International customs clearance involves preparing the shipment for optimal compliance with the applicable regulations so that the goods imported are lawfully sourced and safe for consumers. New or existing importers often lack the time, knowledge, or visibility to understand this multi-step and complex – yet essential – part of their freight forwarding journey. As a result, businesses face roadblocks to smooth cross-border shipping.
As you will observe during your research, you need to understand the customs rules of the importing country to generate required paperwork and pre-pay your duties and taxes. While it may sound overwhelming, researching well ahead of time and strategic planning to ready your shipment for cross-border movement is the key to a hurdle-free customs clearance.
How Does Customs Clearance Work?
Every country has its own federal administrative body that inspects a shipment to ensure that it complies with the importing country’s customs policies and procedures. You may not have expertise in International Trade laws, but your familiarity with the customs regulations and understanding of the basic steps involved will ensure timely clearance of your goods:
You must prepare your Customs documents including the commercial invoice, shipping label, and any other pertinent documentation before submitting the paperwork for review and approval. Make sure that the answers are specific, accurate, consistent, and free of spelling errors. Keep in mind you need to label each part of the shipment individually if there are multiple goods and list them separately on the Customs documents. The country of manufacture, the purpose of shipment, product materials, and the sender and recipient’s contact details are essential details to be included.
Payment of Taxes and Duties
Depending on the importing country and type of freight, and volume, the customer may need to pay taxes and duties on the goods imported. Goods with unpaid dues are called Delivered Duty Unpaid freight and then forwarded to an independent Customs broker for collecting the amount. To avoid such unnecessary delay in Customs duty clearance, you can hire a proficient Customs broker while preparing your shipment for Delivery Duties Paid clearance. A good freight forwarder will always have an in-house licensed Customs broker to calculate the amount and process the dues in advance for you.
Once the paperwork is approved and customs clearance charges for import shipment are paid, the goods are released.
How to Avoid Delay in Customs Clearance Service
As an exporter, you must complete all the accounting correctly and assess the taxes and duties while preparing the shipment ahead of time. Thorough documentation, advance payment of taxes and duties, and staying on top of frequent regulatory changes can ensure a smooth and surprise-free customs clearance. The key here is to do your research well on the regulations and other requirements so that you can strategically maximize compliance of your goods for release at the destination.
Choose the Right Freight Forwarding Partner
An experienced Customs Broker can streamline and manage Customs clearance logistics for an exporting business, thereby saving unwanted complications and delays. That makes it all the more vital for you to choose a comprehensive freight management service provider judiciously. Select a freight forwarding partner who provides specialized services tailored to your transportation needs and offers critical support tools like in-house Customs Brokers for an end-to-end solution. Connect with our team to understand how we can prepare, manage, and deliver your shipment with transparency and cost-effectiveness.
At Transmodal, we take a hands-on and personal approach with our clients. When requesting a quote, we’ll discuss your options with you one-on-one to ensure your shipping needs are met. Whether you’re shipping goods by air or ocean, we’ll provide a transportation solution that is cost and time effective. And, if you don’t require full container loads, we can offer our consolidation services to meet your unique needs.
Sanjeev Bhalla is the founder of Transmodal Group and has been in the freight forwarding and logistics industry from 32 years. He holds an MBA in international business management and a diploma from the Canadian Institute for Traffic and Transportation (CITT). For the past 15 years, Transmodal has successfully handled billions of dollars worth of goods across all industries.