Freight Forwarder vs Clearing Agent
Freight forwarder and clearing agent have two different functions in the logistic service chain, both are equally important. A freight forwarder helps in the storage of the cargo belonging to the clients at his warehouse. It is quite possible that every freight forwarder has his warehouse.
A clearing agent on the other hand takes care of the customs clearance aspect of the business. In short it can be said that a clearing agent has his company accredited with border agencies.
A freight forwarder has to see to it that the cargo is forwarded as according to the instructions of the client. A clearing agent on the other hand arranges to pass the concerned documents at customs. He would look after the customs inspections as required.
A freight forwarder negotiates freight rates to sustain the interest of the clients. Clearing agent on the other hand looks after the job of applying for refund wherever applicable. A freight forwarder normally is the one who prepares bills of lading and the concerned shipping documentation. The documentation includes F178 and certificate of origin too.
A clearing agent on the contrary cannot issue own bills of lading if not registered. He can do that only if he is registered. This is one of the major differences between a freight forwarder and a clearing agent. A clearing agent is the person who checks and processes Duty and VAT payments too wherever applicable. A freight forwarder normally does not take care of the VAT payments.
A freight forwarder is looked upon by the clients as an alternative for shipping line. He is capable of doing customs clearance too. One of the favors done by a freight forwarder is that he books the cargo with the shipping line and acts according to the directions of the client. Hence it cannot be denied that both the freight forwarder and the clearing agent are equally important.