Understanding the Customs Power of Attorney in International Shipping

When you’re in the world of international shipping, especially when dealing with imports from China, you may often come across the term “Customs Power of Attorney.” It’s not just a legal document but an essential aspect of customs business activities, especially for customs brokers. So, what exactly is a Customs Power of Attorney, and why do customs brokers need it? We’re here to clear up the confusion and provide you with all the essential information you need to understand this crucial document.

1. What is a Customs Power of Attorney?

A Customs Power of Attorney, often abbreviated as POA, is a legal document that grants specific authority to a customs broker. This authority allows the customs broker to act on behalf of an importer or any person who signs the document. The POA serves as a comprehensive document, containing all the necessary details and drafting tips related to customs business and border protection.

With the authorized signature of the vice president, the customs business or company can be initiated. This document is specifically designed for those who intend to operate a customs business on behalf of an investor, addressing social security and charges assessed during the process.

2. Why Do Customs Brokers Need a Customs Power of Attorney?

Customs brokers require a Customs Power of Attorney to conduct any customs business transactions on behalf of others. This document includes the importer’s ID number, essential for recording transactions within the customs business. It provides brokers with an overview of all transactions occurring in the customs business, making it easier to evaluate these transactions.

The authority or corporation also uses a POA document to monitor the data received from the customs business. It’s important to note that a POA document typically has a two-year limitation and requires renewal afterward. Any electronic transmissions or transactions related to the corporation or business are considered under the purview of the Customs Power of Attorney.


1. How Long is the Duration of a Customs Power of Attorney for Customs Business?

The maximum duration for a Customs Power of Attorney related to a customs company or corporate business is generally up to 2 years. During this period, the legal authority ensures that all international shipping and other transactions are appropriately handled, and electronic transmissions on behalf of the business are recorded.

2. Why Does a Customs Broker Use a POA Document for International Shipping?

Both the entity and the customs broker require a POA document for international shipping to manage different aspects of the shipment by the freight forwarder. It’s also used during authorized clearance, granting the importer access to process clearance on their behalf.

3. How Can You Verify the Power of Attorney Document?

The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for verifying the Power of Attorney document by searching for the Registering Authority. This authority is known for checking and verifying POA documents for customs brokers in partnership with other customs businesses. Therefore, it’s crucial to verify the Customs Power of Attorney form before starting a customs business.

4. What Does an Export Power of Attorney Mean?

Unlike the general Power of Attorney document, the Export Power of Attorney is a legal document that a freight forwarder obtains from the shipper or consignor. This document grants the shipper the right to issue a Power of Attorney for shipping purposes, especially for international transactions and customs clearance.


In a nutshell, a Customs Power of Attorney is a vital document for a freight forwarder looking to run an affiliate customs business on someone’s behalf. This document ensures the reliability of international transactions within a customs business or corporation. It enables agents to organize all the necessary documentation required to establish a customs business successfully. Therefore, if you’re planning to import from China or establish your business in affiliation with a Chinese company, it’s strongly recommended to secure the Customs Power of Attorney.

Product Enquiry