A Day in the Life of a Customs Broker

Without a customs broker, you may not be able to import or export shipments. If you run a business, this is obviously problematic.

That’s how important customs brokers are to business and the economy, and technological advances within the industry continue to improve the importing and exporting experience.

It’s a lot more than just delivering on time. For instance, a good customs broker would have strong knowledge of many industries, and know exactly what is required to make the process seamless.

Importers can experience some very costly challenges so they have to be aware of everything, from missing trademark licenses to counterfeit goods–not to mention contraband, those illegal goods that are smuggled into countries.

They utilize software programs and applications also provide the most recent rules and regulations pertaining to each country of import so that brokers know the exact documentation required, increases or decreases in duties or tariffs and more. This also provides complete transparency to customers.

Is A Customs Broker The Same As A Freight Forwarder?


Customs brokers work with a number of different professionals throughout the shipping industry, including a logistics manager and a supply chain manager. And technology is of significant importance to the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and cost savings of each shipment.

They provide critical information and required payments to customs for their clients. They are essentially the intermediary of the importer and the importing country’s governmental customs department, assisting both importers and exports to clear customs without complications or costly mistakes.

Customs brokers, all of whom must be licensed, are essentially the intermediary of the importer, and the importing country’s governmental customs department and assist both importers and exports to clear customs without complications or costly mistakes.

CAF Worldwide, a leader in freight forwarding services explains, “Attaining customs clearance is no simple task. Trade regulations vary from country to country; sometimes, they even differ from port to port. To compete in today’s increasingly global marketplace, knowledge and perfection of international trade practices are imperative. In the United States, there are only about 11,000 individuals licensed to handle the job.”

Freight forwarding is the logistical arrangement of transporting goods, only on a global level.  It includes things like tracking, negotiating, providing documentation and more.

Customs brokers are sometimes referred to as ‘travel agents for cargo’ and, while a customs broker isn’t the same as a freight forwarder, it’s not uncommon these days for freight forwarders to also be licensed as a custom broker.

Users of Customs Brokers

It is important to note that businesses and individuals are not legally required to use customs brokerages; however, these customs professionals eliminate uncertainty, save money and streamline the customs clearance process with great ease.

Customs brokers are often employed by independent customs brokerages. Freight forwarders often hire customs brokers or employ them in-house. Shipping companies, from couriers to air freight, will also use them to clear customs on their behalf.

Even a sole proprietor will use a licensed customs broker to minimize the risk and cost of importing goods into a country.

Especially when it’s international shipping, you need to work with someone who knows all the recent legislation and requirements. Don’t cut corners on this aspect, because mistakes can be too costly!