A Customs Broker is an agent that works to secure the customs release of goods that are crossing an international border. Their work, which is done on behalf of the importer of the goods, involves the preparation of formal entries for customs and other government agencies where applicable, as well as the calculation of duties and taxes.
Highway carriers most commonly deal with customs brokers in using the PARS process for goods entering Canada, or the PAPS process for goods entering the United States. When the carrier picks up goods from the shipper, they should receive instructions as to which customs broker is responsible for clearing the load, as well as their contact information. The carrier then forwards the documents for the shipment along to the broker along with their PARS or PAPS number.
Because the broker's formal entry must be in place before the carrier crosses the border, the carrier must have a way of ensuring that the broker's process is completed. For PARS shipments, carriers can either employ PARS checking software, check the broker's website if it offers PARS tracking, or call the broker to inquire on the status. For PAPS shipments, carriers will receive status on the broker's entry as part of their ACE Manifest responses.