Custom brokers are again middle men who act as mediator between importing or exporting company and the government agencies. There are different regulations for different countries and different products like perishable, non-perishable, plants animals etc. and on top of it- these rules keep changing with time.
Goods that are subject to custom clearance need proper documentation failing which government generally stalls the transport of goods across the border; now in some cases products get spoiled as they are perishable and even if they are not, it leads to losses to the businesses involved. This having a broker appointed who knows the job well can save quite a lot to the firms. These custom brokers need not be affiliated to one company as they serve various companies at the same time. Their primary responsibility is get the goods cleared from customs- which not only involves documentation but also calculation and proper payment of different charges like excise duty, octroi, taxes etc. All these require knowledge as taxes etc. vary a lot for outgoing and incoming goods and also for different products. Many a times independent, these brokers also work in collaboration with freight forwarding companies and it is generally seen the concentration of the brokers is more near harbours and airports where goods are transported. These places have largo cargo waiting to be transported in ships or vessels and mostly it is convenient to do so with help of custom brokers nearby.
Though people try to escape fees of these middlemen and take care of import export custom clearance themselves, it is advised to take professional help from custom brokers or clearing agents as they help you save the hassle of delay in shipping due to small errors in complying with custom regulations.