Why Clearance Agent? Have you ever wondered what the role of Clearing Agents are in the importation business? What do they really do? Why would you not for example just go to the port to pick up items imported? This article will explain the role of cargo clearance agents in the import value chain. Additionally, the article will show why it is cost effective to engage the agent from the beginning of the process. To begin, let us understand who is really is a Clearing Agent.
WHO IS A CLEARING AGENT?
A clearing agent is a company that works with relevant authorities to ensure the forwarding or the release of imported goods. At the origin, the Clearing Agent works to ensure goods are registered shipped as required before leaving the country. The Agent is specialised in getting imported goods from the Customs Authority at the destination ports. The work of an agent is basically that of declaring the cargo and relevant documents. Hence, when we use the term cargo clearing, we mean the process of declaration to the Customs Authority, of goods detail with relevant documents. Clearing Agents are also called Customs brokers. To be a Clearing Agent, you must obtain Clearing License.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CLEARING AGENT AND A FREIGHT FORWARDER
Most people who are new in the industry tend to confuse a lot of terms and rightly so. The line between a freight forwarder and a clearing Agent is so thin and ever closing. Technically speaking, the Freight Forwarder is that company that mediates importers/exporters of less-than-container loads and the shipping companies. The freight forwarder plays the following roles in the industry at large:
- Gather piece and pieces of less-than-container-loads (LCL) from Customers (importers/exporters)
- Liaise with Shipping Lines or companies to consolidate and ship LCL from different Customers to full container loads (FCL)
- Negotiation of freight costs to cover Customers’ interests
- Cargo booking
- Documentation of bill of lading, CCVO, and other shipping documents
- Do the work of Clearing Agents in some cases
- Render storage and warehousing services.
The Clearing Agent mainly does preparing and submitting declaration and required documents to Customs Authorities. Let us now discuss the role played by the Clearing Agent in detail under the following headings.
THE ROLES OF CLEARING AGENT:
International logistics trade requires lots and lots of documents for effective and efficient movement of commodities across countries. The Clearing Agent is an expert documentation company. Thus, the Agent should be involved from the beginning to the end of your importation to avoid costly mistakes. Documents prepared with the assistance of the Customs Clearing Agent include the following:
- The Proforma invoice: used to obtain Form M in Nigeria
- Regulatory Import Certificates and Permits: these include NAFDAC Permit, SON Product Certificate/SONCAP, etc.
- Shipping documents: Also called final documents in Nigeria. Final documents include the commercial invoice, packing list, CCVO, and the bill of lading/air waybill.
- PAAR: This means the pre-arrival assessment program.
- Single Goods Declaration – SGD and the Assessment Note.
- Purchase of marine insurance certificate, etc.
For detail about the documents needed to import goods into Nigeria, Read Also: CUSTOMS CLEARING DOCUMENTS NIGERIA: COMPLETE SET
The Clearance specialist goes to terminal administrators to book for situating of the compartment for physical examination of the products. For the Physical Examination to be done, the specialist writes a letter to Customs’ examination requesting Examination. The Agent engages Customs officers and units who do the examination. The various Customs units that take part in the Physical Examination are:
- First, the valuation unit,
- Secondly, the entryway control unit,
- Also, the requirement unit and
- Lastly the Customs Intelligent Unit (C.I.U).
Other functions of the Agent include securing final release, local transportation arrangement, etc.
Customs Clearing Agents are experts in cargo handling at origin and destination. Every cargo importation undergoes two times clearance at origin and destination. Therefore, it is cost effective to carry along a Clearance Agent from the beginning of importation. The agent will guide you from the choice HS Code to documentation, cargo release and transport to desired location. Vagmon Group can be reached via our contact us page or simply call or WattSap +2349075526276.