Home Shipping Difference Between Clearing Agents and Freight Forwarders

Difference Between Clearing Agents and Freight Forwarders


If you are shifting large amounts of personal or business cargo internationally, then you can use a freight forwarder or clearing agent. You will definitely not be stressed if you use these services. A clearing agent and freight forwarder can help you in transportation of your cargo and ensure that the cargo reaches its destination safely. However, while you may assume that freight forwarders and clearing agents are the same, there is a difference between the two.

When you are moving cargo to an international destination, you will have to fulfill certain customs formalities. This is where a clearing agent can help you as most agents have a good relationship with customs authorities. Any documentation related to the clearing of goods through the customs and transportation of the goods will be handled by the clearing agent. When a clearing agent handles your cargo, you will not be hassled by the paperwork. Also, you will not have to worry about paying duty and VAT as these fees will be handled by the agent.

A forwarder could be a company or a self-employed person who looks after exports. Usually a forwarder is often referred to as third party logistics provider. The forwarder is responsible for organizing the entire process of transportation for the cargo before it is packed. Invariably, the freight forwarder will take the cargo to his warehouse and store it there before it is transported. The transportation is organized based on what the customer wants. Usually, the customer has to inform the forwarder where the cargo needs to be shipped and the forwarder will look for the best and most cost effective route. The freight forwarder usually handles shipments that are sent either by sea, but he can also handle air shipments.

So, while transportation needs and customs are handled by a freight forwarder, customs and documentation are handled by an agent. This is the basic difference between a forwarder and an agent.