A good freight forwarder is one of your most important contacts when growing an eCommerce business.

Finding one on your own can be a daunting task, but don’t worry—you’re not alone anymore.

Here are our most recommended, tried, and tested freight forwarders to help you ship your goods overseas on time and intact.

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The best freight forwarders at a glance

In a hurry? Here are the best of the best:

Overall

4.9

Best for

Overall solution

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Forceget stands out as the best overall option for eCommerce businesses due to its wide range of services and user-friendly digital platform.

This simplifies the complex logistics of international shipping, helping you stay ‘in the know’ about exactly where your shipments are at all times, making it an ideal choice for most businesses looking to streamline their supply chain

Forceget’s global presence, with offices in the USA, Turkey, and China, ensures wide coverage and efficient operations. The all-in-one platform offers real-time tracking, instant quotations, and high-quality customer support.

Its combination of advanced technology and global reach makes it our top choice for eCommerce businesses aiming to optimize their logistics and supply chain management.

  • Digital Platform: Comprehensive digital interface for booking, tracking, and managing shipments with real-time data and analytics.
  • Global Offices: Strategic offices in the USA, Turkey, and China, ensuring extensive reach and local expertise.
  • 24/7 Online Tracking: Continuous shipment monitoring for complete visibility and control over logistics operations.

  • Extensive global network for reliable international shipping
  • User-friendly digital platform with real-time tracking and instant quotes
  • Excellent customer support with solution-oriented assistance
  • Potentially higher costs compared to regional forwarders
  • Complex initial setup for businesses new to digital logistics platforms

Overall

4.9

Best for

Industry expertise

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I’ve personally used Westbound for a number of years and have been highly impressed with their quality of service, but also with their top-tier industry expertise. Any time you have a question or concern, their helpful team is on hand to keep you fully updated.

With over 25 years of experience, they offer a deep understanding of various industries, ensuring tailored services that can meet the specific needs of a wide range of customers.

Their extensive range of services, including air, sea, and road freight, combined with robust customs brokerage, make them a reliable option for complex logistics requirements.

Their commitment to innovation is evident in their intuitive cloud platform, providing efficient management and real-time insights.

If you want to hear from the founder of Westbound, check out our podcast interview with him below.

  • Industry Expertise: Over 25 years of experience providing tailored logistics solutions across various industries.
  • Comprehensive Services: Wide range of services including air, sea, road, and rail freight, along with customs brokerage and 3PL services.
  • Intuitive Cloud Platform: Streamlined digital platform for booking, tracking, and managing shipments with real-time data.

  • Extensive industry knowledge and expertise
  • Owned/in-house 3PL warehouses give more control over supply chain
  • Wide range of logistics services covering all transportation modes
  • Advanced digital platform for efficient shipment management
  • Slower to offer payment terms than some other freight forwarders

Overall

4.8

Best for

Shopify sellers

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Flexport is Shopify’s preferred freight forwarding partner, making it the top choice for eCommerce businesses using this platform.

Flexport’s advanced digital platform seamlessly integrates with Shopify, simplifying logistics and supply chain management. Their end-to-end services, from factory floor to customer door, ensure efficient and reliable shipping.

Flexport’s platform also provides real-time visibility, predictive analytics, and tailored insights, helping you make smarter decisions and streamline operations. Their robust support and innovative solutions make it an excellent choice for Shopify sellers looking to scale their businesses.

  • Shopify Integration: Seamlessly integrates with Shopify, providing a streamlined shipping process.
  • Real-Time Visibility: Complete shipment tracking and visibility from origin to destination.
  • Predictive Analytics: Advanced analytics and insights for better decision-making and optimized supply chain management.

  • Preferred partner of Shopify, ensuring seamless integration
  • Comprehensive digital platform with real-time tracking and analytics
  • Robust customer support and tailored logistics solutions
  • May be more expensive compared to basic freight forwarders
  • Learning curve for utilizing all platform features effectively

Overall

4.8

Best for

Amazon FBA

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Unicargo is arguably the best freight forwarder for Amazon FBA sellers.

Their expertise in preparing and shipping goods to Amazon’s fulfillment centers ensures a smooth, compliant process, minimizing potential delays and complications.

Unicargo’s comprehensive service suite, from international shipping to customs brokerage and warehousing, simplifies logistics for Amazon sellers.

Their dedicated logistics managers and advanced digital platform provide real-time tracking and efficient management, making Unicargo a reliable partner for scaling your Amazon FBA business.

  • Amazon FBA Expertise: Specialized in preparing and shipping products to Amazon fulfillment centers, ensuring compliance and efficiency.
  • Dedicated Logistics Managers: Personalized service with dedicated managers to handle all logistics aspects.
  • Advanced Digital Platform: Provides real-time tracking, automated customs clearance, and inventory management.

