When shipping internationally, licensed customs brokers or freight forwarding companies help you move your goods more efficiently. By knowing all of the ins and outs of shipping, experienced customs brokers or freight forwarding company agents complete all of the proper forms and pay all of the fees for smooth sailing of your cargo.
A reliable freight forwarding company must:
- Act as your transporter forwarders and be familiar with the import rules and regulations of foreign countries.
- Be familiar with export regulations of the U.S. government.
- Know the methods of shipping.
- Be familiar with all of the documents needed for foreign trade.
- Be licensed as a freight forwarding company by the International Air Transport Association for air freight and the Federal Maritime Commission to handle ocean freight.
- Be licensed and regulated as transportation intermediaries by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help you meet federal requirements governing imports and exports.
- Be knowledgeable in entry procedures at foreign ports of entry.
- Know port of entry admissibility requirements, entry fees, classification, valuation, rates of duty and applicable taxes for all imported cargo.
Find licensed customs brokers and freight forwarders quicklyAlthough there are tons of customs brokers and freight forwarders in the Yellow Pages of your local phone book, ensure you're using a licensed customs broker or freight forwarding company.
Know the rulesKeep abreast of the latest changes in customs laws in the U.S. and other countries, and don't hesitate to question your transportation intermediaries about the procedures they are following.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site tracks any changes in U.S. Customs laws.
Know the toolsKnow what tools your customs broker or freight forwarder is using to book and track your cargo. Ask him how he books cargo and what transportation companies he uses. If shipments are containerized, can he offer you less-than-containerload (LCL) service, where you share space in a container with another shipper saving thousands of dollars?
Use transporter forwarders as full-service transport intermediariesThese companies can act as customs brokers and freight forwarders for international shipments as well as using their own services to ship the goods. This gives their customers the added advantage of "one-stop shopping" and being able to track their shipments online.
Choose a freight forwarding solution that fits your needsBe aware of what customs brokers and freight forwarding services are able to do for you. In which modes of transportation do they specialize? In what countries do they practice the most business, and are they always aware of the latest changes in laws in these countries?
- Know up front how much it costs to ship items through customs brokers and freight forwarders so that you and the customer receiving the goods can agree on a final price that includes all import and export fees, port fees, tariffs and any other expenses.
- Ask exactly who to call if there's a problem such as lost shipments or fees you wish to dispute.