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NOC Code: NOC Code: 1236 Occupation: Customs, Ship and Other Brokers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Customs brokers clear goods through customs and to their destination on behalf of importer and exporter clients. Ship brokers buy and sell cargo space on ships and buy and sell ships, yachts and other watercraft on behalf of clients. This unit group also includes other brokers, not elsewhere classified, who negotiate commercial transactions or other services between parties on behalf of clients. They are employed by customs, ship or other brokerage establishments or may be self-employed. Customs brokers clear goods through customs and to their destination on behalf of importer and exporter clients. Ship brokers buy and sell cargo space on ships and buy and sell ships, yachts and other watercraft on behalf of clients. This unit group also includes other brokers, not elsewhere classified, who negotiate commercial transactions or other services between parties on behalf of clients. They are employed by customs, ship or other brokerage establishments or may be self-employed.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read text on forms and labels. For example, read descriptions of services on invoices and handling and storage instructions on the warning labels of hazardous goods. (1)
  • Read memos and notices issued by governments and port authorities. For example, a customs broker may read a customs notice from the Canada Border Services Agency to learn about the revised normal values and export prices of steel products. A transport broker may read a memo from a port authority indicating that a particular vessel is ready to load bicycle parts into its hold. (2)
  • Read responses to clients' appeals of government decisions. For example, a customs broker may read the Canadian International Trade Tribunal's response to an appeal of a decision made by the Canada Border Services Agency. The broker reads this response to verify the tribunal's ruling on the tariff classification for gas fired water heaters. (2)
  • Read email on a variety of topics from clients, supervisors, co-workers and colleagues. For example, read email from clients requesting information about fees, regulations and procedures. (2)
  • Read trade publications and e-magazines to stay abreast of industry trends and to identify business opportunities. For example, a customs broker may read an article posted on the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers" website to learn about factors which contributed to a recent increase in storage costs. A shipping agent may read an article in ITJ Logistics Worldwide to get an expert's predictions for the future of the world marine market. A yacht broker may read the brokerage pages in Canadian Yachting to get the details of boats which may be of interest to particular clients. (3)
  • Read legislation to verify rules and regulations, and provide advice to clients. For example, customs brokers read the Excise Act, the Excise Tax Act, the Customs Act, the Customs Tariff and other legislation governing the import and export of goods. They may select and integrate information from a number of acts to determine the duties, taxes and other fees to be paid by clients on specific goods. Ship brokers may review several sections of the Canadian Shipping Act to verify whether their clients' freight transportation procedures are compliant with safety and environmental regulations. (4)
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Writing
  • Write short comments on forms. For example, write brief descriptions of shipped goods on bills of lading and government reporting forms. (1)
  • Write email to clients, co-workers and colleagues. For example, write short messages to clarify procedures, request information about shipments and provide estimates of duties, taxes and other fees. (2)
  • Write audit and inspection reports. For example, a customs consultant may write an audit report after an investigation of a client's importing practices. Following the inspection of a carrier's equipment, a transport broker may write a report describing deficiencies found and changes needed to comply with government rules and regulations. (3)
  • Write contract clauses and agreements to settle commercial transactions between clients. Be explicit and precise to ensure that all concerned parties share a common understanding of terms and conditions. For example, ship brokers may write rider clauses to be included in agreements between vessel owners and cargo owners. They may also write agreements to conclude boat sales and purchases. (3)
  • Write letters to public and private sector organizations. For example, a customs broker may write to the Canada Border Services Agency to justify the procedure used for determining the duty rate on a specific good. A ship broker may write to an insurance company to give an expert opinion on the replacement value of a vessel that has sunk during a storm. A transport broker may write to a carrier to transmit an importing client's intent of claim. (3)
  • Write briefs to administrative tribunals on behalf of clients who are appealing government decisions. For example, customs brokers may write briefs to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal on behalf of clients appealing tariff classifications imposed by the Canada Border Services Agency. In the briefs, brokers may include references to, and quotes from, relevant government legislation. (4)
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Document Use
  • Scan product and warning labels for a variety of information. For example, scan labels on goods being traded to locate warnings and hazard symbols. (1)
  • Locate data in a variety of lists, tables and schedules. For example, customs brokers may read lists of codes to locate errors in data transmitted electronically to the Canada Border Services Agency. They may also scan tariff schedules to locate the preferential tariffs applying to certain goods. Shipping agents may read shipping schedules to locate vessels available for the transportation of clients' goods. (2)
  • Enter data into a variety of tables and schedules. For example, customs brokers may enter shipment data into spreadsheet tables to prepare invoices. Shipping agents may enter the arrival and departure times of clients' vessels into schedules to be forwarded to port authorities. (2)
  • Locate data in a variety of forms. For example, customs brokers may scan bills of lading to locate the details of shipments that must be cleared through customs. When cargoes have been loaded, ship brokers may locate freight charges on invoices sent by port authorities. They may also study forms completed by clients selling ships to locate data on tonnages, engines' horsepower, lengths and depths of keels. (3)
