Customs Broker: The Import Specialist
The Customs Broker is a highly-trained import professional. Licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Customs Broker must possess thorough knowledge of tariff schedules and Customs regulations and keep abreast of the amendments made through constant changes in law and administrative regulations.
The complexity of the job is evident when one considers that for every shipment entering the United States, there is an official greeting: 500 pages of Customs regulations and thousands of tariff items. The Customs Broker must be well-versed in determining proper classifications and dutiable value and be fully aware of the vast number of commodities subject to quotas. Many Customs Brokers help clients choose modes of transportation and appropriate carriers which require analysis of a vast body of data.
They also provide assistance to importers in assigning shipments the best routes. There are estimates for landed costs, payments of goods through draft, letters of credit, insurance and restrictions-delivery of cargo if there is more than one port of destination.
In dealing with Customs, the Customs Broker must be aware of any potential problem involving every entry item represented, including cargo handling. This includes all factors affecting appraisement, exchange rates and the many regulations concerning calculation of duties.
The Customs Broker's operations often transcend Customs, calling for contact with more than 40 other government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture on meat import questions, the Consumer Product Safety Commission on vehicle emission standards or the Food and Drug Administration on product safety.
Freight Forwarder: Transport Architect
The International Freight Forwarder is popularly known as the "Transport Architect." Ocean Freight Forwarders are licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). International Air Cargo Agents are accredited by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA).
The Freight Forwarding professional advises clients on the best rates, routings and modes of transporting goods to or from any area in the world. Using the vast resources at their disposal, Forwarders find the "right match" of services available so that products are moved by the most timely and cost-effective means. The large volume of freight handled by Forwarders gives them advantages not available to either individual shippers or integrated carriers.
The professional Forwarder is also aware of the ever-changing regulations affecting cargo movements, such as foreign documentation requirements, hazardous materials rules, U.S. government regulations, special packaging or handling restrictions and any applicable licensing provisions.
"Customized" services to fit the clients' operational needs are the Forwarder's specialty. Forwarders coordinate arrangements for storage, pick-and-pack operations, consolidations or full-container movements as well as inland transportation to provide clients with true door-to-door service.
From assisting with initial quotations or preparation of pro-forma invoices, to banking client's documents for collection, the full-service professional Freight Forwarder is the most reliable Partner one can have in International Trade.
"As published by the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc."