Clearing and forwarding agents are a link between the owners of goods and owners of means of transport. They help the cargo owners in the efficient movement of goods to the buyers by completing some procedural and documentary formalities. They are experts and knowledgeable in laws and regulations governing shipment of goods through the customs authorities as well as in commercial practices, especially the ones concerning transport. Since they are in constant touch with various government officials, they keep themselves abreast with the developments in the field of their activity.
In addition to these functions, the agents can undertake a number of activities including marking, labeling and packing of goods, arranging internal transport, advising exporters 0n trade laws and price quotations as well as on developments in the field of the carriage, file duty drawback claims on behalf of the exporters, etc. In fact, the agents can perform all activities except perhaps selling the goods. Above all, the agents act as troubleshooters for the exporters in the case of movement problems.
We can categorize the various activities of Clearing and Forwarding Agent in the following groups:
- Advising exporters on trade laws
- Providing transport and handling cost information
- Packing, marking and labeling
- Arranging transport
- Completing customs and port formalities
- Preparing and procuring documents
- Educating exporters on developments in transportation.