When shipping internationally, you need to understand everything about customs on both sides of the border, and this can be a challenge. A customs broker is someone who handles many aspects of international shipping for you and who can make the process of clearing customs clearance much easier and faster overall. Note a few reasons why this is and why you should consider using a customs broker for international shipping and freight forwarding.
1. Deciding on modes of transportation
International shipping often means more than just trucking; your materials may need to travel by sea, air, or rail in order to reach their destination. Each of these modes of transportation will have their own advantages when it comes to pricing and speed of transport, but each may also have their own regulations about how your materials need to be packaged. A customs broker can discuss all these details with you and help you determine the best mode of transport according to your budget, schedule, and the various regulations you would have to meet for sea transport versus air transport and the like.
2. Understanding regulatory agencies
The laws regarding the importing and exporting of goods will usually fall under a variety of agencies, and trying to sort them all out for your particular materials can be confusing. For example, if you're sending something to the U.S., food products are usually regulated by the Department of Agriculture, whereas fish are typically regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If you're exporting fish to the U.S. for food consumption, you may need to determine which agency would regulate your product, or if you need to consult with regulations from both. A customs broker will be familiar with these types of regulations and agencies and can make this process much easier for you.
3. Ease of freight forwarding
Freight forwarding refers to the process of a separate company picking up your freight at the border and then taking it to its final destination; this can pose problems for you if a freight forwarder should fail to make your scheduled pickup, but a customs broker may have contacts with several such services. They can not only arrange for another freight forwarder if yours should not be available, but they may also be able to help you choose a freight forwarder in the first place. This can be especially invaluable if you're exporting to a country where there may be a language barrier, which can make it difficult for you to coordinate with a local transport company for your freight forwarding needs.