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Transporters and forwarders

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNederlandse versie

If you want to send goods abroad or bring goods into the country, you can pay for the services of a transporter or forwarder. Transporters only transport your goods. Forwarders will take care of the entire process.

Transporter or forwarder?

Forwarders are middlemen. They will have your goods transported and take care of the entire process on your behalf. On top of transport, they will also arrange:

  • documents
  • insurance
  • storage
  • customs processing

Forwarders do not transport goods themselves: that is the job of the transporter (or carrier, as they are also called). Forwarders will arrange a carrier for you and enter into a transport agreement on your behalf. They can enter into transport agreements in their own name or in your name.

Customs brokers

When you import goods from or export goods to non-EU countries, there are special rules to keep in mind. You must therefore first declare your goods to Customs. Customs brokers can file these declarations for you.

Groupage services: cheaper transportation

Do you import or export small quantities of goods? Many forwarders offer groupage services at a discount rate. Groupage involves combining smaller shipments from multiple customers. The carrier can offer you a better price when they transport all these in one container or lorry than when they transport your goods separately.

Finding a transporter or forwarder

Looking for Dutch transporters that offer international shipping services? Industry association evofenedex has a database of carriers (in Dutch). You can search the database by mode of transport, destination, and specialism.

If you regularly ship large consignments to regular customers abroad, make long-term agreements with a transporter and try to negotiate a good price.

Looking for a forwarder? Check out this list of Fenex members (in Dutch), the trade association for forwarders.

Shipping goods yourself

Would you prefer to ship the goods yourself? In that case, it is important to be aware of the pros and cons.

Advantages of shipping goods yourself:

  • You are not dependent on a carrier.
  • You can offer installation services or other services along with the delivery of the goods.

Disadvantages of shipping goods yourself:

  • Private transport is often more expensive. A professional transporter transports goods for multiple customers (groupage services). They often pick up freight for the way back, making their services cheaper.
  • You would be responsible for the purchase and service of a lorry or other means of transport.

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