What Parties Are Involved In the Chain of Transport?

When it comes to transportation of goods by sea, there are 4 major parties involved in the chain of transport. There may be some confusion regarding the role each plays in the logistics chain. This is why it’s important to understand how each party is involved in the global shipping process.

This post discusses the main parties involved and their duties in the chain of international goods transport.


Overseas carriers be replaced by shipping lines / agents. It’s possible for a shipment to involve one or more carriers, especially if trans-shipments are part of the supply chain. Either a bill of lading or an air waybill is sufficient to cover this kind of shipment.

Forwarding Companies/ Forwarders

Freight forwarding companies are also known as forwarding agents, transit brokers, and freight brokers. When buyers or sellers cannot carry out the necessary shipment arrangements for their cargo themselves, they hire freight forwarding companies.

Forwarders can also act as customs brokers or clearing agents. They require the help of specialized network of agents and firms for customs formalities processing.

The ultimate purpose of a forwarding company is to ensure that cargo reaches its destination in optimum condition. Their work includes monitoring the shipment as soon as it becomes available, registering consignments with carriers, preparing the B/L, retrieving the consignments from the carrier’s agents, preparing all necessary documents, and distributing these documents according to their principals.

When it comes to airfreight, the operations of forwarding companies are similar to that for ocean freight. Forwarders act as consolidators for airfreight traffic. It is part of their duty to handle the interest for their customers.

They also have to verify the rates charged by specific carriers and to negotiate on behalf of principals regarding special terms when they cannot do it themselves. They might also be required to retrieve cargo and arrange for customs clearance.

Custom Authorities

Customs control plays an integral role in the ex-import of cargo. Customer authorities serve multi-fold purposes. Typical steps in customs clearance include document processing via the official customs office and spot-checks of goods to verify the cargo’s conformity with documents’ description.

To prevent illegal transactions, customs certifies documents to prove that the export of cargo is permissible. This exempts firms from paying internal taxes.

Customs authorities also keep statistical records of the quantities and value of shipment being traded in accordance with the destination and shipment type. For import purposes, they carry out similar list of tasks. The major difference is that they also collect import duties.


Insurers are also a significant part of the supply chain and hold all insured cargo against hazards of transportation. Contractual arrangements and separate insurance policies are used for this purpose.

Cargo Shipping International is a leading international freight forwarding company which services Australia, Africa, America, as well as the Middle East. Our list of freight forwarding services includes ocean and cargo freight, container transport services, and more.

Call us at +31 (0)85 4894740 to find out about our updated shipping schedules.