Do you know the difference and crossover between Freight Forwarding companies and Customs Clearance Agents? If you are preparing to ship goods abroad, it’s vital to know about both and their differences. A Freight Forwarder ships your goods, and a Customs Clearance Agent gets it past the border. Choosing a reliable, experienced, and trustworthy agent is essential to get your goods efficiently where they need to go. Every shipment delay costs time, money, and stress, so having the right agent in place can make all the difference. In some cases, like with Barrington Freight, the freight forwarder and clearance agent are the same entity, which can help streamline the shipping and customs processes. 

What Is a Custom Clearance Agent, and Do I Need One?

Every country has its own customs requirements relating to import and export clearance, so it’s essential to have a local expert on your team to streamline processes. But one common condition is that the Customs Clearance Agent – or customs broker as they are known in some countries – are accredited with local customs border agencies and authorities to get goods cleared and into the country. 

An agent should have a valid clearing licence when clearing customer goods, so be sure your agent’s credentials are up to date. Many countries have stringent licensing requirements subject to regular review – if agents don’t follow the rules perfectly, their licence is revoked. Some countries even hold exams to ensure agents maintain a high standard, although others prefer to review acquired experience.

  • Apart from lodging documentation with customs, a Customs Clearance Agent has other responsibilities and requirements to fulfil. The agent must:
  • Be a company accredited with the local customs authorities and border agencies.
  • Have in-depth knowledge of the codes, duties, and VAT.
  • Organises payment for duty and VAT.
  • Negotiate freight rates with carriers for clients.

What Are the Most Important Aspects to Consider?

One of the most significant traits needed of your Customs Clearance Agent is organisation skills. There is a great deal of paperwork to gain export and import clearance. The client, AKA you, will pay the ultimate price if anything during shipping and clearance goes wrong. Be sure your agent takes their job as the serious endeavour it is. 

Get Started

An agent is often specific to the country they are based in and deal directly with the local customs authorities. A Freight Forwarder has a global presence. We combine the two and have an in-house customs clearance department at Barrington, so you will not need to search around to find a responsible third party involved in proceedings; we will do it for you. The significant advantage to this is that we can handle everything for you and advise on the best course of action to get your goods cleared quickly and easily every time for your global trade activities. 

For more information about our customs clearance or freight forwarding services or if you have an unusual load request, reach out to our operations team on 01268 978660 or email [email protected].