Just what is the difference between a Freight Forwarder and a Customs Agent



Freight Forwarder

Some exporters may have the belief that freight forwarders and customs agents are interchangeable terms. Realistically though freight forwarders specialise in logistics and transportation of freight and are linked to the supply chain. The role of the freight fowarder is to work along with people or businesses  involved in the exporting process who deals with or is aware of a problem.     

For shipments transported by truck, boat, or plane, the responsibility of the freight forwarder is to compile and file all relevant documents plus be in compliance with any filings required.

The Customs Agent

 In simple terms, the customs agent is the intermediary between the importer and the customs authority.  The customs agent for the importer provides services in preparation of documents and submits the documents needed for the clearance of goods whilst complying with import and export regulations.

For the implementation of customs entry procedures, acceptable or valid requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty and applicable taxes, a custom agent will submit the necessary information and arrange the correct payment to Revenue on behalf of their clients.  

Therefore, there is no conflict of interest between the freight forwarder and the  customs clearance agent, leaving the customs agent in a position to be able to provide a better and efficient customised service to your business.  

AT ICLS we are separate from the freight forwarder, and you can trust that our services will be of benefit to you. A lot of businesses may consider that having a single-source provider for transportation and another for customs clearing solutions will create a conflict,but there is a point of view to be made that by having separate providers for transportation services and customs clearance requirements making sure that customs guidelines are followed and adhered to. Many transportation-related concerns, such as delivery deadlines, resolving any issues which may occur, plus any other factors that may affect customs clearance are removed, allowing for proper and timely customs clearance compliance.    

As an importer or exporter, you must adhere to all customs regulations. With the growing number of Post Clearance and Customs/Revenue audits, if an incidence of non-compliance occurs it may result in an audit on your business and  could also result in demand for back-payments, interest on back-payments, and possible penalties.    

At Independent Customs & Logistics Services we advise our clients of all of their customs requirements and obligations, we are experienced, professional customs clearance agents, we have knowledge of the product or goods being transported, the cost of the product, and any extra costs which may occur, we use our electronic system and our own expertise to make correct-declarations to Customs, leaving all businesses assured of fast and clear communication, with these protocols in place we ensure that goods are green routed quickly and deadlines respected.    

At ICLS we are completely compliant with Revenue Customs Requirements, we provide a backup facility and provide document storage allowing for easy recovery if required for audit.    

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