What’s the Difference Between a Freight Forwarder and a Customs Broker – Infographic

Some exporters nowadays often mistook a freight forwarder for a customs broker and vice versa. While may be working in the same industry, both are fairly different from each other. Here are some of the telltale facts that draw the fine line between the two professions.

Difference Between a Freight Forwarder and a Customs Broker - Infographic

1. Definitions

A Freight Forwarder is an agent or company that specializes in logistics and organizing of shipments in place of an individual or a company, to transport their goods. This kind of service usually requires a great deal of connection in the supply chain.

On the other hand, a Customs Broker is a private individual or firm that serves as guide for both importers and exporters in meeting the necessary requirements given by the customs authorities.

2. Duties and Responsibilities

Freight Forwarders are the ones responsible for handling all the processes when it comes in exportation of a cargo. From bringing the goods to its mode of shipment (e.g. truck, plane, or ship) to its arrival at the target destination, the freight forwarders have it all covered.  They also give advice as to how to get the best deal for the cost of transportation, as well as guarantee the safety and timely arrival of the goods. To know more about the importance of a freight forwarder please check out the infographic


Customs Brokers are in charge of submitting all important documents like clearances in order for the shipments to be legally allowed to enter its country of destination. They also tend to have a wide area of knowledge when it comes in every entry procedure, including other payments like taxes and fees for imported merchandise. In addition to that they can also help shippers through the following:

  • Customs bonds
  • Importer Security Fillings
  • Dispatching for final delivery
  • Duty drawback
  • Reconciliation

One thing custom broker can be similar with freight forwarders is that they can as well give recommendations. Only this time, they do it for the purpose of providing the client on getting the most efficient way of clearing their goods in accordance to customs entry rules and regulations.

3. Can a Freight Forwarder be a Customs Broker at the same time?

Since Freight forwarders can be a wider term compared to customs brokers which has a more specific job, there are cases in which a freight forwarder can offer services similar to that of a customs broker. However, not every customs broker can be a freight forwarder.

For many business owners trying import or export their goods, having both freight forwarders and customs brokers are very critical in ensuring its proper arrival on time while adhering to the complicated rules and process of international shipment.

Excelsior Worldwide Freight Logistics conduct free orientation for those who are willing to learn more about importation and exportation. It is our advocacy to share our knowledge & experience for 17 years in the business. Visit our website today at www.excelsior.ph to learn more about our service.