A brokerage or customs brokerage is a service that helps companies and individuals comply with customs regulations when importing or exporting goods. A customs broker acts as a liaison between the importer, exporter and customs authorities, ensuring that all paperwork is filed correctly and in a timely manner.
As each country has different customs rules and regulations, a brokerage also provides guidance, assists with product classification and helps to resolve any issues that may arise during the shipping process.
Customs brokers play an essential role in facilitating international trade.
For e-commerce goods, courier companies like DHL, UPS, DPD, FedEx, and Royal Mail will act as brokerages on behalf of a consumer.
The process consists of three steps:
The goods arrive at their country of destination. The brokerage is responsible for filling the entry documents.
The importer may ask for a release form, purchase order, commercial invoice, bill of lading, or certificate of origin.
The shipment is then either given clearance at which point the goods can enter the country, or not given clearance and need to be examined more thoroughly.