Customs Broker/Freight Forwarder Kaiwhakawhiti Taupare/Utanga

Customs brokers and freight forwarders arrange the clearance (through customs) and collection of imported cargo, and the shipment of cargo for export.

Customs brokers and freight forwarders may do some or all of the following:

  • find the most appropriate and cost-effective way of moving goods
  • check import/export documents and clear goods through customs
  • arrange insurance for goods, and the payment of duties and taxes
  • classify goods into different tariff groups by using an international tariff-coding system
  • document cargo and complete relevant paperwork for submission to customs
  • communicate with transport companies and record the movement of goods while they are in transit.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for customs brokers and freight forwarders includes:

  • working for a shipping line or importer/exporter
  • work in customs
  • courier work
  • office or accounts work
  • warehouse and stores work.

Personal Qualities

Customs brokers/freight forwarders need to be:

  • accurate and well organised
  • inquiring and willing to learn while they are working
  • able to work well under pressure and make decisions quickly
  • good communicators
  • able to gain people's trust and keep information private.


Customs brokers and freight forwarders need to have knowledge of:

  • transport systems
  • methods of packing and stowing goods
  • customs regulations and procedures
  • carriage of goods laws, including dangerous goods and biosecurity regulations
  • international laws and standards for transporting goods
  • shipping terms and United Nations port codes.


Custom brokers and freight forwarders:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may need to work evenings or early mornings to communicate with clients in different time zones
  • work in offices, warehouses and sometimes at airports or ports.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a customs broker or freight forwarder. However, NCEA Level 3, business studies, English and maths are useful.

Customs Broker/Freight Forwarders can earn around $47K-$90K per year.

Pay for customs brokers and freight forwarders varies depending on experience, level of responsibility, and the size of the company.

  • Customs brokers usually earn between minimum wage and $90,000 a year.
  • Freight forwarders usually earn between minimum wage and $70,000.

Sources: Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand (CBAFF), 2018; and Platinum Freight Management, 2018.

Customs brokers and freight forwarders may progress into management positions.

Customs brokers and freight forwarders often specialise in either importing or exporting. They may also specialise in a type of freight such as air or sea freight.

Years Of Training

<1 year of training required.

Becoming a customs broker

To become a customs broker you need to have a Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation unique user identifier (CBAFF UUI) course certificate. This allows you to apply for a New Zealand Customs unique user identifier (UUI), commonly known as a personal identification number (PIN). You need a PIN to lodge documentation with New Zealand Customs.

Becoming a freight forwarder

There are no specific requirements to become a freight forwarder. However, a New Zealand Certificate in International Freight Forwarding may be useful.

Customs Broker/Freight Forwarder