Defining the Parties

There are several different parties involved in importing goods from overseas. Katie Flanigan,
Gallagher’s Import Manager and Licensed Customs Broker, gives an Import Logistics class several times a
year at Denver’s World Trade Center. The first thing she teaches to her students is the definition of all
the parties involved – and there are a lot!

If you are a first-time importer, or new to the industry, this comprehensive list of customs terms and
definitions is a perfect place to start. It is important to understand the similarities and differences
between each of these terms and they may be used separately or interchangeable depending upon the

Customs Terms

Manufacturer / Supplier / Seller / Shipper / Freight Forwarder / NVOCC / Carrier / CFS / Importer / Ultimate Consignee / Customs Brokers / Self-Filers

Manufacturer: The party or entity responsible for the physical production of the goods

Supplier: The party or entity who is the source for the goods & makes the goods available

Seller: The party or entity who is responsible for collecting payment in exchange for the goods

Shipper: The party or entity responsible for shipping/initiating shipping of goods

Freight Forwarder: The party or entity which arranges for the transportation of goods on behalf
of the owner

NVOCC: Non-vessel Operating Common Carrier

Carrier: The party or entity responsible for the conveyance of goods

Container Freight Station (CFS): A handling/warehousing facility located near a Customs port
which accepts and unloads cargo containers

Importer: The party or entity responsible for the importation of goods

Importer of Record: For Customs purposes, the entity responsible for ensuring the
imported goods comply

Are you interested in learning more about Import Logistics? Call us at  303-365-1000 or email us today to learn when Katie’s next class is being held.