The confusion faced by an importer is common and yet leads to expensive mistakes. If you’re wondering what happens as a result of these errors, your shipment is likely to be stalled at the border, delaying delivery time or additional payments. However, they can be easily avoided if one learns from this blog and works methodically. Today’s blog will cover all the steps you need to take in order to successfully import freight by roadways across the border! Let’s get started right away!
- Contact a customs broker: The first and most essential step to importing a truckload of freight across the border is appointing a customs broker for your business. This professional has all the experience and exposure to help you get your cargo across borders without a hiccup. From the documentation, consultation, and the import process, they will be with you every step of the way. They also help in making your shipment clearances easier by expediting the process.
- Appoint an importer of record: After the customs broker, the importer of record is the most important party to your transaction. They are the ones who bear all responsibility and accountability for your freight, ensuring compliance with all the US laws. You can appoint the shipper, receiver, or a third party as the importer of record. This party will be partly listed in the customs documentation, being accountable for all tariffs payable to the government.
- Get in touch with a border trucking agency: There are several ways to get your cargo imported, but trucks are one of the most economical. While ships make sense for long-distance countries, if you wish to import goods and cargo from a neighboring nation, roadways are highly efficient. All you need to do is partner up with a reputed and reliable cross-border trucking company that can help you pack, seal, and safely receive your goods on time. There are several options that you can find based on your location, volume, frequency, and budget such as directly working with a freight company, getting a 3PL, or a freight broker.
- Get your documents in line: If you wish to have your shipment pre-approval done on time, your documentation must be impeccable. Get your customs broker to have a look at all the prerequisites as per the country and zone you’re sending this freight to. The rules between US-Canada require three important pieces of documents that you need to file in order to have your freight pass the clearance check, namely:
- Bill of lading
- Commercial invoice
- Certificate of origin
- Any additional paperwork as required by the authorities
- Learn about the tariff code: If you wish to trade goods between two countries as freight, the global Harmonized System or tariff code allows for this process. For instance, if you’re trying to import or export goods between two borders, you will need the codes for both countries. A Harmonized system of the tariff code consists of a list of product-specific codes as documented and sustained by the World Customs Organization WCO. The system is a standardized numerical methodology to classify products being traded that helps the customs authorities worldwide to assess products when identifying duties and taxes.
- Clear your freight shipment in advance: One of the biggest factors is saving time on delivery, which means preventing any delays and stoppages at the border. For instance, in Canada, you can ask your customs broker to take advantage of the Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) and provide release information to the border services agency (in the case of Canadian borders). This will help the officers review and process the shipment documentation before your truck reaches the Canadian border. This expedites the freight release or referral for the assessment for the trucking carrier upon the arrival of the driver. In the US, you have an inbound loading process known Pre-Arrival Processing System or PAPS to get through, which makes the transition seamless.
- Avoid making rookie mistakes: Sometimes, if you’re not in alignment with the documentation or rules, you may also attract penalties. Avoid the mistakes mentioned below to have a seamless transfer.
- Delaying or stalling getting your customs broker.
- A mismatch in the particulars of your commercial invoice and BOL.
- Proceed with the freight transport before you’ve set up an arrangement with the customs broker.
- Not providing any after-hours contact details in case of emergencies.
- Underestimating the freight and transportation transit time.
Now that we’ve shown you what you need to do, get started with your importing journey! In case you ever face any doubts, feel free to clarify it with your customs broker to avoid any rookie mistakes!