Differentiating a freight forwarder from a customs broker can be difficult for many business owners since they have many similarities with one another. Some think that they are two names for one profession, but they have different roles in the business of freight and shipping.
Freight forwarders are either agents or companies specializing in logistics and shipment organization. They take the place of individuals or companies that have no experience with such work to ensure that goods get to their destinations in top shape. Freight forwarders allow a business to focus on its work without worrying about the status of its goods. Freight forwarders advise how to best deal with the cost of transportation while ensuring that the shipment arrives on time and is secure.
Customs brokers serve as guides for both importers and exporters to meet the requirements needed by customs authorities. These private individuals or firms handle the documents required for shipping goods to ensure that the shipments are legal.
The confusion on their distinctions can stem from the fact that they are both heavily involved in shipping goods. The term “freight forwarder” however, is a broad term that can, at times, mean that forwarders can offer services similar to a customs broker, but the latter is a specialized profession which means that they can’t do everything a freight forwarder can.
A company can choose to employ a mix of both freight forwarders and customs brokers since they are essential in the shipping process. Having both in a company’s employ ensures that shipments arrive at their intended destinations safely.
To know more about the difference between freight forwarders and customs brokers, see this infographic by Excelsior.