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Customs Broker

Jan 4, 2021

Customs broker and customs agent shaking hands after agreeing on your shipment with SHipa Freight

Shipping freight internationally can get complicated quickly. To make the process easier, many businesses turn to customs brokerage services.

Customs brokers or customs brokerage firms facilitate the shipment and delivery of goods across borders. They are licensed professionals who are familiar with all the rules for importing and exporting in their respective countries. Their customers include both individuals and organizations.


What Does a Customs Broker Do?

Customs brokers work to clear shipments through customs at international borders. Some of the tasks covered by customs brokerage services include:

  • Making sure goods meet governments’ import and export requirements.
  • Making payments on the customer’s behalf.
  • Ensuring that the commercial documents are compliant with regulatory requirements.
  • Correctly classifying goods for duty and taxes.
  • Preparing and submitting info to customs including origin and destination, suppliers, routing, and how the goods will be used.

The Advantages of Using a Customs Broker

Little character checking a check list for customs clearance with Shipa Freight

There are no laws that say that a company has to use a customs broker, and they are free to submit documents to customs on their own. However, to do that, the person submitting documents is responsible for fulfilling all the governments’ requirements. Many businesses see the value of using a professional who is familiar with this process.


Well Versed in All Regulatory Requirements

Customs rules and regulations are constantly changing, are inflexible, and can cause delays if not met to the letter. Customs brokers will have extensive knowledge on the import and export customs clearance requirements for the countries they work with.


The Skills to Clear Customs

Customs brokers will follow a shipment and make sure that it passes the customs inspections. They focus their knowledge on the rules of specific ports to ensure that they can always advise on the best and fastest way to meet customs legal and administrative requirements for your cargo.


Verifying all Declarations

If a business makes a faulty declaration, it is responsible. Filling out a declaration incorrectly can mean a fine, audit, or even sanctions against the business. Having a licensed professional verify declarations makes sure this doesn’t happen.


Correctly Identifying Goods

All goods have to be correctly identified as they cross borders to be sure that all tariffs, taxes, and duties are paid in full before the goods continue to their destination. Every good has its own classification number as well as group and sub-group. A customs broker will make sure that the correct number is used.


Clearing Formal Entry

A broker will aid a business in clearing formal entry, which is the term used for the import of goods above a certain value, usually $2,500, that require an entry bond. Specific information has to be supplied for the goods that fall under this category in order for them to pass inspection.

Some goods, such as the ones listed below, need to pass formal entry mandatorily. This includes goods such as:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cosmetics
  • Chemicals
  • Biological materials
  • Agricultural products
  • Dairy products
  • Food

If paperwork isn’t in order, the shipment will be held at the border until customs receives the necessary documents. What Makes a Customs Broker Qualified?

If paperwork isn’t in order, the shipment will be held at the border until customs receives the necessary documents.

What Makes a Customs Broker Qualified?

Three people over a checklist for customs clearance with Shipa Freight

The exact requirements vary from country to country for customs brokers. Generally, they require the broker to be licensed by the government of the importing country. While the requirements to become licensed will vary for each governing body, they could include passing an exam, being a certain age, citizenship, or not being employed by the government.

Ensuring that a customs broker is compliant with customs for the country the goods are being shipped to gives the customer peace of mind that all regulatory requirements will be met.

Ensuring that a customs broker is compliant with customs for the country the goods are being shipped to gives the customer peace of mind that all regulatory requirements will be met.

Do I Really Need a Customs Broker

Using customs brokerage services is the convenient choice for companies to ensure that their goods pass customs without any issues. Most importers and exporters feel more confident shipping cargo knowing that they have dedicated professionals handling all of the regulatory requirements. Customs brokers will help clients pass customs, fill out and verify paperwork, classify and identify goods, and pass formal entry.