Customs brokers are the experts that help us to import or export products. Also referred to as the import brokers, they take care of smoothly facilitating the clearance of goods through the customs processes.
People often confuse customs brokers with freight forwarders. In reality, freight forwarders are experts in logistics, whereas customs brokers deal in clearing products from customs.
Customs brokers work with importers on the ports. They make sure that the country’s customs department safely clears the goods their customers have imported. Moreover, they also make sure that all duties and taxes are paid to reduce delays.
Different countries have different customs brokers. To efficiently understand what a customs broker can charge, you need to understand some of the common stages they go through.
What’s a better way to understand how customs brokers charge than actually looking at what they go through? Here are some of the common things in the job description of a customs broker.
The first and foremost job of the customs broker is to identify the goods correctly. As each country’s customs have different duties and tariffs, a customs broker identifies the good and sketch out the customs duty.
For instance, in the United States of America, Harmonized Tariff Schedule is the primary resource for determining tariff classifications to import goods in the US. A customs broker importing in the United States will have to use the Harmonized Tariff Schedule for correctly identifying the goods.
Customs brokers keep themselves up to date with the ever-changing customs tariff and tax schedule of goods.
Next up, once the customs broker has identified the goods, it’s time to handle the complex regulatory requirements.
Regardless of the countries, every customs department worldwide has some complicated regulatory requirements. We can’t keep up with the customs requirements and involve ourselves in it as it’s a time-taking process.
Here’s a detailed outline of the customs duty information for international visitors in the US - and that’s not it. It’s a section only for international visitors; there are a different set of rules and regulations for the United States’ legal residents.
Rules and regulations of the customs are ever-changing, and for an average person, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. This means that without sufficient knowledge, a person can end up paying unnecessary costs to customs.
As an international trade expert, a customs broker is heavily up to date on all the rules and regulations about the customs. This means that by trusting a customs broker, you can expect that they can save you from paying any unnecessary cost on your import.
Paperwork is necessary for anything you are looking forward to importing and clearing from your country’s customs depart.
However, many individuals make mistakes when filling in the paperwork and providing the required documents. This leads to many problems and delays in the clearance of the goods, but a customs broker can help you conveniently do all the paperwork.
A customs broker will take the burden of handling paperwork from your shoulders and handle it on your behalf. From paying tax to identifying port duty and handling other taxation, a customs broker will do it all for you.
Customs brokers work like a bridge between you and the good you are importing. Without the bridge, you’ll have to do all the things manually.
Even if you have successfully filled all the requirements, rules, and regulations of the customs clearance process, you don’t have the skills to facilitate the process in-person.
As customs brokers are licensed personals, they have the required skill set to facilitate the customs clearance process efficiently.
Even if something goes wrong during customs clearance, with the experience and skills, a customs broker can easily handle the situation.
All that brings us to the only question we are interested in, and that’s what do customs brokers charge?
Customs brokerage fees vary from company to company and country to country. A customs brokerage house that only covers a few responsibilities that we mentioned will surely charge less. However, a customs broker that will cover everything can charge a good amount of fee. US customs department facilitates the customers by providing the list of verified customs brokers on their official website with respect to ports.
Lastly, a simple google search of the local customs brokerage houses will help you compare and contrast the charges of different customs brokers near you.
"Customs duties play an important role in your international shipment. How they're determined and calculated varies from country to country"
Klaus Lydsal, vice president of operations at iContainers