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Who earns more: a freight forwarder or an international driver?

When we start looking for a job in the transport industry, one of the most important selection criteria is usually the salary. In addition, there are personal predispositions and the specificity of each profession. In this article we will answer the question: who earns more – a freight forwarder or an international driver?

Who is a forwarder?

A forwarder is a person responsible for organizing the transport of goods. Their main task is to coordinate transport and ensure that the goods are delivered on time and intact. They cooperate with many entities, such as truck drivers and transport companies. They also facilitate the flow of information between customs offices.

What exactly does a freight forwarder do?

In short, they are responsible for organizing transport, providing transport advice and preparing all documents and contracts related to transport. This is a profession that requires multitasking, strong communication skills and excellent knowledge of the industry. The forwarder is not only responsible for coordinating the transport of goods. They are also responsible for negotiating transport rates with transport companies, organizing insurance, and verifying customs documentation.

Forwarder salaries

Forwarders play a key role in the logistics industry, ensuring the smooth flow of goods and information. Their earnings vary and depend on many factors, such as the size of the company, the region of operation or the type of goods transported. Often, experience and negotiation skills have a significant impact on the final salary.

How much does a freight forwarder earn?

Many factors influence a forwarder’s salary. The most important are education, experience and scope of responsibilities. A person with a higher education degree in forwarding has an advantage over a graduate of a forwarding technical school. However, the key element is experience. The greater the competences and skills of the forwarder, the higher the earnings.

  • forwarder without experience: on average from PLN 4 190 to PLN 5 790 gross
  • forwarder with university degree: on average from PLN 5 170 to PLN 7 590 gross
  • experienced forwarder: earnings from PLN 6 010 to even PLN 10 000 gross

Forwarding technician or forwarder’s assistant – who earns more?

People employed in positions such as forwarding technician or forwarder’s assistant earn on average PLN 3 780 to PLN 5 400 gross. Sometimes a forwarder’s assistant might earn more due to their wide range of responsibilities.

International driver salaries

International drivers travel thousands of kilometres to deliver goods to various parts of Europe and the world. Their earnings reflect their responsibility for safe transport, but also the working conditions in different countries and the type of cargo transported. In some countries they can expect much higher salaries, especially where there is a shortage of qualified drivers.

How much does a truck driver earn in Poland?

Over recent years, truck drivers salaries in Poland have increased significantly. In 2022, the average driver salary was approximately PLN 7,671 net. Compared to 2018, when it was approximately PLN 3,500 net, there has been a significant increase.

International vs. domestic driver – who earns more?

Truck drivers on international routes can often earn more than those working only domestically. However, the exact earnings depend on many factors, including the route, length of service and driver skills.

Factors affecting driver salaries

  • country of employment: driver earnings may vary depending on the country in which they work
  • experience: experienced drivers can often receive higher pay
  • type of transported goods: some goods require special authorizations
  • number of hours worked: drivers working shifts or on longer routes can earn more
  • form of employment

Truck driver salaries

International drivers in different European countries can expect different pay levels. The mobility package has led to a certain equalization of wages, however in reality earnings have not yet been equalized on a European scale. The salary also depends on many factors, such as experience, the type of goods transported and the number of hours worked. In Norway, truck drivers earn up to approximately EUR 5 000 a month, which is a result of the shortage of workers in this industry. England offers salaries of EUR 30 000-40 000 per year, while in Denmark drivers can expect monthly earnings of EUR 4 500-6 000.

Forwarder versus professional driver – job comparison

  1. Job responsibilities:
    • forwarder: responsible for organizing the transport of goods, negotiating transport rates, controlling customs documentation and coordinating the flow of information
    • truck driver: responsible for the safe transport of goods, complying with road regulations and ensuring the good technical condition of the vehicle
  2. Job location:
    • forwarder: usually works at the office
    • truck driver: works mainly in the truck, moving between different locations
  1. Requirements:
    • forwarder: knowledge of logistics, ability to negotiate and coordinate
    • truck driver: ability to drive a truck, hold appropriate qualifications and licenses
  2. Salary:
    • forwarder: salary depends on many factors, such as the size of the company, experience or region
    • truck driver: earnings depend on the country in which they work, the type of goods transported, the number of hours worked and the form of employment
  3. Impact of technology:
    • forwarder: might be replaced by artificial intelligence which can automatically coordinate transport and manage documentation
    • truck driver: although technology is progressing, it is still difficult to replace a human driver in many aspects of transport

Labour market gaps and the impact of technology

Analyzing the above data, it is apparent that both the forwarder and the international driver can earn a good salary. The choice between these two professions should therefore depend primarily on individual preferences and competences. Despite progressing automation and development of technology, the transport market is still experiencing a shortage of truck drivers.

Driver or forwarder – which profession should you choose?

Drivers are difficult to replace with artificial intelligence due to the specificity of the profession, which requires not only driving skills, but also reacting to unforeseen situations on the road. On the other hand, a freight forwarder’s tasks are more routine and can be automated. As technology advances, such as artificial intelligence and optimization algorithms, freight forwarders may be gradually replaced by computer systems. As such, the forwarder’s profession may not be future-proof, while truck drivers will still be indispensable in the transport industry.