Customs Clearance: 4 Things Business Owners Should Know

Becoming big enough to ship internationally is an important step in a company's growth, but it's also a step that often ends in tripping on red tape. Going through customs is a logistical nightmare, but you can limit your company's losses in the process by becoming educated on the subject. Here are some tips about how to get through customs for businesses just going international.

Going Through Customs is a Lengthy and Expensive Process

To the average person, going through customs seems as simple as filling out some paperwork and moving on like at the airport, but depending on what you're trying to bring into what country from where, customs is usually a lot more complicated. Large amounts of freight might be stored for days during the process, costing your business money and valuable time. To deal with each country's trade regulations, you may need to hire a specialist who is familiar with the laws of the land.

Freight Forwarder or Customs Broker?

There are two types of employees who are often responsible for handling customs on overseas shipments: the freight forwarder and the customs broker. The freight forwarder has a general knowledge of all things related to shipping including packaging, estimated costs, and trade regulations in various countries where they do business. Freight forwarders work as exporters and communicate with customs brokers abroad to make sure their shipments clear customs in the destination country.

Customs brokers work on the receiving end when raw materials and other goods are imported from other countries to your business. They manage costs and documentation required to pass through U.S. customs and work with freight forwarders who are exporting from other countries. You can also hire a customs broker to receive your shipments in another country or, for even more efficiency, partner with a third-party logistics provider.

What Documents Are Needed to Go Through Customs?

The documents needed to get a shipment through customs vary from country to country. They almost always include a bill of lading, which is a list of the cargo being shipped combined with a contract showing that the cargo was received in fair condition at a certain place at a certain time. However, that's only one document out of a long list. Countries may require a bill of entry, a commercial invoice, an import license, proof of insurance, and more.

Loading a Container Improperly Causes Unexpected Holdups

If this is your first time shipping cargo containers overseas, don't fall into the trap of packing your shipping container improperly. Doing so can make your container look suspect and catch you extra inspection time as it goes through customs. Hire shippers that have experience in import/export, not just your average household movers, to make sure your container is packed properly.

With the assistance of a customs expert and other shipping professionals, you can limit the amount of time and effort it takes for your shipments to get through customs. If you need help managing your apparel business' customs clearance, contact The Apparel Logistics Group Inc. for a free consultation.

Posted: 8/10/2015 10:54:31 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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