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Customs Agents

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GRACustomsCustoms Agents

Customs Agents

These are individuals and/or entities who have been given the permit and/or license to operate as mediators between the Customs Division of GRA and importers and exporters to facilitate trade and to assist in the movement of goods to-and-from the territory of Ghana and other countries. They therefore, ensure that all the proper procedures are followed throughout the shipping process until the goods depart from Customs custody.

Types of Customs Agents

There are three types of Customs Agents in Ghana. They are:

Customs House Agent (CHA)

Customs House Agent (CHA), also called Customs Broker or Customs Clearing Agent is a person licensed to act as an agent for transaction of any business relating to the entry or departure of conveyances or the import or export of goods at a Customs-controlled area. In Ghana, CHA licenses are issued and overseen by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarding is the high- efficiency method of shipping goods from one destination to another by way of various transport carriers, including sea, air, rail, and road. A freight forwarder is the representative who acts as an intermediary between a shipper and the shipper’s preferred transportation service carrier. Hiring a freight forwarder to import and export goods on your behalf can make the process much less daunting and stressful.

Shipping Agents

Shipping Agents are shipping companies or ship management companies that are in charge of transporting of goods from point A to point B. They provide the services of crewing, insurance (crew and vessel), quality and safety services including certification of the vessel (ISM and ISPS), purchasing (spare parts, lubricants, victuals, chemicals, etc.), employment of the vessel (chartering) and others.

Shipping companies may be owned and operated privately, publicly (government) or a combination of both in the form of partnership. Please see www.shippers.org.gh for more information.

When Importing goods into Ghana, these Customs Agents need to be employed at different points of the process to facilitate the shipping and clearing of goods. They are licensed and overseen by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Requirements for licensing of Customs Agents

  • A company that wants to engage in the business of Customs House Agent must be wholly owned by an indigenous Ghanaian and granted a licence by the Commissioner – General.
  • An employee of the company/institution must have a certificate of proficiency in customs business.
  • The person granted the licence must pay prescribed fees.
  • The licence is valid for one year and can be renewed.
  • A licence can be revoked or suspended where it breaches conditions specified in the licence or the provisions of the Act.

How to become a Customs Agent

The person shall submit

1 An application letter to Commissioner – General through the Commissioner of Customs, attaching all necessary documents as;

  • Letter of Recommendation from Association {Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana (FFAG), Customs Brokers Association of Ghana (CUBAG), Association of Customs House Agents of Ghana (ACHAG)}
  • Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Clearance
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Certificate to Commence Business
  • Business Plan
  • Company Staff List
  • Personal Data Form
  • Most recent Education Qualification Certificate
  • Customs Proficiency/ Exemption Certificate (2 Certificates)

2Successful applicants shall complete Customs Form C for their interface premises connected to the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) and licence for operation issued.

3A letter of introduction will be forwarded to the Collection where they will be operating to formally introduce the agent to them.

Role of a Customs Agent

  • Prepare, process and clear import and export documentation and goods according to customs regulations, laws, or processes
  • Pay, or arrange payment of, taxes and duties on shipments.
  • Sign documents on behalf of clients, using powers of attorney.
  • Stay abreast of changes in import or export laws or regulations by reading current literature, attending meetings or conferences, or conferring with colleagues.
  • Request or compile necessary import documentation, such as customs invoices, certificate of origin, and cargo-control documents.
  • Advise customers on import and export restrictions, tariff systems, insurance requirements, quotas, or other customs-related matters.
  • Confer with officials in various agencies to facilitate clearance of goods through customs and quarantine.
  • Arrange for transportation, warehousing, or product distribution of imported or exported products.
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