  • Complete a variety of forms. For example, customs brokers may complete electronic forms to clear goods through customs. Ship brokers may complete certificates of origin for goods being shipped. They may collect and enter details such as the exporters' and consignees' names and addresses, the routes, the numbers and gross weights of packages and the origins of the goods. (3)
  • Locate and retrieve data from a number of graphs contained in trade publications and e-magazines. For example, transport brokers may analyse graphs from various freight market research sources to identify rate trends over time. (4)
  • Interpret a variety of schematic drawings. For example, transport brokers may study schematic drawings to verify if carriers' equipment meets import restrictions. Ship brokers may review electrical schematics to identify modifications to vessels' original radio and navigation equipment. (4)
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Computer Use
  • Access government websites to review acts, regulations and procedures and to download forms. Perform keyword searches to obtain information on suppliers, exporting and importing clients, shippers and carriers. (2)
  • Use communication software. For example, create and maintain distribution lists, receive correspondence and send email to clients, co-workers and colleagues. Attach information about regulations and include links to government websites. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, transport brokers may use programs such as Access and FileMaker Pro to create and modify databases of individuals, companies and government agencies buying and selling cargo space, vessels and other goods and services. They may also search, display and print data from these databases. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, customs brokers may use programs such as Excel to sum the values of goods being imported by clients and calculate the duties and taxes owed. Transport brokers may create spreadsheets to track the arrival and departure times of carriers. Customs, ship and other brokers may also create spreadsheets to perform budget and invoice calculations. (3)
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, customs brokers may use release systems such as ACROSS, RMD and PARS to clear clients' goods through customs. Transport brokers may use route optimization software such as PC Miler to customize the travel itineraries of trucks delivering clients' goods. (3)
  • Use word processing. For example, write, edit and format text for audit and inspection reports, letters, agreements and briefs using programs such as Word. Supplement text with imported logos, letterheads and photographs. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, create slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. In order to develop effective presentations for clients and co-workers, import flow charts, scanned images and word processing files. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to suppliers about technical specifications, price quotes and delivery times for goods and services. For example, a shipping agent may talk to a fuel supplier to specify the type of fuel needed and ascertain that fuelling can be completed on time. A ship broker may speak to an insurance adjuster to enquire about the cost of insurance coverage for a client's cargo. (1)
  • Interact with supervisors to keep them up to date on clients' shipments and brokerage projects and to obtain guidance, recommendations and approvals. For example, exchange information and opinions about ongoing negotiations and the outcomes of audits, inspections and appeals. Discuss problems faced and solutions found. (2)
  • Interact with junior brokers and support staff to assign new tasks, provide directions, review completed tasks and help resolve difficulties. For example, a customs broker may assign the preparation of import documents to junior brokers, review documents they have completed and help them with the classification of unfamiliar goods. (2)
  • Attend meetings and join conference calls with co-workers and colleagues to share information about clients, projects, market trends, operating practices and government legislation regulating the import, export and transportation of goods. At these meetings, present suggestions for improving work processes and for handling challenging situations with clients and government authorities. (3)
  • Advise clients and give them information about the import, export and transportation of goods. For example, customs brokers provide clients with information about procedures for the payment of duties and fees. Transport brokers provide clients with information about transportation modes, tariffs, insurance policies, cargo space, departure times, travel routes and destinations. They provide shippers and charterers with advice on procedures for the safe and timely storage, loading, transportation, unloading and delivery of goods. (3)
  • Negotiate commercial agreements on behalf of clients. For example, ship brokers negotiate the purchase and sale of cargo space on behalf of individuals, companies and governments. They discuss offers and suggest counteroffers. They use persuasive arguments to obtain the prices, terms and conditions which will be the most advantageous for their clients. (3)
  • Represent clients before government officials and administrative tribunals. For example, customs brokers may present briefs to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal on behalf of clients appealing Canada Border Services Agency's decisions on the tariff classification of goods. Shipping agents may represent clients before the Canadian Coast Guard to discuss deficiencies found during vessel inspections and changes needed to comply with government rules and regulations. (4)
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Money Math
  • Calculate and verify invoice amounts. Calculate discounts, brokerage commissions, storage and freight charges, duties, taxes, insurances and other fees. For example, a customs broker may calculate duties, taxes, storage and transportation costs of imported goods released through customs. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Calculate time intervals and identify dates and hours for a variety of schedules and timetables. For example, transport brokers schedule the travel of clients' goods from origins to destinations. Given travel distances and speeds, they may calculate arrival times at different points including border crossings. (3)
