Successful Customs Brokerage Tips

There are many things to think about and take into account when dealing with international trade. Even though, with the advance of technology, this world keeps getting smaller and smaller, somehow international trade still poses many difficulties. For starters, there are many different laws and tariffs that are placed on the goods. Even worse, every country sets their own import procedures to control the movement of the goods within their borders, which makes the international trade even harder. This is why many companies hire special people to help them with customs brokerage. If you wanted to become a customs broker, then you are in the right place. In this article, we give you some of the greatest tips how to be successful at this.

Who are customs brokers?

Customs brokers are the people that specialize in customs clearance. They overlook the import of goods for their clients and help with everything necessary. Brokers can be individuals or companies, and even a domestic and international moving company Japan can do it! However, all brokers need a license. These licenses, of course, vary depending on the country. Every country has its own rules, so its own requirements too.

Paperwork and successful customs brokerage

Successful customs brokerage includes a lot of paperwork.
Successful customs brokerage includes a lot of paperwork.

One of the most important and toughest things you will be dealing with as a customs broker is a paperwork. In order to achieve successful customs brokerage, you will need to complete it and submit it on time with the appropriate customs service. There are certain things all packages need to include. These are:

  • the description of the goods you are transporting,
  • a certificate of origin,
  • the packing list,
  • the bill of lading,
  • the SKY number and
  • the tariff classification number.

Of course, these may vary from country to country. For a successful customs brokerage, you will need to be aware of all the requirements your client will need to meet. Also, never forget that in some cases, you will need special permits to transport certain goods. We will talk a little more about these in the next part of the text, though.

Another thing you will need to do for successful customs brokerage is correct the errors your client makes when sending their goods. There are many things a client can mess up when filling up the paperwork. Look for the item descriptions, as well as the number of items and the value. Basically, you should go over all of the paperwork carefully so you don’t miss anything important. If you do spot something, make sure you report it to the customs office immediately, after correcting it.

Go digital

Going digital can help your customs brokerage.
Going digital can help your customs brokerage.

A great way to deal with all the paperwork you will be doing is to go digital. This makes managing paperwork much easier. You can do most of the things in customs brokerage online. You can submit documents digitally, you can fill them up on your computer and it is much easier to correct mistakes this way, too! Also, there are many ways to follow your goods online too!

Successful customs brokerage demands hard work

If you want to be a customs broker, you must keep in mind that the job requires a lot of work. There is a whole number of things you need to do each time:

  • You need to know everything about the package to ensure its successful customs brokerage.
  • Also, you need to know about all of the regulations that apply to the package and the country where it is going.
  • You need to figure out the proper package label and classification.
  • Finally, you need to be very organized and able to follow deadlines. Crossing deadlines mean your client is losing time and money, and they will not be happy about it.

Be very specific

Another trait you need for successful customs brokerage is that you need to be very detailed and specific. When working on a package, you need to check every single detail about the goods. You need to know all of the information we mentioned above. You need to make sure that you also have any special license that you might need. For example, most countries will not allow you to carry weapons, medicine, alcohol, animal products or chemicals onto their territory without a special permission. Other countries might prohibit certain goods. Depending on where you are shipping the client’s goods, you need to be aware of these.

Keep detailed records of successful customs brokerage

All companies, international freight forwarding ones too, need to keep records of items. This applies to the whole trade process. From getting an item over storing it to receiving payment for it – the companies need to keep detailed paperwork of every step of the journey. This paperwork includes various invoices and shipping records, as well as proof of origin and value adjustments. As a customs broker, you can do this for your client. However, you will need a written authorization from the government sector in the country of origin.

You can specialize for the better customs brokerage

Making a choice about specialization can boost your customs brokerage.
Making a choice about specialization can boost your customs brokerage.

Another good tip is to specialize in different areas of customs brokerage. Depending on what you feel most comfortable with, you can specialize in the different area of expertise. The most obvious type of specialization is a type of goods you are working with. However, the choices do not end there. You might want to specialize in a certain shipment size, even a certain country or location! Finally, you can specialize in a certain transportation mode. This way, you can with only with sea freight forwarders or only with air freight forwarders, if you so desire.

It is true that there is a con to specializing. If you decide to be thorough about one area of customs brokerage, you will not be able to do a huge variety of import work. However, the pros of specializing outweigh the cons. By specializing in a certain area, you gain in-depth knowledge about that type of import. This will give you an obvious advantage over your competitors. Another important thing to note is that specialized customs brokers are currently in high demand – which means they are doing something good!

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