An Introduction to Forwarding and Customs Brokerage


Shipping small parcels from one country to another can be a frustrating experience. There are many steps involved in the process, and there is always some risk that something will go wrong—and that’s not even counting the paperwork! You can simplify your shipping experience by working with a forwarder or customs broker. In this article, I’ll explain what these services do and why they may be right for you.

Forwarders and Customs Brokers

A forwarder and a customs broker are not the same thing. But they do the same thing: help you get your goods to their destination by coordinating all of the logistics involved in international Forwarding.

A forwarder is an agent who acts as an intermediary between you and your shipper, handling paperwork and other back-end tasks so that you don’t have to worry about them yourself. A customs broker deals with any paperwork related to tariffs or duties at ports of entry, as well as any inspections that may be required along the way (such as those conducted by U.S Customs & Border Protection).

What Do Forwarders Do?

Forwarders are logistics experts who can help you with all of your shipping needs. They can help you ship to a new destination, or ship from one destination to another. Forwarders also assist in customs and documentation requirements.

What Is Customs Brokerage?

Customs brokerage is the process of clearing goods through customs on behalf of a client. A forwarder can provide this service, but it’s also possible to use a separate customs broker.

The services provided by a customs broker are essentially identical to those of a forwarder; they just happen at different points in time:

  • Forwarding: When you’re buying something from overseas and have it shipped directly to your home country, your forwarder will handle all aspects of shipping (including any necessary paperwork) before handing off responsibility for clearing your shipment through customs when it reaches its destination city/country.
  • Customs Brokerage Company: When you buy something overseas and want it shipped directly back home with no stops along the way, then once again you’ll need someone who knows how things work at both ends–but this time around they’ll help clear your shipment through foreign ports before handing off responsibility for clearing them again once they reach their final destination port here in America

Why Choose a Forwarder or Broker?

  • Forwarders and customs brokers are experts in international shipping. They can help you save time and money by avoiding mistakes, so you can focus on other parts of your business.
  • The right forwarder or broker will know how to navigate local regulations and laws, which can be different depending on the country you’re shipping to or from. This is especially true when it comes to issues like import duties, taxes, and fees that vary from country to country–and even province-to-province within Canada!
  • Your forwarder should provide effective communication between yourself as an importer/exporter and local government agencies such as border customs offices (BCO).

Even if you are shipping small parcels, it is worth the time to do your research and find a forwarder or customs broker who can help you save time and money.

Even if you are shipping small parcels, it is worth the time to do your research and find a forwarder or customs broker who can help you save time and money.

A forwarder is an organization that handles international shipments on behalf of their clients. They also act as a liaison between the shipper and various customs authorities around the world. When using a forwarder, there are two options: full service or partial service. Full-service forwarding companies will handle everything related to your shipment from start to finish while partial-service companies only provide some services such as freight consolidation or freight booking services but not all aspects of international transportation management (ITM).

Customs brokers provide assistance in preparing documentation needed by government agencies when importing goods into foreign countries; they do not actually handle physical movement of goods through ports/airports etc., unlike what many people think!


Forwarders and customs brokers are an important part of the shipping process, and they can help you save time and money. They are not all the same, so make sure you do your research before choosing one for your business or personal needs. You may even want to consider hiring both types of professionals at once if they offer services in different areas (e.g., freight forwarding or customs clearance).

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