  • Prepare and monitor budgets for the provision of customs, shipping and other brokerage services to individuals, businesses and governments. For example, a transport broker prepares and monitors a budget for the shipment of an entire velodrome from one site to another. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Determine dimensions, volumes and gross weights for a variety of goods. For example, a yacht broker may measure the height of a boat to be shipped by trailer to ensure it will clear all obstacles along the route. A transport broker may calculate the total volume and weight of several cartons to ensure that available cargo space will not be exceeded. (2)
  • Calculate distances using maps. For example, a ship broker may calculate the distance between the origin of a shipment and its destination by scaling distances on a shipping chart. A transport broker may calculate overland travel distances by adding the distances between towns and road junctions. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Analyse market data to identify trends. For example, a yacht broker may analyse boat sales in different categories over several years to determine changes in buying patterns as fuel costs rise. A transport broker may analyse freight market data over several months to identify rate trends. A customs broker may analyse customs data to determine increases or decreases in duties which occurred as a result of changes to trade agreements. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times needed to perform job duties using past experience as a guide. For example, a customs broker may estimate the time required to complete electronic forms for the clearance of goods through customs. A transport broker may estimate the time required to bring a vessel into port, load it and get it back to sea, given the amount of traffic at any particular time. (2)
  • Estimate costs and prices for clients. For example, a shipping agent may estimate port disbursements for a vessel's visit, considering elements such as the shipment's volume, harbour dues, pilots', linesmen's and boatmen's hourly rates, number of tugs required and fees for berthing, gangway, Shipping Federation and Coast Guard marine services. A yacht broker may estimate a boat's selling price, given its condition, prices paid for similar boats and the seller's motivation. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Customs, ship and other brokers work in dynamic environments with conflicting demands on their time. They plan and organize their days to meet clients' needs and to achieve corporate goals. They usually work with several clients concurrently so managing priorities is critical to their jobs. They frequently reorganize job tasks to accommodate requests from staff members, suppliers, clients and government agencies and to resolve delays in shipments, damages to clients" goods and other unexpected events. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Choose information to include in sales presentations. Since legislation governing the import, export and transportation of goods is complex, carefully select the messages to emphasize and use language appropriate for diverse audiences. (2)
  • Set priorities for shipments when processing multiple orders. To help determine the importance of orders, verify which shipments are currently being held at entry points, which transporters are waiting for cargoes and which clients have the earliest expected arrival times. (2)
  • Select tasks for junior brokers and support staff. Consider individual skills, experiences, strengths and weaknesses. Customer service will suffer if the wrong people are chosen. (2)
  • Select tariff classifications for imported goods. Consider factors such as the goods' compositions, end uses and levels of manufacture. If you assign goods to the wrong categories, clients may incur penalties and duties. (3)
  • Decide to refuse business from certain clients. For example, a yacht broker may decide not to represent clients who are asking an unrealistic price for their boat. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • You are asked to determine duties, taxes and other fees for goods that do not conform to any of the categories covered by legislation. In such cases, request rulings from government officials. (1)
  • Shipment records are inaccurate. For example, a customs broker may find out that a shipment record came back because of an error made in sending data electronically to the Canada Border Services Agency. The broker determines the nature of the error, corrects the entry and resends the shipment record. (2)
  • Cargoes have been damaged or lost. For example, transport brokers may receive phone calls from clients who did not receive their shipments. In such instances, they track shipments and let clients know when goods will be delivered. If shipments have been delayed at border crossings, they contact customs officers to find out which documents are missing and resubmit these immediately. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about changes to shipping and tariff rules and regulations by consulting co-workers and searching government websites, memoranda and notices. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the completeness and accuracy of documents prepared on behalf of clients prior to submitting them to authorities. For example, customs brokers review completed import documents prior to sending them electronically to the Canada Border Services Agency. (2)
  • Assess the compliance of clients' procedures with government rules and regulations. Collect and analyse quantitative and qualitative data on the clients' procedures. Write reports in which you discuss findings, offer conclusions and recommend changes to procedures. For example, a transport broker may evaluate the compliance of a carrier's freight transportation procedures with safety and environmental regulations. A customs consultant may assess the compliance of a client's importing procedures with customs regulations. (3)
  • Evaluate the performance of junior brokers and support staffs who you supervise. As part of these assessments, determine the extent to which the staff have been productive, adhered to established practices and contributed to the achievement of corporate goals. These conclusions may lead to recommendations for new assignments and further training. (3)
  • Evaluate the suitability of goods and services for clients. For example, transport brokers may evaluate the suitability of several modes of transportation. They question clients to determine their needs and preferences. They gather information on shipping rates and inspect carriers' equipment. (3)
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