is an intermediary logistics provider who works to ship consignments by means of asset-based carriers.

Thus, if they are not shipping your merchandise, what do they do & why might you require one?

Depending on your requirements, they can provide a complete range of services that include:

  • Prepare freight manifests
  • Prepare & record customs documents
  • Find & book freight space
  • Handle import/export duties & freight charges
  • Deal with freight insurance
  • Help with Incoterms rules
  • Make intermodal transport planning including pick-up & delivery
  • Find warehouse space
  • Find distribution center space

Forwarding agents can help with a few or the majority of the following costs:

20ft VS 40ft Cost of Shipping Comparison
CountrySea Port20ft Container Cost40ft Container Cost
AustraliaBrisbane
Melbourne
$4,700 USD
$5,3510USD
$8,530 USD
$8,745 USD
New ZealandAuckland
Christchurch
$4,700 USD
$4,450 USD
$6,365USD
$7,130 USD
CanadaVancouver
Toronto
$5,345 USD
$5,090 USD
$8,530 USD
$7,000 USD
USALos Angeles
New York
$6,110 USD
$6,110 USD
$8,150 USD
$8,275 USD
South AfricaCape Town
Johannesburg
$4,325USD
$3,815 USD
$9,300 USD
$8,910 USD
Hong KongPort of Hong Kong$4,580 USD$6,365 USD
GreeceAthens$5,345 USD$7,350 USD
CyprusNicosia$4,200 USD$5,470 USD




This is the actual cost that you will incur moving your merchandise from their starting point to their end point. This cost will differ depending on the distance, route, & mode of transportation. In general, most common sea routes & shorter distances are likely to be less expensive & less common, longer sea routes are more costly. Moreover, sea freight is the least expensive mean of transportation, followed by rail freight, road freight &  lastly air shipment being the most costly.

  • Port/Cargo Charges:

Port/Cargo charges are the cost associated with the loading & unloading of your merchandise at either end of your merchandise shipment.

Port charges: The costs associated with moving merchandise via sea generally referred to as the Port charges.

Cargo charges: These cargo charges comprise the costs associated with distribution centers, airports, etc.

  • The Custom Charges:

The customs charges are the cost of importing & sometimes exporting the merchandise worldwide between the countries. Your forwarding agents should be proficient to help you figure out the amount you need to give & to whom.

  • Consular Fees:

Consular fees are the costs linked with documentation that include documentary, notarial, & legalization fees.

  • Insurance Costs:

This is the cost associated with your merchandise insurance. The costs will differ with your mode of transportation, route, etc. The Marine insurance policy covers up the shipments via ocean, the air cargo insurance policy covers up the shipments via air & contingent freight insurance is a common insurance policy that covers up shipments by any & all modes which depend on what is specified in the policy.

  • Handling Fees:

Handling fees & charges are the cost you incur with handling, loading & unloading your shipments. The cost will differ with the weight & how dangerous your merchandise are to ship. That is more the weight or dangerous goods, the more you will have to pay.

  • Document & Administration Fees:

These are the fees that are usually charged by the forwarder agents directly & cover up the fee for giving the documents to the related shipping companies, governments, & other related parties. Additionally, these fees also cover up their cost of forwarder agents’ own expenses of operations & their revenues.

  • BAF & CAF:

BAF (Bunker adjustment factor) & CAF (currency adjustment factor) are the two other fees that you may incur. BAF refers to changes based on the price of the oil & CAF is based on alterations to currency threats against the US dollar.

  • VAT & other Taxes:

VAT & other taxes are more also being applied in addition to all of the above costs, depending on the starting & destination ports.

Air Freight Cost vs. Sea Freight Cost Comparison
CountrySea Port/AirportAir Freight CostSea Freight Cost
AustraliaBrisbane
Melbourne
$8,770 USD
$9,170 USD
$2,160 USD
$2,290 USD
New ZealandAuckland
Christchurch
$8,910 USD
$9,300 USD
$2,160 USD
$2,290 USD
CanadaVancouver
Toronto
$8,278 USD
$10,060 USD
$2,035 USD
$2,544 USD
USALos Angeles
New York
$7,260 USD
$5,730 USD
$1,845 USD
$1,400 USD
South AfricaCape Town
Johannesburg
$13,630 USD
$16,180 USD
$3,435 USD
$4,075 USD
Hong KongPort of Hong Kong$3,945 USD$1,015 USD
GreeceAthens$4,710 USD$1,142 USD
CyprusNicosia$4,965 USD$1,270 USD




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