In some cases, the Importer of Record is also the owner of the goods. However, if a third-party service such as a customs broker is used, they take temporary ownership of goods until cleared through customs. Once cleared, the consignee takes ownership.
An IOR number is a unique number given to the Importer of Record by the destination country’s government.
The consignee is the entity that takes ownership or responsibility of the goods once they have been through customs clearance. In cases where the imported goods belong to the company in-country and are for internal use or storage, the consignee can act as an importer but are not always the same entity.
Not all freight forwarders or couriers may be willing or able to act as the IOR. They may not possess the correct licenses and permits required to perform a compliant import.
Under DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) shipping, a seller is responsible for the shipment’s goods until the point at which it’s finally delivered. This occurs regardless of which mode of transport is selected.
When selling, the local buyer in a sales transaction can act as their own Importer of Record (IOR). However, for cost and convenience, many choose to work with a licensed IOR service partner who can take control of all the relevant legal requirements and mitigate unnecessary penalties.