Customs operator (ex ship broker)

Function / Activity

Customs operators are service providers and represent the ship’s agents. They stand for the captain vis-à-vis the administrations, notably the customs administration.

Their activity consists in:

  • “conducting the ships to customs”, that is carrying out all relevant procedures in order to exhaustively report the goods to be unloaded/loaded in the “summary declaration”. For this reason, they are the first link in the documentary chain that goes along with the physical transit of goods in the port;
  • calculating, cashing, paying port duties for the ships;
  • (for some of them) carrying out various declaratory obligations which the ship’s agent or shipowner has to provide, like ICS, dangerous goods in transit, etc.
  • (for sworn ship brokers) translating and registering with confirmation the sea reports that the captains have to produce after an “event at sea”.

The customs operator (ex ship broker) must not be confused with the charter broker or the broker who buys and sells ships.


Introduction to the profession in Marseille-Fos

The status of ship broker went through deep transformations when its privilege disappeared. The customs operator’s role remains the same in spite of this disappearance.


Future development of the profession

This profession is very close, operationally and financially, to the customs administration. The status of Approved Economic Operator, advocated by Customs, enables Customs Operators and their clients to profit from the conveniences and guarantees in security and safety that this status offers.