One of the first freight forwarders on record is the now obsolete Thomas Meadow’s and Company Limited of London, England. The enterprise was established in 1836 and was acquired by Rockwood International Freight, Inc. in 1989. The beginning of dependable rail transport and steamships created the demand for the then booming freight forwarding industry. New world trade configurations developed between Europe and North America, creating additional demand. The first international freight forwarders were actually inn keepers in London who held and re-forwarded the personal effects of their hotel guests.
The ground-breaking advances of a freight forwarder at that time were to arrange for the movement of customers’ goods by contacting with various carriers. The carrier’s household tasks included advice on all documentation and customs requirements in the country of destination. The agent overseas looked after the customers goods and kept them informed about milestones that would affect the movement of goods.
Today, the forwarder still carries out those same responsibilities for the customer. The forwarder still operates as either a domestic carrier, communicates with an agent overseas or with their own company or branch office.
As the evolution of freight forwarder transpired enter a man named Malcom Mclean. Mr. Mclean invented containerization as we know it today. Without containers and container shipping, global trade would not exist. Read entire article here.
Take a look at this video courtesy of Freightdawg.com…Its pretty interesting.
[Sources – wikipedia, freightdawg.com, you tube]