What is a Customs Broker?

In commercial shipping, a customs broker is the person responsible for clearing goods through customs. They work with businesses involved in importing or exporting. Most likely, if you’re a company shipping goods into a foreign country, you will want to work with a customs broker because they will expedite your shipment through Customs.

And in business, time is…well, you know.

What exactly does a Customs broker do? A broker is a professional point person who prepares documentation for shipment, calculates the taxes, excises, and duties you’re going to owe, and serves as a liaison between government officials and you, the importer or exporter.

If you’re headquartered in the U.S., customs brokers help you by preparing and turning in documentation for governmental agencies, like the:

  • FDA
  • USDA
  • Fish and Wildlife Service

Good question. Customs brokers sometimes work for, or can be associated with, a 3PL Company like ProPack. Sometimes, they own or work for a stand-alone company. They might work for a Customs brokerage firm or even a trade authority. You’ll encounter brokers who work for a shipping line. Or, sometimes, they’re directly employed by a large-scale importer or exporter.

Depending on what you need to be shipped, you might work with different Customs Brokers. Why? Custom brokers tend to find their way into specialties. Some brokers focus on food, clothing, and other unique areas.

You’ll find Customs brokers working at virtually any point of entry into a country. The obvious points of entry are harbors and airports, but border crossings are inland ports of entry too, and due to the international ground shipping flowing through them, they will attract the services of Customs brokers as well.

ProPack works directly with Customs brokers to facilitate the speedy transport of goods over the U.S.-Canada border every day and can expedite the shipment of your company’s goods to foreign markets worldwide.