- 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
- Essentially takes care of the customs clearance aspect of the business
- It is a company accredited by the local customs authorities, port etc.
- Arranges to pass the relevant documents at customs
- Arranges for customs inspections as required
- Check & process Duty & VAT payment as applicable
- Apply for refunds etc. where applicable
- Cannot issue own bill of lading if not registered or acting as a freight forwarder
These are the major difference between a Freight Forwarder and Clearing Agent.