An international freight forwarder is an agent for the exporter and can move cargo from “dock-to-door,” providing several significant services
Last Published: 7/16/2018

How can Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Help Exporters?

Customs brokers assist importers in meeting federal requirements governing imports into the United States. Brokers are private individuals, partnerships, associations or corporations licensed, regulated and empowered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Customs brokers’ oversee transactions related to customs entry and admissibility of merchandise, product classification, customs valuation, payment of duties, taxes, or other charges such as refunds, rebates, and duty drawbacks. There are approximately 11,000 active licensed Customs brokers in the United States.

International freight forwarders are agents for exporters, and can move cargo from “dock-to-door,” providing several significant services:    
  • Arranging for and tracking of freight from a domestic and international perspective;
  • Arranging for and tracking inland transportation;
  • Preparation of shipping and export documents;
  • Warehousing;
  • Booking cargo space;
  • Negotiating freight charges; 
  • Freight consolidation; 
  • Cargo insurance

Most freight forwarders are also Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) as well. Both freight forwarders and NVOCCs are licensed and regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission.

Find a freight forwarder or broker

You can locate a broker or forwarder on the National Customs Brokers &Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) website.  
Additionally, the NCBFAA can provide exporters with information on their members:

1200 18th Street, NW,
Suite 901
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 466-0222

Privately operated forwarder listing services, such as those below, can help to identify a local forwarder:


Directory of Freight Forwarding Services     
Agricultural Freight Forwarders

U.S. Census Bureau videos:

  • Pro Forma Invoice
  • Help you Ship Economically
  • Help you Ship Safely
  • Ship in Compliance with U.S. export laws
  • International Transportation Department
  • Letter of Credit
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Processing the Bill of Lading
  • Finding a Freight Forwarder

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Freight Forwarding