Frequently Asked Questions
What does a Customs Broker do and how does it differ from a Freight Forwarder?
Customs Brokers are professionals who are skilled in representing both importers and exporters in clearing their goods through Customs. Members of the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of NZ (CBAFF) are consultants conversant with all facets of import and export. In New Zealand, Customs Brokers are not required to be licensed by the New Zealand Customs Service. However, holders of the CBAFF Certificate of Public Practice (Customs) hold qualifications as a Customs Broker and carry professional indemnity insurance. To ensure that you are dealing with a professional and reputable Customs Broker and are protected by professional indemnity insurance, check that your broker belongs to the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand Inc before utilising their services.
What functions can I expect from my Freight Forwarder?
A Freight Forwarder is a transporter of consolidated or single consignment freight through airlines or shipping lines. They supply shippers and consignees with advice on the most cost-effective method of moving cargo and they provide advice about import regulations and requirements in destination countries. Freight Forwarders provide cartage and pickup from the shippers' premises for exports, and deliver to consignee's premises for imports. For import shipments they prepare export documentation and liaise with overseas agents and suppliers to ensure freight moves correctly and arrives on time. Freight Forwarders can offer door to door shipments - both import and export. A Customs Broker may provide a Freight Forwarding service and a Freight Forwarder may offer Customs Broking services.
There are many reasons why using a CBAFF member makes sound commercial sense.
- Clearing goods through Customs requires knowledge of tariff classification, duty rates and other related charges. Prior to importation Customs Brokers can advise on these matters as well as freight charges to assist in determining an estimate of the probable landed cost. They can also arrange for the early receipt of shipping documentation. Many unnecessary expenses arise simply because shipments are arranged without prior consultation on these matters.
- Imported goods, for which there is no locally manufactured equivalent, may qualify for duty concessions. Custom Brokers are familiar with duty concession policies and procedures.
Prepare export documentation
- Export documentation should be accurately prepared to the exact requirements of the overseas importer. Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders are conversant with documentation requirements of overseas markets.
Select and arrange the best method of transport
- Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders are in daily contact with a wide range of freight services and can advice on the best methods of shipping imports and exports, sea freight and air freight at most competitive rates. Likewise they can provide or arrange cartage services to and from the wharves and airports.
Assist with customs matters - A thorough knowledge of customs legislation equips Customs Brokers to advise on matters of valuation, rules of origin, dumping, Goods and Services Tax e.g.
- Customs clearance
- Tariff advice
- Customs rulings
- Duty rates
- GST (Goods and Services Tax) calculation
- Tariff concessions
- Export documentation
- Forwarding advice
- Freight negotiations
- Marine insurance