When you need to import or export goods, you might consider working with a customs clearance service or customs broker. This company or individual assists you in getting your items through customs, either for bringing them into the country or for exporting your goods. Before you decide on the best way to move your materials internationally, note a few commonly asked questions about using this service and what it can do for you.
Can a customs clearance service speed up delivery of items?
A customs broker cannot control delivery times or somehow get your items "to the front of the line" when it's time to have materials inspected. However, they can help to avoid delays caused by improper or incomplete paperwork, improper classification of your goods, poor packaging and the like. This can ensure that your items are not held at customs or outright seized.
Do customs brokers have specialties?
Many customs clearance services will offer their services for any type of item you may be importing or exporting, but some brokers will specialize in certain goods; this can include foodstuffs, furs and machinery, as an example. You don't need to choose a customs broker that specializes in your types of goods, but doing so can help ensure that they will know the current laws regarding your industry in particular, that they will be able to assist with lowering any tariffs you might be charged and that your items will always be classified correctly. In turn, as said above, you may face fewer delays at the border and may have less cost for importing or exporting those items as well.
Do you need to use a customs broker?
You don't legally need to use a customs broker to move your goods in and out of the country, but in addition to the benefits already listed, note that many customs brokers can offer further handling of your goods once they cross the border. A customs broker or clearance service may work with freight forwarders who can deliver those goods to their final destination and with warehousing companies who can hold your goods at the border if needed. A customs broker will also usually have the latest technology for tracking your shipments, so you can ensure a timely arrival of your materials. You may even get a discount for using all these services through your customs broker, if they bundle them along with the brokerage service itself.