This is an unprecedented time in the world of global trade. We know that almost every product has content from far-flung places. But now, traveling with even the simplest item is a plethora of regulations governing its manufacturing, movement, and trade. Keeping pace with the various 159 trade countries and hundreds of regulatory bodies, and the thousands of NGO trade and industry associations is a responsibility importers have often dismissed at their peril or outsourced to ‘the professionals.’ But no more. Without accurate filing, the goods won’t move.
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In another sense, the job has gotten easier. Importers have become more knowledgeable about previously exotic trade lanes. Many have developed a sense of self-confidence about managing their global trade and a growing understanding of the role of compliance.
Markets also have grown as developing economies have created many new enterprises that import/export and that now require broker/forwarder services. Yet freight forwarders currently find themselves at a crossroads. Competition for business has gotten tougher: integrated carriers have developed services or outright bought their way into the customs brokerage business. This is tough competition for the ‘focused’ brokers/freight forwarders, who have honed their skills and expertise in specific markets for decades.