Established in 1921, SAAFF is a national association with members throughout the Republic of South Africa. While it attends to matters of national interest, its constitution permits regions to form chapters of the association, to deal with local issues. The Association is a non-profit organisation governed by a constitution which provides for a board of directors, with a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.

Its directors are highly experienced, senior executives from member freight forwarding companies, who are nominated and voted for by these members. A CEO reports to the Board of Directors and manages and directs the association. Freight Forwarding plays an essential role in international trade and our members are dedicated to facilitating this activity through their involvement in the management of transportation, customs clearing, documentation, third party payments and many other elements of international supply chains. We call the freight forwarder the “architect of transport”. Globalisation and the need to reduce cost over the entire supply chain have re-focused the freight forwarder in ways that are innovative and functional.


To be the leading authority in the Freight Forwarding industry, achieving local, regional and international recognition.


To lead strategic initiatives that deliver successful outcomes through service, information and advocacy.


Service Excellence, Training & Education, Transformation & Innovation, Collaboration & Transparency, Integrity & Trust


Encouraging integrity, professional conduct, leadership and delivery of results.


The members make a major contribution to facilitating trade within South Africa.  Member companies manage over 80% of South Africa’s international trade.  The association is accepted by the authorities as the industry voice and is consulted by them on matters influencing freight management.


With an estimated nine hundred agents operating in the country, it is recognised that an industry voice is imperative.

SAAFF liaises closely with many government departments and parastatal institutions, dealing with matters such as customs, port health, trade permits, border controls, export control of perishable products, cargo handling and security at harbour terminals and airports, plant quality and road freight legislation.

The Association enables members to call on their collective knowledge and skills to determine and recommend practical and effective responses to the many challenges facing not only the forwarding and customs clearing industry, but also those affecting the commercial interests of their clients. This would be impossible to achieve by individual companies.

The Association is the vehicle by which agents who choose to become members can, in a cost effective manner, secure consistent and effective representation on forums which influence their business – so that technological and legislative developments do not compromise service quality and delivery, but rather enhance it, and that impediments to international trade are minimised.

In view of the international character of the freight forwarder, a close relationship with other freight forwarding associations is considered of vital importance, especially in a Southern African context.


SAAFF is a member of FIATA – the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations. FIATA is the largest non-governmental organisation in the field of international transportation and its influence is recognised worldwide. FIATA represents an industry covering approximately 40 000 forwarding and logistics firms, employing about 9 million people in 150 countries globally. SAAFF derives benefit from FIATA’s international standing, its participation in many trade-related world forums, and its knowledge of international forwarding affairs.


SAAFF encourages the highest level of moral and ethical conduct of its members. As freight forwarders and customs clearing agents, the services provided by members impact greatly on the success or otherwise of their client’s shipments, correctly completed declarations and documents, transit times, accurate payments to third parties, and a host of other factors within the international supply chain.

To this end, members are required to accept and abide by a Code of Ethical Conduct, to sign a certificate confirming this, and to display prominently a copy of such certificate in a public area of every office where they trade.