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Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder: To Bundle or Not to Bundle?

Does using a separate Customs broker from my freight forwarder provide added value to my business? Or is it best to use one party for all services?


In the world of global trade, businesses often wonder whether it’s better to use one company for customs and freight services or to keep them separate when managing one’s imports. There may be many factors that come into play when making this decision: incoterms, origin and trade lane, product transport requirements, US. Compliance requirements just to name a few.


Let’s break this down:

Pros of Using the Same Customs broker and Forwarder:

·        Cost Savings:

Using one company for both services. They could offer package deals or better rates when everything is bundled together.

·        Operational Efficiency:

Dealing with one contact for both Customs and freight forwarding can make things simpler. It reduces the need for coordination between different parties, making shipping processes smoother, minimizing potential errors / delays and maximizing productivity. Your company may not have a traffic team, but value-added services from a customs broker/freight forwarder can bridge the gap by serving as your “built-in” traffic team.

·        Time Savings:

One point of contact for both services can save time. Communication flow can be seamless, greater use of electronic processes can be enabled and fewer parties can mean faster decision-making.

·        Enhanced Visibility:

Combining services gives you a complete view of your supply chain through consolidation of services, allowing for greater control of cost structure, cargo routings, and transit times, not to mention exceptions.


Pros of Using a Separate Customs Broker:

·        Choose Your Partner:

Going with separate services lets you pick different partners. This can be useful if your logistics requirements dictate use of specialized carriers, or if you choose to have one Customs broker to centralize inbound flows for shipments moving via multiple freight forwarders.

·        Compliance Control:

An experienced customs broker can better emphasize focus on compliance. Not every freight forwarder is a Customs broker and vice versa, nor does a good Customs broker make them a good freight forwarder and vice versa. Many forwarders even sell Customs brokerage services through third parties. Using a separate provider to handle Customs work enhances compliance and minimizes errors and potential liability. The right Customs broker can be used to enhance an overall import program, by bringing huge value-added to importers trying to manage the complex regulatory environment that continues to generate liability for those importing into the United States. Using a single party also allows for knowledge growth and partnership development.

·        Seeing Transportation:

Even if you’re not controlling the forwarding, a separate customs broker can still give you more details about transportation. This can be crucial if you want a close look at how your goods are moving.

Deciding between a one-stop-shop or separate services depends on what your business needs. While the consolidation of services can potentially result in cost savings, streamlined operations, and a comprehensive view of your supply chain, the choice to engage a separate Customs Broker provides the flexibility to select partners tailored to specific requirements and ensures strict compliance control.

At Rogers & Brown, we understand the diverse dynamics of global trade, acknowledging that businesses may find value in both approaches. Our commitment remains unwavering – to make your business’s shipping process as seamless and efficient as possible. We are here to support your unique logistics needs, offering guidance and expertise to navigate the complexities of international trade, regardless of whether you choose to bundle or not to bundle.

We are a certified and validated member of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.