Why do you need a customs broker?

By Margaret Bux
clock 6 min

Understanding the Role of a Customs Broker

A customs broker serves as a liaison between importers/exporters and government authorities, facilitating the smooth flow of goods across international borders. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (now known as the Australian Border Force) oversees customs regulations and compliance in Australia. Navigating this regulatory landscape can be challenging for businesses, especially those new to importing and exporting.

Here are some key reasons why engaging a customs broker is essential:

Navigating Complex Customs Regulations:

At the heart of a customs broker’s expertise lies their ability to navigate the labyrinth of customs regulations. With an in-depth understanding of international trade rules, brokers ensure that businesses remain compliant with the ever-changing landscape of customs regulations. By staying updated on regulatory changes, brokers help companies avoid legal pitfalls and maintain a positive reputation in the global trading community.

Understanding Legal Requirements:

Each country has its own set of customs, laws and regulations governing the import and export of goods. Customs brokers have the knowledge and experience to interpret these laws accurately, ensuring businesses adhere to all legal requirements.

Classification of Goods:

Goods are classified according to the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature, which enables customs departments worldwide to categorise goods for tax and regulatory purposes. Misclassification can lead to incorrect duty payments or regulatory penalties, highlighting the importance of accurate classification by customs brokers.

Determination of Duties and Taxes:

Once goods are classified correctly, customs brokers calculate the applicable taxes, duties, and excises that must be paid. They also consider various Free Trade Agreements, by-laws, and concessions that may affect duty payments, optimising business cost savings.


Preparation of accurate documentation is essential for proving the value, origin, and nature of imported goods. Customs brokers assist businesses in preparing the necessary paperwork, including bills of lading, commercial invoices, packing lists, and customs declarations, ensuring smooth clearance of shipments.

Customs Import Declarations/Entries:

Submitting a customs entry/import declaration is a crucial step in the customs clearance process. Customs brokers help businesses lodge declarations with the respective country’s customs and border protection agency, providing detailed information about the imported goods.

Risk Assessment and Management:

Customs brokers assess the risks associated with non-compliance and implement strategies to mitigate these risks effectively. By understanding the potential consequences of regulatory violations, brokers help businesses confidently navigate customs processes.

Biosecurity Concerns:

Brokers play a vital role in addressing biosecurity requirements, including import permits, health certificates, and treatments for certain commodities. They facilitate biosecurity clearance at destination points and navigate seasonal requirements, such as the annual BMSB season in Australia.

Value-Added Services:

In addition to managing logistics and compliance, customs brokers offer valuable advice on minimising import costs, optimising supply chain processes, and leveraging preferential trade agreements. Their expertise extends beyond customs clearance, providing holistic solutions for businesses engaged in international trade.

Enhanced Communication and Adherence to Regulations:

As intermediaries between businesses and government agencies, customs brokers ensure smooth communication and adherence to regulations. By handling all communication and negotiation with customs authorities, brokers expedite the clearance process and minimise delays in the supply chain.

Resolving Disputes and Issues:

Customs brokers are adept at resolving disputes and issues that may arise during customs clearance, such as disagreements over duty payments or conflicts regarding the classification of goods. Their negotiation skills and legal expertise play a crucial role in resolving these issues efficiently.

Duties and Taxes: Accurate Calculation and Timely Payment:

Goods classification, valuation, and calculation of duties and taxes are central to customs brokerage services. Brokers prioritise accuracy in all calculations and payments, minimising the risk of penalties or delays.

Risk Assessment and Compliance:

Adhering to regulations and managing compliance risks are fundamental aspects of customs brokerage. Brokers analyse risks associated with importing or exporting goods, ensuring businesses comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

Documentary Requirements:

Brokers assess all required documents for customs clearance, ensuring accuracy and timely submission to avoid delays. They handle general customs documentation and additional requirements specific to commodities being cleared.

Enhancing Communication with Authorities:

Customs brokers serve as intermediaries between businesses and customs authorities, facilitating effective communication and negotiation. By promptly responding to inquiries and resolving issues, brokers expedite the clearance process and minimise disruptions in the supply chain.

A Customs Broker Dedicated to Your Business:

Customs brokers tailor their services to meet each client’s unique needs, considering factors such as the type of goods, countries involved, and specific goals or restrictions. By providing personalised solutions, brokers help businesses efficiently navigate international trade complexities, leading to significant time and cost savings.

Risks of Not Using a Customs Broker

Choosing to handle customs clearance without the assistance of a broker exposes businesses to risks such as errors, delays, and non-compliance with regulations. Engaging the services of a customs broker ensures accurate and efficient processing of shipments, minimising the risk of disruptions in the supply chain.


We’re Australia’s Leading global logistics provider.

Established in 1917, Clarke Global Logistics is a reputable Australian Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder; offering a totally integrated trade service both locally and globally.


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