CLECAT was established in 1958 in Antwerp as 'European Liaison Committee of Common Market Forwarders' – also "Comité de Liaison Européen des Commissionaires et Auxiliaires de Transport du Marché Commun" (CLECAT). It is now based in Brussels with a permanent secretariat and offices close to the European institutions.
CLECAT is representing the interests of more than 19.000 companies employing in excess of 1.000.000 staff in logistics, freight forwarding and customs services. Multinational, medium and small freight forwarders and Customs agents are all within its membership, making the organisation the most representative of its kind.
European freight forwarders and Customs agents clear around 95% of all goods in Europe and handle 65% of the cargo transported by road, 95% of the cargo transported by air and 65% of cargo transport by ship. Freight forwarders also use rail freight, inland waterways and intermodal transport. They make extensive use of IT systems, dedicated terminals and warehousing to respond to the needs of their customers.
CLECAT has 20 national organisations of European freight related service providers in membership. CLECAT also offers the possibility for companies to join on certain conditions (see under how to join CLECAT).
The prima objective of CLECAT is to strengthen and improve the representation of the transport-logistics sector and customs services industry in Europe. In this respect the association's core purposes are to:
- to represent its Members vis-à-vis the institutions of the European Union;
- to influence, on behalf of the transport-logistics and customs services sectors, the current and future legislation of the European Union;
- to promote the transport-logistics and customs services sectors to representatives of the European Union as well as to society in general;
- to advise and inform Members about the effects of European Union developments on their sector.
CLECAT voices the interests of its members when EU regulation is reviewed or proposed with the intent to secure a uniform and seamless environment, where cargo can move freely and secure, to the benefit of international trade, with due respect to issues such as security and the environment.
Spokes-piece of Logistics in Brussels
CLECAT maintains an on-going dialogue and is regularly consulted by the European Commission and other Community institutions such as the European Parliament and Council on transport policy, logistics and customs issues. Through our sister-organisation FIATA, representing freight forwarders and logistic operators world-wide, we are active in numerous international governmental and non-governmental organisations including: OECD, UNECE, the International Transport Forum, WTO and the World Customs Organisation. CLECAT is a member of the EU Customs Trade High-Level Dialogue and the technical Customs Trade Contact Group. CLECAT is in liaison with technical committees of the Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN).
CLECAT regularly liaises with a wide variety of other transport industry representative groups such as: shippers; shipowners, ports, express carriers, intermodal/combined transport operators, airlines and railways.
Cooperation with FIATA
CLECAT works in close cooperation with FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations.
The official description of freight-forwarding services, as adopted by CLECAT & FIATA is as follows:
"Freight Forwarding and Logistic Services" means services of any kind relating to the carriage (performed by single mode or multimodal transport means), consolidation, storage, handling, packing or distribution of the Goods as well as ancillary and advisory services in connection therewith, including but not limited to customs and fiscal matters, declaring the Goods for official purposes, procuring insurance of the Goods and collecting or procuring payment or documents relating to the Goods. Freight Forwarding Services also include logistical services with modern information and communication technology in connection with the carriage, handling or storage of the Goods, and de facto total supply chain management. These services can be tailored to meet the flexible application of the services provided.
For more information about CLECAT's objectives and structure, please see: CLECAT official statutes 2008