Is there a difference between a freight forwarder and clearing agent..??
This is one of the questions that many people ask..
The answer is that in the current economic and business scenario, the line dividing these two is quite thin..
Freight Forwarder : Essentially secures the business of various exporters and importers and has the ability/facility to
- store cargo belonging to the clients at their warehouse (usually all big forwarders have their own warehouses)
- arrange the distribution or “forwarding” of the cargo as per the instructions of their client.. This could be a regular routing or various routing
- negotiate freight rates with the shipping line to cover the interest of their clients
- book the cargo with the shipping line as per the requirement of the client
- prepare bills of lading and associated shipping/negotiating documentation (F178, Certificate of Origin, etc)
- issue their approved house bill of lading as applicable
- MAY or MAY NOT also do Customs Clearance
Clearing Agent : Essentially takes care of the customs clearance aspect of the business..
- is a company accredited with the local customs authorities, border agencies, port etc
- arranges to pass the relevant documents at customs
- arrange for customs inspections as required
- check and process Duty and VAT payments as applicable
- apply for refunds etc where applicable
- cannot issue own bills of lading if not registered or acting as a freight forwarder
These are the major differences between a Freight Forwarder and Clearing Agent..