  • Extensive experience with Amazon FBA logistics
  • Comprehensive range of services including customs and compliance
  • Personalized service with dedicated logistics managers
  • More focused on larger shipments, less suited for small, newer businesses
  • Initial setup and understanding of their digital platform may require time

Overall

4.7

Best for

Price comparison

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While not strictly a freight forwarder in its own right, Freightos is the best option for comparing freight forwarder quotes. It functions as an online marketplace where you can compare real-time quotes from a vast network of freight forwarders and carriers.

This transparency in pricing helps you make informed decisions, ensuring you get the best rates for your shipping needs.

Freightos’ user-friendly interface and robust features, like real-time tracking and instant booking, simplify the logistics process, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes looking to streamline their supply chain at the best prices.

  • Instant Rate Comparison: Access real-time quotes from multiple freight forwarders and carriers, enabling you to find the best shipping rates quickly and easily.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Comprehensive tracking tools that provide visibility over your shipments from origin to destination.
  • Digital Platform: An intuitive, all-in-one digital interface for booking, managing, and tracking shipments, enhancing efficiency and control.

  • Extensive network of carriers and forwarders for competitive pricing
  • User-friendly platform with real-time booking and tracking capabilities
  • Transparent pricing with no hidden fees, helping you budget accurately
  • Less personalized than smaller, niche freight forwarders
  • Some users may find the wide array of options overwhelming without prior logistics experience

How to choose a freight forwarder

Selecting the right freight forwarder can really help your eCommerce business’s efficiency and profitability. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed choice.

What is a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder is a company that arranges the shipment of goods from one place to another. They don’t usually own the transport means but act as intermediaries between you and the various transportation services (air, sea, road, or rail). Here’s what they typically do:

  • Coordinate Shipments: Organize the transportation of goods from the supplier to the final destination.
  • Documentation: Handle all necessary documentation, including customs paperwork.
  • Warehousing: Provide storage solutions if needed.
  • Insurance: Offer cargo insurance to protect against loss or damage.
  • Customs Brokerage: Ensure your goods comply with all import/export regulations.

Benefits of using a freight forwarder

Using a freight forwarder offers several advantages:

  • Expertise: They have extensive knowledge of international shipping regulations and processes, reducing the risk of delays and fines.
  • Cost Savings: Leveraging their network, freight forwarders can often secure better shipping rates.
  • Efficiency: They manage the complex logistics, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
  • Risk Management: They handle insurance and offer protection against potential shipping issues.

Choosing the right freight forwarder

When selecting a freight forwarder, consider the following factors:

1. Experience and Expertise

  • Look for a forwarder with experience in your industry.
  • Check their track record and client testimonials.
  • Ensure they have a strong understanding of the specific regulations and requirements of your market.

2. Global Network

  • Choose a forwarder with a robust global network to access the best prices.
  • Check if they have offices or partners in key locations relevant to your shipping routes.

3. Technology and Digital Tools

  • A modern, user-friendly digital platform can streamline your logistics operations.
  • Look for features like real-time tracking, instant quotes, and predictive analytics.

4. Customer Service

  • Look into the quality of their customer support.
  • Ensure they provide dedicated account managers and prompt assistance.

5. Cost and Transparency

  • Compare pricing but be wary of hidden fees.
  • Ensure the forwarder offers transparent pricing and clear terms.

Practical Tips

  • Start Small: Test the service with a smaller shipment to evaluate their reliability.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask potential forwarders about their processes, technology, and network.
  • Read Reviews: Look for reviews and testimonials from businesses similar to yours.

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Frequently asked questions

Freight forwarders can handle a wide variety of goods, including general cargo, perishable items, hazardous materials, oversized cargo, and more. It’s important to check with the freight forwarder if they have experience with the specific type of goods you need to ship.

Most freight forwarders offer online quote forms where you provide details about your shipment. Some platforms, like Freightos, allow you to compare quotes from multiple forwarders instantly.

A freight forwarder arranges the transportation of goods, while a customs broker specializes in clearing shipments through customs. Many freight forwarders offer customs brokerage services as part of their offerings.

Shipping times vary depending on the mode of transport (air, sea, road, rail), the distance between origin and destination, and any customs or regulatory checks. Air freight is typically faster than sea freight but more expensive. As a rough guide, expect shipments by sea from China to the US to take around 30 days, to Europe 35-40 days, and by air to either destination 7-14 days.

Cargo insurance protects your goods against loss or damage during transit. It’s highly recommended to get cargo insurance to mitigate the risk of financial loss from unforeseen events.

Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) are a set of rules that define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers for the delivery of goods in international trade. Understanding Incoterms is crucial for determining who is responsible for costs, risks, and logistics at various stages of shipping.

Most modern freight forwarders offer digital platforms with real-time tracking features. You can monitor the status of your shipment from origin to destination.

Costs can include freight charges, customs fees, insurance, handling fees, and other related costs. It’s important to get a detailed quote and understand all potential charges before shipping.

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Ben Donovan

WRITTEN BY

Ben Donovan
Ben is the founder of Brand Builder University and has a passion for helping normal everyday people create financial freedom by building successful eCommerce businesses. He lives in Manchester, UK with his wife and 2 children and loves to play sport and watch continual re-runs of The Office (US version, obviously).
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