Register a Freight Forwarding Business in Rotterdam: Procedure & Documents

Ready to launch your freight forwarding business in Rotterdam? From paperwork to tax intricacies, streamline your business registration journey with our dedicated support. Speak with our business formation experts today to register your business.


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    freight forwarding business in rotterdam


    Are you a budding businessperson interested in Europe’s thriving logistics industry? Rotterdam provides an ideal setting for starting a freight forwarding company because of its advantageous location and busy port. The largest port in Europe, Rotterdam, is ideally situated for freight forwarding companies as it provides access to global trade. Due to its advantageous location, logistics operations are made easier and have access to important markets throughout Europe and beyond. In addition, the Netherlands has an atmosphere that is favourable to business, with laws and facilities that encourage entrepreneurship.

    This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of registering your freight forwarding company in Rotterdam, highlighting legal requirements, necessary documents, business structures, licenses, tax considerations, and more. Let’s dive in!

    Step-by-Step Guide to Registering a Freight Forwarding Business in Rotterdam

    1. Choose a Business Structure

    Your company structure determines your legal framework and tax implications. Here are the most common options:

    Sole Proprietorship 

    A sole proprietorship is the easiest to set up and provides the least amount of liability protection.


    Shared ownership and responsibility, require a partnership agreement.

    Limited Liability Company (BV) 

    A Limited Liability Company (BV), the most popular choice, allows for a clear separation of assets for personal and business usage.

    2. Select a Business Name

    Select a name that accurately represents your company and may be registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel – KvK).

    3. Register Your Business

    Visit the KvK website or a KvK office. You’ll need:

    • Articles of Association: This legal document outlines your company structure, management, and purpose.
    • Proof of Address: A lease agreement or utility bill for your registered business address.
    • Bank Reference: A letter attesting to your financial situation from your bank.

    4. Acquire Required Licenses and Permits

    Depending on your specific services, you might require additional licenses. Consult the KvK or legal counsel for guidance.

    5. Open a Business Bank Account

    Separate your business finances from your personal accounts for clear record-keeping and tax purposes.

    6. VAT Registration

    Register for Value Added Tax (VAT) with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst).  VAT registration thresholds apply.

    Key Documents for Registering Your Freight Forwarding Business in Rotterdam

    • Completed KvK registration form
    • Articles of Association
    • Proof of identity for directors/owners
    • Proof of address for registered office
    • Bank reference letter

    Licenses and Permits for Freight Forwarding Business in Rotterdam

    While a general business registration suffices for basic freight forwarding services, you might need additional permits depending on your activities:

    • Customs Broker License: Essential if you handle customs clearance procedures.
    • Environmental Permits: May be required for handling hazardous materials.
    • Specialized Permits: Certain cargo types like pharmaceuticals or live animals might require specific licenses.

    Tax Considerations for Freight Forwarding Companies in Rotterdam

    • Corporate Tax: Dutch corporate tax rates apply, with incentives for innovative activities.
    • VAT: VAT is reclaimed on business expenses and charged on rendered services.
    • Income Tax: Personal income tax rates apply to business owners’ salaries and dividends.


    Establishing a freight forwarding business in Rotterdam offers lucrative opportunities in the heart of Europe’s logistics network. Entrepreneurs can provide a strong basis for their companies by knowing the legal requirements and skillfully navigating the registration procedure. With regard to company creation and other services, OnDemand International is prepared to help, guaranteeing a seamless integration into the Dutch business environment. Take the leap today and tap into Rotterdam’s dynamic business ecosystem!


    Yes, non-EU citizens can set up a firm in the Netherlands by obtaining the necessary permits and meeting legal requirements.

    No, you can opt for virtual office solutions initially, although having a physical presence may be beneficial for certain activities.