"Keeping Australia's
International Trade Moving"


Trading Terms


Customs brokers and forwarders have traditionally traded under very one-sided conditions. It is common to see complete exclusions of liability and clauses that require customers to indemnify the customs broker/forwarder for any cost whatsoever. From 10 November 2023 new laws will make such terms illegal in many contracts. Examples are contracts with businesses with less than 100 employees, businesses with less than $10 million annual turnover and consumers. The laws will not apply to contracts for the international carriage of goods by sea, but can apply to contracts for air freight, domestic transport, storage and customs clearance. It is important to use a set of terms and conditions that:

  • Comply with the law
  • Are enforceable
  • Give you the full benefit of international conventions
  • Exclude liability to the maximum legal extent
  • Give you the powers to do the activities that are a necessary part of international freight such as passing on unexpected and uncontrollable costs, disposing of dangerous goods, changing routes and delivery dates and exercising a lien over goods.

Customs and trade specialist CGT Law has prepared a set of terms and conditions designed for customs brokers and freight forwarders that takes into account the changes in the law. FTA is able to offer customs brokers and forwarders a set of trading documents that provides the best legal protection for the one low fixed price.

For the one off payment of $880 (incl GST) FTA members will receive:

  • A clear, concise and legally robust set of trading terms and conditions designed specifically for brokers and forwarders
  • A template credit application
  • A template director's guarantee
  • A letter of authority
  • A template letter to use when providing the new terms to client
  • Template wording for email signatures
  • A letter to you from CGT Law explaining how to use the pack of documents
  • Free updates to the documents due to legal developments until 1 January 2025

Importantly, all of the template documents have been designed to work together helping to ensure they are enforceable.

Now is the time to update your terms

Unfair contract terms - While laws relating to unfair contract terms with small businesses have been in place since November 2016, from November 2023 the scope of the law is changing. Previously a small business was defined as less than 20 employees. From November 2023 a small business will be less than 100 employees. Terms that may have previously been OK, may now be both unenforceable and expose you to fines. CGT Law has produced a balanced set of terms that keep most of the rights brokers and forwarders have previously enjoyed, but express them in a fairer, legally enforceable, way.

Your terms and conditions need to address:

  • The customer's liability for container detention
  • Your ability to pass on unexpected surcharges and storage costs
  • What happens if you are treated by Customs as the "owner" and liable for duty
  • Under SOLAS you may be the shipper - what if your customer gives you incorrect weight information
  • Who owns the tariff database you have developed
  • What happens if your obligation to disclose to Customs conflicts with your client's interest
  • Your ability to pass on or markup supply chain disbursements
  • The client's chain of responsibility obligations
  • Your ability to terminate credit terms if the customer is late in paying

The CGT Law/FTA terms and conditions cover all of these issues. What's more, the terms are clear, transparent and shorter than other template terms offered to customs brokers and forwarders.

Recently updated your terms and conditions?

CGT Law will undertake a free review of your terms and conditions and let you know if there are any areas where you are not fully covered or which may breach the law.


If you purchased the FTA terms and conditions pack prior to August 2023 please ensure that you are using the August 2023 version. The previous version was not drafted to comply with the law applying from November 2023. Please contact us at info@FTAlliance.com.au or 02 9975 1878 to obtain the August 2023 version for no additional charge.

Further information

For more information and to order your full set of trading terms and conditions documentation, please contact us at info@FTAlliance.com.au or 02 9975 1878.

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