Challenges of Not Using a Customs Broker

Posted on: 7 April 2016

Some new businesses may consider handling customs clearance issues in-house as a way to cut operational costs. While this is possible, you should be prepared to face numerous challenges as you handle this complex process. This article discusses some of those challenges that you would face if you decided to handle all your customs clearance issues on your own.

Regulatory Compliance Challenges

Each jurisdiction has regulations that have to be met before a shipment is cleared to enter or leave that jurisdiction. For example, there may be regulations regarding special duties that have to be paid by importers of goods that are subject to import quotas. It can be challenging for you to put together all the necessary paperwork so that relevant agencies clear your shipment. Customs agents undergo extensive training so that they know where to refer to for assistance regarding the different documents that have to be submitted to different government agencies. They also keep updated about any regulatory changes. It can be very hard to monitor all the changes that take place in the relevant regulations.

Communication Challenges

Customs clearance agents have technology that enables them to transmit relevant information to warehouses, trucking companies and government agencies. It may cost a very large sum of money to acquire the different software packages that enable this efficient sharing of information. The overhead of maintaining that technology may be too high if you do not import or export a lot of cargo to justify that expense. The absence of that technology may demand that you spend a lot of time on phone talking to each of the concerned parts of the chain through which your cargo must pass. Costly oversights can result from such a manual process.

Pickup and Delivery Challenges

You may also find it hard to track and coordinate the pickup and delivery of your goods at different points during their importation or exportation. For example, your shipment may be selected for a custom examination due to inconsistencies in the paperwork. You need to have the goods dropped off at the exam point, and then pick them up immediately after the exam. The customs exam may raise additional action points, such as having samples tested by specialised laboratories. Juggling your other duties together with these customs developments can be overwhelming.

As you can see from the discussion above, it may be better to hire a customs agent so that you are sure that professionals are in charge of the entire process. The challenges non-professionals face can cause the cost of freight forwarding to spiral out of control.