In the legal sense, the term "carrier" refers to a person who, as a merchant, transports sea freight and delivers it to the consignee for a fee. The basis for this is the so-called sea freight contract; in the context outside of sea freight, the carrier is the equivalent of the shipper. The commercial carrier is responsible for the transportation of the cargo by sea and is obliged to deliver it to the consignee properly, he owes the so-called transport success.
With the help of a bill of lading or unloading confirmation, this is confirmed by the carrier and to the shipper. Typically, a carrier also takes care of warehousing, but the task can also be assigned to the carrier or the forwarder based on division of labor.
In contrast to the freight forwarder, who "arranges" the conclusion of such freight contracts as a professional intermediary, the carrier is explicitly the acting agent for the actual freight transport.