How to Choose a Customs Broker?
Are you are exporting or importing goods? If you do, you will surely know of the potential issues caused by customs clearance delays. To avoid these situations, many exporters and importers choose to work with customs brokerage services. A licensed broker can help in getting the cargo cleared at the customs house.
The process to do so involves a considerable amount of data and paperwork. Documents pertaining to the port of origin, the port of destination, the details of the cargo, the tax papers and so on must be prepared and submitted at the customs house. There are several reasons to hire a broker. However, you need to know how to hire one to get the most of their services.
While searching for a licensed customs broker, there are some questions that must be answered. Here are a few of them.
The Basic Questions
- How long has the broker or the agency been in business?
- Can they clearly outline the risks involved in the import or export of cargo? Find out how they can help in mitigating and overcoming those risks
- What kind of support can they provide to your type of business?
- Find out the information they need from you to assess your business requirements.
- How good are their customer services? There should be a single point-of-contact between you and the brokerage agency. You should be able to reach an actual person at the agency at all times of the day.
The Legal Aspects
- Is the broker or the agency fully licensed? All customs brokers must have the license to operate as one.
- Can the agency or broker clarify the legal aspects of the customs clearance? You need to have a proper understanding of all the laws that your cargo must comply with.
- Will they keep you informed as to the changes in the laws or regulations that affect the import and export of cargo, especially those that are relevant to your area of business?
- Can they provide clarification on the taxes that you need to pay?
- Are they a member of the customs associations? Brokers tend to require affiliation to specific associations or solidities in order to provide their services in a particular port.
Other Essential Questions
- Ask them to provide some references to their previous clients. Contact those clients directly and find out how good the customs brokerage services were.
- Check if the agency specializes in any particular business niche. Do they focus on the same area as your business?
- Will they provide you regular updates on your customs clearance process? You need to know where you stand so that you can plan accordingly.
- Will the agency work with you to develop a plan of action with respect to the customs clearance? This is especially important if you are planning to import and/or export cargo on a regular basis.
Often, it is s better idea to work with 3PL providers with their own customs clearance license. This allows them to oversee the entirety of your operations, minimizing the hassle you need to oversee. 20Cube is one such company.
20Cube Logistics also engages in customs clearance and have own CHA.