There are many definitions of "stakeholder". What is relevant for any definition is that a stakeholder is a person or a group who has an interest in a given situation, and who is an active player. A stakeholder can also be considered as an actor, in the sense of a person or organization who carries out one or more of the activities in an import or export process.

Trade Facilitation Stakeholders

Trade facilitation is characterized by many stakeholders at the national, regional or international level, and from the public as well as the private sector. The Buy-Ship-Pay Model of an international trade transaction groups the actors according to their roles as either Customer, Supplier, Intermediary or Authority. The following list shows the main stakeholders by group.

Customer Supplier Intermediary Authority
Buyer Seller
Transport Service Supplier
Importer Exporter Freight Forwarder Environment
Consignee Consignor Bank Agriculture
Ship to Ship from Insurance Provider Standards
Payor Payee Customs Agent Consular
    Broker Health
    Commission Agent Port
      Intervention Board (EU)
      Chamber of Commerce

Actors can also be grouped by their core business, meaning the function they perform for the trade transaction. These groups are:

  • Manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers who are active in the business of purchasing and/or selling goods.
  • Shipping and transport companies that organize and take care of the physical movement of goods, or arrange commercial transportation in the case of freight forwarders and logistics companies.
  • Other transport intermediaries such as port and airport authorities, terminal handlers, stevedores and warehouse operators, who are involved in the physical movement of goods.
  • Commercial banks and Insurance companies, which are used by traders for payment of goods, payment of duties and taxes, insurance of goods during transport, insurance of vehicles, and the deposit of guarantees and securities.
  • Other intermediaries, who are involved in the fulfilment of procedures, including customs brokers and Single Window operators, including service providers that are businesses that provide a service to one or a number of parties in the supply chain, usually in form of data processing and information exchange.
  • Government or public bodies that encompass executive agencies, government departments or ministries at state and federal (regional) levels. Their role/business is to authorize and control the cross-border movement of goods and enforce national legislation.

Role of associations

Business or trade and industry associations are stakeholders that represent multiple members. Associations may be organized for specific business sectors (e.g. the shippers' councils) or for the private sector as the whole (e.g. chamber of commerce, association of employers), and can also have an international or regional dimension. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA) are examples of international transport organizations, and the International Chamber of Commerce is the international association of chambers of commerce. These associations are usually set up to represent their members' interest in national policy processes and to disseminate information to and from their members. Trade and industry associations are essential in consultation process as it is usually impossible for individual companies/entities to follow and participate in all consultative processes for reasons of lack of time and information. Government agencies therefore often accept participation of associations as stakeholders in trade facilitation bodies.

Stakeholder Identification

Multiple trade facilitation stakeholders are linked to each other in one way or another. They are usually part of a network of multiple dependencies and relationships that shapes their behaviour and attitudes toward each other. A stakeholder analysis provides information on who exactly the national trade facilitation stakeholders are, why they should become involved, and what their interests are.