Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers

Delivery Services

Packages (up to 150 pounds) and freight (over 150 pounds) can be handled by the international networks of delivery services like FedEx Express International, FedEx Freight International, DHL or UPS.  There are some restrictions (for instance, some FedEx services will not handle carnets for temporary import).  If the shipment will need individual attention, a broker/forwarder may be necessary. A freight forwarder/customs broker can assemble the right combination of carriers, clearances, and documentation for more complicated shipments. 

Customs brokerage is the role of facilitating items through customs, and includes submitting documentation, paying taxes and duties, and working with importers to identify and get necessary clearances (FDA, USDA, Fish & Wildlife, etc.).  In the U.S., customs brokers are licensed by Customs & Border protection. 

Freight forwarding is the role of arranging with carriers for items to move from origin to destination (their trade association calls them "Architects of Transport".  Often, a single company will act as both freight forwarder and customs broker.

If you use an international package/freight delivery network, the freight forwarding and customs brokerage roles are bundled into the service:

  • FedEx Express International
  • FedEx Freight International
  • DHL
  • UPS Global Trade

Shipments that need special attention (export licenses, temporary exports, special requirements for import into receiving country, etc.) may be best handled through a freight forwarder/customs broker, MIT's preferred broker for campus shipments is:

Carmichael International Service
140 Eastern Avenue
Chelsea, MA  02150
Exports:  Roberto (Rob) Vittozzi,

MIT's preferred broker for Lincoln Lab shipments is FedEx Trade networks.

If it becomes necessary to use a different freight forwarder or customs broker, please discuss with Sara Malconian or Janet Johnston first.