Export administration as a topic has a lot of ‘moving parts’, from the various regulatory bodies to every middleman and facilitator in between. In order to ensure you are on the right track, it is essential to understand every role player and process involved. In this article, we will be focusing on forwarding and clearing, and the role of a clearing agent. Let’s start off with the most basic of questions:
What does Forwarding and Clearing Mean?
Forwarding and clearing is the process of arranging the transport and customs clearance of goods for export, which may include additional services such as providing warehousing, cargo insurance and consultation.
The Role of Clearing Agents
Forwarding and clearing is provided by a specialist logistics agent whose personnel offer consultation on transport, insurance, and customs clearance. They also provide the potential exporter with valuable information on the export procedure, such as how to obtain an export licence or which documents are needed for the effective delivery of a consignment of goods. The clearing agent may also assist you with the classification of your products according to the Harmonised System (HS), advice on how to pack and mark your goods and the submission of port declarations.
Finding the Right Forwarding and Clearing Agent for your Business
As you can see, a forwarding and clearing agent can be a powerful ally and asset in your export administration process. Do keep in mind though, that not every clearing agent is an expert on every aspect of transport and customs procedure and, despite the clearing agent’s inputs and facilitation, your company is still ultimately responsible for its goods. For example, if your goods are not correctly classified according to the World Customs Organisation’s international Harmonised System (HS), your company will be held fully liable for any repercussions. So make sure that you do your due diligence and find the right forwarding and clearing agent for your types of product and export administration needs.
Understanding forwarding and clearing and the role of a clearing agent is a good jump in the right direction, however the export administration process covers numerous role players and processes which all play a critical role in your company’s ability to move consignments of goods to foreign destinations. To ensure you understand all the essentials of export administration, Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa (ITRISA), has created a comprehensive online training programme that covers all aspects of export administration, including transport and customs procedures. Click the links below to sign up for free and get started.
To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.
If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.