Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders

Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders

Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders 

An international freight forwarder serves as an agent for the exporter and can move cargo from dock-to-door, providing several significant services.  

How can customs brokers and freight forwarders help exporters?  
 
Customs brokers assist importers in meeting federal requirements governing imports into the United States. Brokers are private individuals, partnerships, associations or corporations licensed, regulated and empowered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Customs brokers oversee transactions related to customs entry and admissibility of merchandise, product classification, customs valuation, payment of duties, taxes, or other charges such as refunds, rebates, and duty drawbacks. There are approximately 11,000 active licensed customs brokers in the United States. 
 
International freight forwarders are agents for exporters and can move cargo from “dock-to-door,” providing several significant services:      

  • Arranging for and tracking of freight from a domestic and international perspective; 

  • Arranging for and tracking inland transportation; 

  • Preparation of shipping and export documents;  

  • Warehousing; 

  • Booking cargo space;  

  • Negotiating freight charges;  

  • Freight consolidation;  

  • Cargo insurance 

 
Most freight forwarders are also non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) as well. Both freight forwarders and NVOCCs are licensed and regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission.  

You can locate a broker or forwarder on the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) website.  Additionally, the NCBFAA can provide exporters with information on their members: 
 
NCBFAA 
1200 18th Street, NW, 
Suite 901 
Washington, DC 20036 
Tel: (202) 466-0222 
 
Privately operated forwarder listing services, such as those below, can help to identify a local forwarder:   

Directory of Freight Forwarding Services       

 
Agricultural Freight Forwarders  

 
U.S. Census Bureau videos: 

What is a Freight Forwarder? Part 1 (3:31 mins) 

  • Pro Forma Invoice 

  • Help you Ship Economically 

  • Help you Ship Safely 

  • Ship in Compliance with U.S. export laws 

  • International Transportation Department 

 
What is a Freight Forwarder? Part 2 (2:33 mins) 

  • Letter of Credit 

  • Commercial Invoice 

  • Processing the Bill of Lading 

  • Finding a Freight Forwarder