Freight Brokers, Freight Forwarders and Forwarder-Common Carriers
“A broker does not have a role in the actual assembly or carriage of the goods.” Transportation Revenue Management, Inc. v. First NH Investment Services Corp., 886 F.Supp. 884, 886 (D.D.C. 1995).
A “freight forwarder” is defined at as
Both a “broker” and a “freight forwarder” may arrange for carriers to transport goods, but mere brokers do not play role in actual assembly or carriage of goods. A property broker arranges transportation of property by authorized motor carrier but is not permitted to act as a carrier, whereas a freight forwarder plays a role in the assembly, consolidation, break bulk, and distribution of shipments, assumes responsibility for shipment from receipt to place of destination, uses carriers subject to Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) jurisdiction, and may act as a carrier. Transportation Revenue Management, Inc. v. First NH Inv. Services Corp., 886 F.Supp. 884 (D.D.C., 1995).
A broker or freight forwarder who never actually handles the goods, is little more than a "travel agent. ABN Amro Verzekeringen BV v. Geologistics Americas, Inc., 253 F.Supp.2d 757 (S.D.N.Y., 2003).
However, a company that arranges to ship a customer's goods by truck and air and has a role in handling the goods is a "forwarder-common carrier," rather than mere "freight forwarder," and, therefore, owes the duties of common carrier. Royal Ins. Co. v. Fountain Technologies, Inc., 984 F.Supp. 724 (S.D.N.Y.,1997.