What is customs brokerage?

Goods and raw materials are crossed over international borders on a daily basis – but the complexity to getting these goods safely through customs and border security is often underestimated. 

Simplifying this process is where customs brokerage comes in! 

What is customs brokerage?

Customs brokerage is a set of services usually offered by sole traders or companies to facilitate the shipment and delivery of goods across countries’ borders on behalf of individuals and organisations. 

Essentially, it’s the process of clearing goods through customs, coordinating  payments, dealing with questions and providing advice on the complex rules and regulations governing imports and exports.

In Australia, our Customs Act outlines that only the owner of the goods or a Custom Broker licensed by the CEO of Customs can submit an import declaration for imported goods. 

Customs brokers are licensed under one of the following three customs broker licence categories:

  • Corporate – a company or a partnership licensed to act on behalf of owners of imported goods. A corporate customs broker must employ nominee customs brokers to lodge customs declarations.
  • Sole trader – a sole proprietor of a business operating in its own right and not through a company or partnership or trust. A sole trader may employ one or more nominee customs brokers. A sole trader cannot be employed by a corporate customs broker but can be affiliated with other businesses such as freight forwarders.
  • Nominee – a natural person licensed to act as a customs broker but only as an employee of a corporate or a sole trader customs brokerage. A nominee may be employed by more than one corporate or sole trader brokerage at any time.

As importing goods into and out of Australia is quite complex, governed by strict law, lodging incorrect Customs entries can happen often – and is a very costly mistake to make! Because of this, most importers and exporters engage with a customs broker to act on their behalf. 

What do Customs Brokers do?

The role of a Customs Broker is to work as an intermediary between the client and government departments such as Customs, Quarantine, Department of Environment, Department of Infrastructure.  

We act as the middleman between you and the government, classifying your goods correctly to Customs and Quarantine.

A variety of classifications must be made; such as which taxes, border security,  and other government agencies may need to be aware of your goods for inspection, processing, permits, or other unique requirements. 

We also  coordinate payments, deal with questions and provide advice on the complex rules and regulations governing imports and exports. 

A licensed Customs broker can lodge Customs entries in all states of Australia, and can clear cargo by air, sea, and post. 

Customs brokerage and freight forwarding

Freight forwarding is the process of facilitating the transportation of goods from Point A to Point B, while customs brokerage is the process of getting those goods through borders safely. 

Each role is vital for importing and exporting – and by getting a freight forwarder who specialises in custom brokerage to handle your shipments, the process is far more streamlined. 

Our customs brokerage specialities: 

  • Fully licensed brokers
  • Compliance with Australian Customs and Quarantine requirements
  • In-house complementary Customs consulting services
  • Advice on trade facilitation benefits

Ready to have your transportation, shipping and customs clearance requirements expertly managed? It’s time to contact McHugh & Eastwood. 

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