Freight Broker vs. Freight Forwarder: What’s the Difference?

Freight Broker vs. Freight Forwarder: What’s the Difference?

The shipping industry is full of terms and acronyms that are easy to mix up or use interchangeably. For instance, freight broker and freight forwarder are two terms you may see used to reference the same service, but you certainly wouldn’t go to them for the same job.

What’s the difference between freight brokers and freight forwarders? Read below so that you know which service provider to contact for your company’s freight shipping needs.

Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarders are companies that are very actively involved in the physical transportation of shipments. The freight forwarder will handle storing, packing, and loading vehicles associated with your freight transportation. For instance, our freight transportation services can involve partnering with a freight forwarder to oversee international travel if that’s the most efficient solution. Now, let’s move on to the more managerial and logistical sides of the operation.

Freight Broker

Freight brokers work with a business that needs to negotiate freight transportation with shipping specialists. Think of a freight broker as a middleman who connects a business with a shipping service. That said, the freight broker is not an official partner with the company in the same way a 3PL is, though we will get into that difference more in the next section. So, when it comes to the roles of the freight broker versus the freight forwarder, what exactly is the difference? Whereas the freight forwarder is actively on the ground moving shipments, the broker manages the relationship between shippers and carriers.


Now that you know more about what separates the freight broker and forwarder, let’s address the differences between them and a 3PL. After all, it’s easy to mistake a freight broker and a 3PL at first glance because they’re involved with overseeing freight transportation, but they serve very different roles.

As mentioned above, 3PLs partner with a business to oversee their entire freight shipping operation. 3PLs are logistics specialists who help ensure businesses can allocate their shipping services to an experienced, resourceful team of professionals. That way, businesses can focus more on other areas of their company while 3PLs manage shipment delivery. Now that you’re more familiar with freight forwarders, brokers, and 3PLs, you can find the best professionals that your operation needs today.

What Can DTS Do For You?

Whether you're a company looking to improve one facet of your supply chain, your entire supply chain, or simply looking for a transportation and logistics consultation, we can help.

Get In Touch
Copyright © 2022 – 2024 , Diversified Transportation Services. All Rights Reserved