International Transportation Intermediaries

An international trade intermediary is a third-party (that is not a party to the sale of the goods, i.e. not a buyer or seller) that helps to facilitate the transportation and distribution of the goods that are the subject of the transaction. In the United States, intermediaries involved in the transport of goods by truck must be licensed by the FMCSA, with the exception of truck dispatchers who must operate as bona fide agents of a motor carrier. The dispatcher operates under the carrier’s FMCSA authority. Transport Intermediaries that operate in sea transport must register with the Federal Maritime Commission. These include freight forwarders and non-vessel common carriers.

Customs Broker: A customs broker is an individual (or a company, i.e. brokerage) that is licensed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to help imports and exports comply with sending and receiving international goods. Brokers submit information and payments to CBP on behalf of their clients and charge them a fee for this service.

Freight Brokers: A freight broker is a third-party that arranges the transport of freight by a carrier. This is done on behalf of the shippers.

Truck Dispatchers: A truck dispatcher is a third-party that works on behalf of a trucking company to find it’s drivers loads.

NVOCC: A non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) is a company that books space on a ship. The NVOCC does not have an interest or control of the ship.

VOCC: A carrier that is transporting goods on another’s vessel is a vessel operating common carrier (VOCC).

Freight Forwarders: Freight forwarders reserve space on ships but do not issue bills of lading.

Indirect Air Carrier: Indirect Air carriers must register with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Intermodal Marketing Company: An intermodal marketing company is a logistics company that purchases space on railroads and with motor carriers, to provide a service under a single freight bill.



Young, A. “What is an Intermodal Marketing Company (IMC)?” June 5, 2019. InTek Freight & Logistics Inc. Retrieved from:

“About the Industry.” Transportation Intermediaries Association. 2021. Retrieved from:

“Becoming a Customs Broker.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 2021. Retrieved from:

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