Stages of customs clearance explained

Whether you are running an import or export business, it’s highly essential to meet the stages of customs clearance. No matter where in the world you are shipping your cargo and containers, every port will put them through the customs clearance process. Customs clearance includes the preparation of documents required to facilitate export or imports into the country. If you’re thinking about expanding your business abroad, you should get to know the stages of customs clearance before shipping products.  To ship your cargo overseas, choose the best freight forwarder in Saudi Arabia. But before that, pay attention to our article and meet the customs clearance stages!

Every country around the world has its customs clearance process

Stages of customs clearance include preparing necessary documents for export or import, assessment, payment of duty, and co-taking delivery of cargo from customs after approval with provided documents. Every country has customs clearance laws and regulations, although a bit different. Make sure to inform about customs clearance rules before exporting your goods.

For example, shipping containers are warehoused as they go through customs clearance. If customs clearance does not happen smoothly, there may be additional storage fees and higher shipping costs. And not just that. The delay in your cargo delivery can cause a significant financial loss to your business. Therefore, consider hiring a freight forwarder to handle your customs clearance properly. Consider hiring logistics companies in Bahrain.

Documents required for passing all stages of customs clearance

The vital task when it comes to meeting the stages of customs clearance is informing about necessary documentation. Both export and import customs clearance requires having accurate documents. As for exports, you’ll need to provide a purchase order from a buyer, sales invoice, packing list, shipping bill, bill of lading, or air waybill. But also certificate of origin and additional documents required by other country customs clearance. Import documentation includes the same documents and other required by the importing country regulation.

agreement picture
Make sure to understand and prepare all documents involved in customs clearance, starting from bill of lading, certificate of origin, and others.

And if you want to lower potential shipping costs, explore and try the best import/export cost-saving tips!

Know the stages of customs clearance

The stages of customs clearance vary from country to country, but we’ll mention the most common that shippers may face during export/import:

  • Provide accurate documentation to your freight forwarder
  • The customs officer checks the provided shipment documentation
  • The taxes and duties payment control
  • Cargo continues to its destination if everything is correct
stages of customs clearance
Understand all stages of customs clearance, since every port in the world is putting cargo through the customs clearance process.

An inappropriate container and storage units can cause you problems during shipping. Before you choose one, find out the biggest mistakes people make choosing storage units.

Provide accurate documentation to your freight forwarder

Customs clearance requires a lot of precise documentation for international shipping. That paperwork is complicated, and not everyone can deal with it. This is why freight forwarders are the best option for you. They have the experience and knowledge of shipping cargo overseas and face regulations, details, and issues. Things you’ll need to give to forwarding agents include business information, inventories or itemized lists of shipments, and value of cargo. These will affect the duties and customs fees at the port and help you to avoid issues with cargo shipping.

The customs officer checks the provided shipment documentation

After you provide accurate information to your freight forwarder agents, they will give it to the customs officer. The customs officer will check the documents of your cargo. They will check if you provide them with all the necessary documents, like, for example, a commercial invoice, which all international shipments need to have. This document will list both the shipper and the receiver’s contact information, but also shipment details such as the export date and airway bill number. And, most importantly, the invoice will have a description of the item and its total value.

The taxes and duties payment control

The next stage is when the customs officer checks if any taxes and duties apply to your cargo. That depends on the type of cargo, its value, and the laws of the importing country. If customs officers determine that the value of the goods is above the tax threshold, they will check whether these taxes and duties have been paid for. In that case, customs will require you to pay the taxes and duties, if they haven’t been paid yet. That is where the option of DDU (Deliver Duty Unpaid) and DDP (Deliver Duty Paid) appear. If cargo is labeled as DDP, the payment of the taxes and duties have already been paid for. But if the cargo is marked as DDU, customs will forward the package to an independent customs broker to collect the required amount. Try to avoid this situation, since it could be costly.

If everything’s fine, your cargo continues to its destination

When customs officers confirm that taxes and duties have been paid and that all documentation is accurate, your cargo can proceed to its final destination. It’s simple. If you own the required paperwork and understand how to handle taxes and duties, you can quickly ship your goods internationally. Or, you can hire a freight forwarder to ease that process for you. Good luck!

moving cargo
Once the customs officer confirms that everything is OK with the documents and cargo, your shipment can travel to the final location.

Properly load your cargo

Make sure to load your cargo before facing custom clearance stages properly. As a shipper, you are responsible for the loading of your units and containers. If they aren’t properly loaded, you could cause red flags to go off at customs. Besides, improper loading can lead to extensive examinations and even searches of your international shipments, which leads to delays and costs. But if you’re not experienced, you can always hire a professional cargo company.

loading cargo
Make sure to properly load your cargo or hire a cargo company to handle your shipment safely.

Choose the best freight forwarder

A good freight forwarder is the best way to find out what is customs clearance, and what are the stages you’ll go through while shipping your goods. It’s important to choose a reliable freight forwarder with a proven experience to handle your customs clearance well. Avoid selecting the cheapest freight forwarder, because international shipping can turn out to be much more expensive, and scams may appear. Forwarding agents will prepare the document of Shipping Bills in the house for submission while the client often gives rests of the documents. They will handle the most critical stage in customs clearance classification of cargo under specific classification.

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