Customs Brokers vs. Freight Forwarders: What is the difference?
The process of importing or exporting goods to or from the United States can be complicated due to the laws surround such transactions. It is important to understand the difference between customs brokers and freight forwarders, if one is to engage in the business of importing and exporting goods.
What is a customs broker? Simply put, he or she is the primary agent for a person or company that imports products. The broker is the main point of contact with the U.S. Customs Service for the importer and is in charge of advising on the requirements and laws surrounding importation, as well as filling entry documentation, obtaining any necessary bonds, depositing import duties, securing the release of the goods to be delivered to the importer’s premises or warehouse. Overall, customs brokers play a vital role during the importation process to allow the good to enter the United States with the least amount of interference possible.
A customs broker is in charge of the importation of products, but freight forwarders have a different role. He or she helps with exporting goods from the U.S. to foreign markets. Freight forwarders should understand the laws surrounding the exportation of good from the United States, as to advise the exporter on the best course of action. It is also vital that a freight forwarder is familiar with the import laws of each country, as well as the quickest way to move the products from one place to another. As a freight forwarder, just as a customs broker, one is charged with filing all necessary paper work.
Customs brokers and freight forwards have very similar responsibilities even though they are representing different groups. One focuses on the importation of goods, while the other help with the exportation of products.