Forwarding order versus transport order - what is the difference?

25 August, 2022 |

When deciding to transport goods, we often do not realize how many formalities there are when organizing such an undertaking. The freight forwarder certainly has knowledge about it. So what does a forwarding order include, and what does a transport order include, and what is the difference between them? Let’s clear up the doubts.

Forwarding order – short description

The forwarding order is a simpler version of the forwarding contract. It can take various forms: by phone, e-mail or even verbally, but it is recommended that it be prepared in writing. At the time of damage and shortcomings during transport, it is the only document that may prove the correct operation of the Freight Forwarder. It contains all the information needed to organize the transport in question. In the forwarding order, we will find data on costs and payment terms, type of loading, securing it, etc.

Transport order – what is it?

The transport order relates to transport services and is concluded between the carrier and the customer. The order should contain information that it is a transport (transport) order, data on the remuneration due, loading and unloading dates, the type of vehicle and the definition of the rights and obligations of the parties entering the order.

Responsibilities of the forwarder and carrier

For some, transportation and shipping services may seem very similar. However, there are some differences between them. One of them is the current scope of application. The forwarding order includes all activities accompanying the organization of transport. The transport order, in turn, concerns only the matter of transporting the goods.


At the time of deficiencies due to improper performance of the transport service, there is also a discrepancy in liability for damage. In the case of a forwarding order, the Freight Forwarder is not responsible for the operation of selected carriers or subsequent forwarders (unless he performs the transport himself, then the carrier’s obligations shall be transferred to him). In the transport order, the first carrier takes responsibility for each subsequent one. We are dealing here with the so-called an extended form of responsibility. It is worth adding that the carrier’s liability is regulated by the transport law, while the role of the forwarder is controlled by the Civil Code. Hence, the carrier is responsible for the result of the transport, that is, delivery of the cargo to a specific place, and the freight forwarder is responsible for “failure to exercise due diligence”.

As you can see, the two forms of ordering the transport of loads from point A to point B are very similar to each other only on the surface. An in-depth analysis shows what the difference between forwarding and transport orders is.