What Is A Customs Broker And Do You Need One?
Most companies start their business locally, but once you observe an excellent trade flow, you may consider expanding to international trade. With the spike in e-commerce shops and giant retail platforms, it has become easier to spread products beyond the border. However, customs brokerage remains a challenging and complex procedure. Businesses of all scales search for a customs broker to make importing operations and customs clearance more straightforward and faster.
What is a customs broker?
A customs broker is an expert who provides professional services in arranging the customs clearance process for your international shipments. The main specialization of a customs clearance broker is filling out paperwork and ensuring to follow all of the rules and compliances of cross-border trade. A broker can be a private individual, corporation, or entity.
All customs clearance brokers must be certified and accredited by the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP). Only the official verification gives them the right to operate on the market and provide their services to importers and exporters. Brokers tender required paperwork and bills to the CBP on behalf of the importer. Essentially, the customs broker receives a fee for providing customs clearance services.
Why do I need a customs broker?
You don’t have to hire customs brokers. However, if you decide to submit all the documents independently, you are fully responsible for knowing the rules and regulations. You are also responsible for the accuracy of the information that you provide. For that reason, many businesses hire brokers for their convenience and to avoid errors and charges. Most companies and shippers don’t have experience exporting and importing goods. So, it’s better to turn to expert help to ensure a few principal points of international shipping.
Hiring a customs clearance broker provides numerous benefits, such as:
- expertise in customs clearance
- ensuring that all cargo loads are cleared without any hitches
- providing accurate shipping quotes
- offering efficient freighting solutions
- saving time by handling complex customs clearance processes
By using a customs clearance broker to handle international shipments, businesses have the time to focus on their core operations.
Do I Need An International Shipping Broker?
The international logistics process isn’t too simple to organize. It seems reasonable to direct paperwork clearance responsibilities to a customs broker. Instead of contacting governmental offices alone, you’ll get all the document issues sorted out by a professional. The appropriate paperwork management will exclude the possibility of shipping disruptions or facing unexpected logistics restrictions.
Addressing customs brokerage services can be considered one of the guarantors of successful international delivery. If organized correctly, freight shipping carriers complete all the shipping operations without delays, and your customers will receive their orders on time.
Proper cargo classification
The official government regulations described in the U.S. Harmonized Traffic Schedule classify all imported goods. As a business owner who only starts shipping your products internationally, you may not be familiar with the long list of classification requirements. With this in mind, customs brokers will aid you in proper freight class determination so that none of the transported items gets eliminated from your cargo. You can also get some recommendations on how to pack your items for international shipping.
Cost-efficiency and avoiding customs fees
Many businesses that plan to ship overseas are worried about unexpected fees. In this case, customs brokers will inform you about all the principal financial transactions and additional charges you might have to cover during transit. However, if a broker appropriately leads all the customs paperwork and classifies all of your transported items by the government instructions, you are not likely to fund any extra charges. Even if you doubt the necessity of addressing customs brokers, it is better to use their services to avoid possible restrictions and remain cost-efficient when shipping overseas.
When do I need to hire a customs broker?
Running cross-border trade by yourself can appear exhausting and time-consuming. Hiring a customs broker or an export broker is pretty beneficial if you want your international shipping to take off with no interruptions and thrive on staying focused on your core business operations.
The international shipping process can be unpredictable due to many details. If you don’t have any previous experience submitting paperwork to customs, it is undoubtedly better to get professional support. Qualified customs clearance brokers will familiarize you with all the shipping regulations and resolve miscommunications that sometimes occur in global trade.
Where do I find customs brokers?
It depends on the shipping service you are using for moving your goods. Some shipping companies provide only freight forwarding and handling services and won’t be able to help you with customs clearance. Also, some companies like FedEx or UPS have in-house customs brokers. However, it won’t be a good fit if you’re looking for a minor service like a shipment broker or an export broker. Ultimately, it’s better to work with freight shipping companies that can offer you the option to work with customs brokers or recommend a reliable one.
What should you consider when selecting a customs broker?
- Experience: It’s crucial to choose a broker with experience in your specific industry or type of goods. This ensures they are familiar with the specific regulations and challenges your shipments might face.
- Reputation: Look for brokers with positive reviews and testimonials. A good reputation in the cargo logistics industry is often a sign of reliability and expertise.
- Fees: While it’s essential to get competitive shipping quotes, it’s equally important to understand the fee structure of the customs broker. Ensure there are no hidden charges.
- Network: A broker with a vast network can ensure smooth cargo shipments, even when there are disruptions in standard shipping routes.
International shipping with GoShip
Whenever you are ready to grow your business, try to ship goods cross-border with GoShip. We provide reliable full truckload and LTL shipping services and can recommend reliable customs brokers. Cooperating with expert and reliable shipping platforms like GoShip will make your logistics experience smooth and beneficial. We prioritize providing you with a quality service at a reasonable price. Visit our website and get a free FTL or LTL quote in a few clicks.