The role and quality of the forwarding agent leads to discussion. Although the Freight Forwarder's role as "transport architect" is generally limited to the organisation of transport and related aspects such as customs formalities, storage and receipt of goods for and on behalf of its principals, it appears that, in practice, the Freight Forwarder often carries out part of these activities himself. As a result of these practical approaches, the forwarding agent may, often unintentionally, be sued by his principal in a different capacity, with all the consequences in terms of liability that his entails.
Such discussions can often be avoided with high-performance general terms and conditions and their implication in practice. These conditions unequivocally define not only the obligations of the commissino agent, but also the arrangements concerning the scope of the commission, the associated liabilities and securities. Various sectoral associations, including the "Vereniging van Expediteurs Antwerpen" (VEA) and "Vereniging der Expediteurs Zeebrugge" (Verexz), have own general conditions for the sector. Also, FIATA documents often contain provisions of the Freight Forwarding Agreement.
The forwarding agent can insure his liability by taking out an AREX21 of TT Club policy. Whereas the AREX policy only covers the strict activities of a commission agent, the AREX21 provides for an extension of the activities described in the ABEV conditions, such as activities as commission agent, customs agent or freight handler.
Leeward assists freight forwarders in drawing up contractual terms and conditions and advises the logistics player on liability issues. Leeward further assists freight forwarders in all their disputes, both judicial and extrajudicial, with clients and actors in the sector.