How To Become A Freight Forwarder In South Africa

A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent, is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution.

How do freight forwarders get paid?

A Freight Forwarder can receive salaries ranging between R 419841.87 and R 1056254.43 based on the level of seniority. get an average salary of forty-seven thousand one hundred and seventy dollars every year. are paid at the highest level in Rhode Island, where they get an average salary rate of near R870212.19.

Are freight brokers rich?

Bottom line, becoming a freight broker or freight agent can be very lucrative but like I said at the beginning, this is not a get rich scheme but with the proper training, a good plan and hard work there is a wealth of opportunity available.

Why do freight brokers fail?

Failure 1 – Lack of Knowledge and Planning (Expertise) – It sounds simple, but the number one reason why people fail is because they lack freight broker business knowledge and will not take the time to learn this business. Many fail because of poor planning and a lack of knowledge.

Below are steps to Become A Freight Forwarder In South Africa

1The Freight Forwarder License Requirements

Freight forwarders are licensed at the federal level and must meet the FMCSA requirements in order to get licensed. These requirements are as follows:

Business and Tax Registration

In order to operate as a freight forwarder, you will need to register your business entity in the state in which you reside and operate. Business entities are typically registered with the Secretary of State.

In addition, you may need to obtain tax registration from your local Department of Revenue. Make sure to contact the Department to find out if you need a tax number to operate as a freight forwarder in the state. 


As a freight forwarder, you are required to meet several insurance requirements. Freight forwarders must at all times maintain a R 75565.49 cargo insurance for loss of or damage to property per vehicle, and a R 151130.98 for loss of or damage to property per occurrence. 

Your insurance policy (Form BMC-34) must be submitted to the FMCSA by your insurance provider within 90 days of you applying for your freight forwarder authority. 

In addition, if you plan on operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), you must also obtain bodily injury and property damage (BI & PD) insurance and environmental restoration coverage. 

2. Complete the Freight Forwarder License Application

To get started with the licensing process, you need to complete the online registration process for freight forwarder (FF) operating authority. The registration is conducted through the Unified Registration System (URS). 

During the registration process, you will need to complete form OP-1(FF). If you wish to obtain both types of freight forwarder authority (property and household goods), you can apply for both of them at that time but keep in mind that you will need to pay a separate fee for each.

If you need help with completing the online application for your license, see the detailed instructions for form OP-1(FF), provided by the FMCSA.

Licensing fees

The licensing fee per operating authority is $300. If you wish to obtain two types of authority, you can combine the fees into a single payment.

10-day Protest Period

After you apply for your operating authority, you will be issued your freight forwarder number. Your application for operating authority will also be published in the FMCSA Register. 

Once your number is issued, a 10-day protest period follows during which anybody who disagrees with your registration can protest against it by contacting the FMCSA. If no protests are made, your registration is secure

3. Provide a Surety Bond

Along with the insurance that you need to obtain once your FF number is issued, you will also need to provide financial security in the form of a surety bond or a trust fund in the amount of $75,000. 

Since trust funds are much more expensive, and create more complications for forwarders, freight broker bonds are usually a better option for fulfilling this FMCSA requirement.  

To get a R 1133482.36 freight forwarder bond you only need to pay a premium which is equal to a small percentage of the total amount of the bond. 

Applicants with a good credit score of 700 FICO or higher can pay as little as 1.25% of the total bond amount. At this bonding rate, you will only need to pay R 14168.53 to get bonded!

This bond serves as a financial guarantee to motor carriers and shippers that they will be paid if you fail to comply with your contractual obligations.

4. Receive Your Freight Forwarder License

After you have completed the application form, provided insurance policies and a surety bond, and designated your process agents you will be issued your freight forwarder operating authority. 

Congratulations, you can now begin to operate as a freight forwarder!

5. License Expiration and Renewal

Unlike with other business license types, freight forwarder licenses do not expire yearly. Instead, what you must do is make sure that you update your records with the FMCSA anytime there are changes in your operations. Such changes may include your name, address or changes to the status of your authority.

While you do not need to renew your license, you are required to update your information every two years, even if no changes to your information have occurred. This is part of the biennial update requirement and there are fines associated with failing to do so.

How many freight forwarders are there in South Africa?

According to industry body the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), there are approximately 900 companies involved in freight forwarding, with a total employment 18,000.

Does a freight forwarder need a college degree?

Even though some freight forwarders have a college degree, it’s possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED. You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a freight forwarder. In fact, many freight forwarder jobs require experience in a role such as customer service representative.

What skills does a freight forwarder need In South Africa?

The key skills required by a freight forwarder are as follows:

Knowledge of local and international carriers and routes.

Ability to organize shipments.

Ability to use key IT systems.

Knowledge of foreign languages.

Mediation and negotiation skills.

Communication skills.

Ability to cope well with pressure and work to deadlines.

What are the duties of a freight forwarder In South Africa?

What does a freight forwarder do?

considering and planning the most effective route for freight.

organising the transportation of freight between intermediate destinations – usually cargo terminals, port facilities or railway yards.

tracking the movement of freight using software and satellite technology.

Is Freight Forwarding a stressful job In South Africa?

These days, almost every job can be stressful, and freight forwarding is absolutely not an exception. However, despite the negatives (real or perceived) freight forwarding can be a very enjoyable job, especially because of its variability and the opportunity to deal with people from so many cultures!

Is there money in freight brokering In South Africa?

Looking online, freight broker incomes range widely from R648744.85( to R 1414858.02 per year ( In this article, we’ll break down why this is, what freight brokers make in different locations, and whether starting a broker business or becoming a freight broker is right for you

What is a freight forwarder example?

A forwarder does not move the goods but acts as an expert in the logistics network. For example, the freight forwarder may arrange to have cargo moved from a plant to an airport by truck, flown to the destination city and then moved from the airport to a customer’s building by another truck.

Is it hard to become a freight broker In South Africa?

Taking freight broker training won’t prepare you for the auto transport industry just as taking auto transport broker training definitely won’t prepare you for the general freight industry. As far as difficulty goes, being a freight broker is hard work.

How big is the freight forwarding industry?

The market size, measured by revenue, of the Freight Forwarding Brokerages & Agencies industry is R2194.42bn in 2021.