Understanding Freight Forwarders and NVOCCs

Activity FF NVOCC
    Freight Forwarders Non Vessel Owning Common Carrier
Shipper/Carrier Acts as agent to/for the shippers Acts as carrier to the shippers and shipper to the carriers
Associations Most recognized and global forwarders belong to an association of freight forwarders called FIATA (International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations)which is considered to be the global voice of freight logistics There are no such associations for NVOCCs on a global basis while there may be some localized groupings in different countries.
Shipping documentation Issues their own bill of lading and other shipping documents which is generally based on standardized documentation created by FIATA Issues their own bill of lading which may or may not be based on any global standard.
Containers Uses shipping lines containers and does not own or operate containers Some of the big NVOCCs own and operate their own fleet of containers
Warehouses Some of the big freight forwarders own and operate their own warehouses as a value-added service to their other shipping services Do not generally own and operate their own warehouses, however there are some big NVOCCs who also double up as freight forwarders (Expeditors International for example)
Networks There are several freight forwarder networks around the world who co-operate as network partners on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis in handling cargo all over the world Some of the big NVOCCs appoint agents at various ports pretty much like how shipping lines appoint agents at various ports to handle their commercial and operational requirements, especially those that own and operate containers
Agents/Partners May act as an agent for NVOCC Very rare to find an NVOCC acting as an agent for a freight forwarder
Liabilities Traditional forwarders are covered under freight forwarders liability as set out in the FIATA terms and conditions Traditional NVOCCs are covered under carrier liability as set out in the FIATA terms and conditions
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