Many exporters, especially beginners, assume that Customs and Freight Forwarding Services in Nigeria are two names for the same thing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here is a great insight from Royal Renacido, who has been involved in the logistics business for a long time. They provide an explanation of the differences between Customs and Freight Forwarding Services in Nigeria as well as use cases for hiring both. Freight forwarders are defined as experts connected within the supply chain who concentrate on the logistics and physical transportation of cargo.
They are in touch with any entity in the exporting process who handles or is aware of a shipment moving via truck, boat, plane or a combination thereof. Freight forwarders are in charge of assembling and completing a variety of documentation and compliance filings. According to Jay Devers, managing partner of Bestway International, freight forwarder as a “travel agent for cargo,” a third-party entity who sets a trip up, and then, for a sum of money, will facilitate that entire trip, including paperwork and documentation.
Freight forwarding companies specialise in arranging the whole process for their shippers, from the storage to the shipping of their merchandise. They act as an intermediary between the shipper and transportation services, liaising with various carriers to negotiate on price and decide on the most economical, reliable and fastest route. Whereas a customs broker is defined as a private individual, partnership, association or corporation licensed, regulated and empowered by the Customs to assist importers and exporters in meeting government requirements governing imports and exports. Brokers submit necessary information and appropriate payments to Customs on behalf of their clients and charge them a fee for this service.
They must have expertise in the entry procedures, admissibility requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty and applicable taxes and fees for imported merchandise. A customs broker is a specific term used to identify the intermediary between the importer and the government’s customs department in the country of import.
Understanding the Difference between Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers
Freight forwarder is a wide-ranging term, whereas a customs broker is very specific—among other requirements, U.S. customs brokers must be licensed.
Many freight forwarders can be customs brokers as well (or have access to brokerage services), but not every customs broker is a freight forwarder.
Customs brokers focus on the import side of an export transaction. For exporters, the customs broker is a foreign country conversation. Exporters don’t need a U.S. customs broker because they are shipping out of the country.
An exporter’s freight forwarder can work together with a customs broker in order to help facilitate issues with an export transaction.
The Value of Good Partnerships No matter which route you choose in your export transaction, kindly note that a good partner between Customs and Freight Forwarding Services in Nigeria is invaluable. Shipping logistics can be difficult, detail-oriented, and rigorous, and these transactions are almost always best handled by an expert. A good Customs and Freight Forwarding Services in Nigeria partner will also remind you that you are ultimately liable for your exports and include you in the exporting process, especially when it comes to completing your export documentation. (The criteria for importers considering customs broker is very similar!)