All exporters require the services of clearing agents for shipping their goods. Clearing agents act as a link between the shipper and the transport owner.
What is a clearing agent?
The clearing agent is a profession whose main role is lodging documentation with customs and all procedures that take care of the customs clearance aspect of the business. The goods of exporters usually need to be packed in cargo containers or trucks for shipping or airlifting. Clearing agents manage the packaging of these items to ensure their secure transport and delivery. They also tackle the mandatory paperwork regarding the packaging.
How to become a Clearing Agent?
To become a clearing agent you need to have:
- sound knowledge of Customs and other laws relating to border regulatory requirements
- knowledge of trade-related transport and finance matters
- demonstrated compliance record (clean track records in terms of security and other compliance matters)
- financial capacity or solvency
- minimum educational qualification
- minimum work experience
- in some cases a written and/or oral examination and even a minimum number of hours of training
- electronic transmission capability
- financial guarantee (surety bond, security deposit)
- and is incorporated or established in the country/citizenship or residency.
Glimpse through the eligibility requirements, job description, salary prospects, and other relevant information related to the profession of a clearing agent:
Clearing agent educational criteria
For applying to an entry-level post of the clearing agent, you don’t need to have a high school education. A majority of the companies extend on-the-job training to the new agents. However, if you wish to work in an advanced position, it is recommended that you pursue freight broker and freight forwarding courses.
Clearing agent certification
Certification is not a compulsory criterion but it does enhance the credibility of your profile. Certified clearing agents can also work at the international level. In the US, the Federal Maritime Commission provides certification for clearing agents. In order to get this certification, you must have a minimum work experience of three years. Also, you shouldn’t have faced conviction for any kind of felonies. Apart from that, there is no examination mentioned in the certification criteria.
Clearing agent job description
The clearing agents are responsible for confirming that the goods are dispatched and delivered safely to their respective buyers. They also look after the documentation formalities like insurance forms, dispatch forms, etc. Further, they keep an eye on the routing information and make sure that the shipments are complying with the safety policies. It is the duty of agents to ascertain that the chosen carrier is licensed. Besides, they create logistics for tracking modifications and ensuring the proper receipt of goods.
Several individuals grant the power of attorneys to their clearing agents. So, these agents also place orders for containers to pack the cargo for delivering it to the appropriate locations. This calls for awareness of the freight rates and related need to research.
The clearing agents are expected to have the fundamental knowledge of accounting and legal practices. They must possess effective organizational and coordination abilities. Since these agents need to manage and oversee the delivery of goods, they should have efficient management capabilities, interpersonal skills, written and verbal communication proficiency. Further, they must be attentive, detail-oriented, and expert in customer service.
Generally, the salary of clearing agents depends upon their employment location, years of experience, and educational qualifications. As per the Salary Experts, the average annual salary of a clearing agent is $50 000 in the US.