NCBFAA: National Voice of Its Industry

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) represents more than 1,000 member companies with 110,000 employees in international trade – the nation’s leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries, NVOCCs and air cargo agents, serving more than 250,000 importers and exporters.

Tracing its roots back to 1897, the NCBFAA started out as the Customs Clerks Association of the Port of New York with membership limited to customs brokers and clerks in the U.S. Customs Service of the Port of New York. In 1922, this organization became the New York Customs Brokers Association and though the name changed, membership remained limited to New York customs brokers and clerks.

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During World War II, the Port of New York closed: New Orleans took over and became the foremost port in the country. Most of the freight forwarders in New York moved to New Orleans, some to Mobile, Alabama, and some to Tampa, Florida. After the war, this shift caused the organization to change its membership and the New York Customs Brokers Association, Inc., began including all licensed Customs brokers in the United States.

In 1948, the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc., was incorporated to succeed the previous New York Customs Brokers Association. Changes in the bylaws made forwarders eligible as regular members on a national basis, and as associate members on an international basis. During the 1950s, a group of farsighted members saw the need for a national vision and in 1962 the organization took on its current name with governance organized around the Customs Services geographic areas. A restructured dues system funded a national staff and membership was open to international air cargo agents in the United States and non-vessel operating common carriers.

Through its various committees, counsel and representatives, the Association maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect its members. It keeps them informed of these and other related issues through its website,, weekly Monday Morning eBriefing, and various meetings and conferences throughout the year.

In addition, the NCBFAA Educational Institute (NEI) provides educational opportunities to the entire trade community in the areas of international trade, supply chain management, global logistics, customs brokerage, export transactions, transportation, attendant government regulation, and those areas of knowledge necessary to manage or advance a career path in a business providing services to those sectors. Among its many other services, the NEI offers three professional online certification programs:

  • The Certified Customs Specialist Program assists trade professionals involved in the import industry to become experts in the current import regulations.
  • The Certified Export Specialist Program helps trade professionals involved in the export industry to become competent and knowledgeable in the current export regulations.
  • The Master Export Specialist Program introduces a higher level of excellence to the NEI’s outstanding continuing education program for a broad audience of industry professionals.

In the efforts it undertakes on behalf of its membership, the NCBFAA advocates for, and provides leadership to its members; offers industry participants the educational opportunities that promote professional growth; engages the legislative and regulatory community on their behalf; and serves as a forum for the exchange in ideas.

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