Your customs broker is an integral part of a smooth freight transport chain

2023 July, 20

Our team consists of specialists in various fields, one of them is Arvydas Vaičius, who has been working as a customs broker at UAB International Logistics Centre (TLC) for more than 7 years. So we decided to talk about what the daily life of a customs broker looks like, what his responsibilities are and what personal qualities are needed in this responsible job.


– Share with us what is your job as a customs broker?


Many people imagine that it is a job that is only about completing customs declarations, but this is not the case at all. A customs broker is someone who facilitates complex customs procedures.
I take care of the documentation of my clients’ goods to make sure that it is in order and properly prepared for all procedures: export, import, transit, I fill in the CMR (International Carriage by Road Document) and TIR (Transit Document) carnets, I prepare TIR electronic data, I advise my clients on all the customs clearance issues. I am also constantly looking for and proposing the best solutions for my clients to save time, budget and meet all the necessary requirements. On behalf of my clients, I go to the loading terminals to carry out inspections of the cargo and its compliance with the documents. On a daily basis, I interact with customers, customs, carriers and other actors in the logistics chain.


– When do you, as a customs broker, become involved in the freight transport process?


My service is required by clients when transporting goods to EU countries and when transporting goods to third countries. The customs authorities in each country define and regulate customs enforcement differently. Therefore, the management of information related to customs duties, procedures and regulations is important in this process, and I am here to resolve such issues in a timely manner as a professional in my field. Clients involved in manufacturing, trade, etc. should focus on the core parts of the process and leave the customs formalities to the experts, as this requires a lot of specific knowledge and time.


– Based on your professional experience, what kind of person do you think can do the job of a customs broker?


I am sure that this profession is for those who do not like monotony. The qualities required in this field are: attentiveness, diligence and good communication skills. Late calls from customers or authorities are a frequent occurrence in my daily routine, so I also think that tolerance is a very important quality.


– You mentioned attentiveness and thoroughness as one of the most important qualities needed in this job, why?


These qualities are essential because every detail is important, I cannot miss the data written in the documents, I cannot just look at them mechanically, I have to assess them according to the existing legislation and if I don’t know something, I immediately enquire, I call the customs office to ask questions, I analyze them and I notice the tiniest details that can affect the (non-) proper preparation of the cargo documentation.


– Do you take care of the correct documentation for the customer’s shipment, or does that mean the job is done?


Documents are documents, I have to fill them in correctly and on time. However, I know from practice that there is more to the job than that. It is of utmost importance to pay attention to the client and to keep him informed in time about the process of completing the freight documents, about changes in the bureaucratic and tax maze, about problems, if any, and so on. Only thanks to an active and close partnership can I be sure that the client will be satisfied with the timely information and knowledge of what is happening with his cargo.


– Tell me a secret, do you often have to call customs for advice on how to interpret the legislation?


The transport of goods and its legal regulation and the changes in procedures are among the most evolving phenomena, so I am constantly interested in the latest versions of the documents and keep up to date. And yes, there are times when I have to write letters and make calls to the authorities to explain the amended legislation. In other words, I gather information that is “humanly” understandable and only then do I communicate with the client and have a clear idea of the best way to prepare the documentation for his cargo or to carry out the necessary procedures.