The world has become a global village over the years. Trade is one of the things that continue to be more globalized, thanks to importers and exporters. As mush as we would want to give the credit to the international buyers and sellers, we have to remember those who make these global transactions successful. The freight forwarders and clearing agents (also called custom brokers in some countries).
Events in recent times (Corona Virus pandemic) have greatly affected the travel business in ways never seen before. That however did not stop the transport of cargo into and out of countries. There is simply no way any country would run without goods from other nations. We can safely say the import and export business just became more important with the advent of the pandemic. People still need every day products to continue with their lives. So who really is a clearing agent and who is a freight forwarder?
In simple terms, these are the guys that make sure that goods successfully get to the importer from the exporter. They handle all the paper work and safe handling of goods. The goal is to make sure the cargo reaches the buyer in the same condition it left the seller. In order to understand the issue in depth I talked to LGK Logistics, the #1 cargo and freight company based in Kenya’s Jommo Kenyatta International Airport.
The clearing agent (custom broker)
A clearing agent is the individual or company whose sole purpose is to take care of anything customs clearance. Most countries (like US and India), have clearing agents write examinations to get a license to transact while others (like Australia), just look at acquired experience. These agents handle documentation with customs, organize payment on the duty and VAT applicable and assists customers with duty drawback. A clearing agent has an in-depth knowledge of the HS Codes to calculate Duty and VAT.
The freight forwarder
On the other hand a freight forwarder is the one who makes sure that cargo gets from destination to destination safely on behalf of the owner. As an importer or exporter, you don’t have to go through the trouble of doing things like monitoring the movement of cargo,arranging trade finance documentation, customs clearances, negotiating freight contracts, or port inspection all by yourself. Especially if you are a beginner to the business. That is the work of the freight forwarder. A well established freight forwarder will have the ability to give the most efficient and cost – effective cargo shipping solutions according to the customer’s requirements, process every shipping document needed (certificates of origin, customs and port documentation, etc) and arrange for the transport of cargo to/from the customer’s location.
Even though the two services are different, many companies do both services cutting the need to use third parties.
In conclusion, when you want to do an importation or exportation of cargo, let someone else handle the customs and paper work.
If you are already in the business of getting goods in and out of Kenya I recommend LGK Logistics. They are a licensed and experienced clearing and forwarding firm. Well established in warehousing, transshipment and consolidation and general transport. They got you whether on air, land or sea. With them, imports and exports get easier and more efficient, making deliveries on time and applying best rates on vehicle imports.