There is a difference between Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers, but often they can perform the same role for the client.
What Is A Freight Forwarder?
Transporting goods from their production site to the final destination can be a complex undertaking. Freight Forwarders concentrate on the logistics and physical transportation of cargo internationally. Logistically, Freight Forwarders are multi-modal and they arrange for the transportation of a shipment via truck, plane, ship or combination thereof. Generally the Freight Forwarder acts as the “travel agent” for their client to move their cargo and facilitate the entire trip to include paperwork and documentation.
Freight Forwarding is one of the common activities within the Canadian logistics industry and as globalization continues to grow so does this industry. Most international Freight Forwarders in Canada are members of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), which is an internationally recognized professional association. Always verify that that your Freight Forwarder is a member of CIFFA. Members are required to carry minimum liability insurance coverage and must adhere to standard trading practices and responsibilities for Freight Forwarders.
In addition to arranging transport for the goods, Freight Forwarders can also offer services which include:
- Customs entry clearance
- Trade documentation
- Insurance maintenance, and
- Supply chain management
Be sure when selecting a Freight Forwarder that you are clear on what they offer for services and what they charge for those services.
What Is A Customs Broker?
A Customs Broker can be an individual, partnership, association or corporation licensed, regulated and empowered by the government of the country in which the goods are being imported. Generally Brokers submit the necessary information and make the appropriate payments to the government on behalf of their clients. They must have expertise in the entry procedures, admissibility requirements for all the various government departments and agencies, classification of the goods, valuation and the rates of duty and applicable taxes and fees for the goods to be imported. Customs Brokers can recommend to their clients the most efficient means for clearing goods through the red tape of governmental entry rules and regulations.
In addition to the tasks aforementioned, Customs Brokers can assist with:
- The coordination of Customs exams
- Customs bonds
- Duty drawbacks and reconciliation
- Advice and guidance with government audits.
Some Customs Brokers offer Freight Forwarding services in addition to storage of goods.
Are Freight Forwarders And Customs Brokers The Same?
Often the role of the Freight Forwarder and the Customs Broker can overlap and be interchangeable.
For the importer or exporter it is important to understand the role of the representative you choose with respect to:
- Negotiating the freight
- Overseeing the shipping schedules
- Mode of transport
- Who will be overseeing the necessary import documentation
- The clearance process with the applicable Customs agency
In addition, you need to be diligent your representative is an expert in ensuring that shipments are compliant and move as smoothly and efficiently as possible from origin to destination.
Pacific Customs Brokers And PCB Freight Management
Pacific Customs Brokers offers brokerage services into Canada and the United States. While PCB Freight Management offers transportation logistics and storage of your shipments. If you need assistance with Customs Brokerage or Freight Forwarding do not hesitate to contact our team for service with experience.