How to Choose a Customs Broker for Your Business

If you’ve decided to work with a customs broker to help maintain compliance, it’s important to find the right broker. Taking the following steps can help you make the right selection and find a customs broker you can trust.

Find a Broker with Industry Experience

While a broker might be dependable and have plenty of experience in a variety of industries, you need to find a broker that has more experience in your specific industry. You might have specific products that you work with that a general customs broker might be more unfamiliar with, which could lead to problems.

Keep in mind that different brokers will have experience with different types of products or agencies, meaning that you need to find one that knows how to work with your products and meet your needs.

Request References and Reviews 

Don’t choose a broker based solely on what they have to say about their services and reliability. You can verify their legitimacy and reputation by finding out what their past and existing clients have to say about them. Requesting a reference is an important way to understand your providers expertise in the Customs Brokerage environment.

Make Sure the Broker Can Accommodate a Large Volume of Goods

If you’re working with a wide variety or a large volume of products, try to find a broker that can handle them. Brokers should have a good understanding of your company’s needs and all requirements in place for imports and exports. The right broker will be able to properly allocate budget, time, and effort.

Select an Approved Broker

Brokers should use approved customs declaration systems that utilize up-to-date technology along with in-house management. Also, make sure the broker is either a licensed customs broker or a registered declaration bureau authorized to work in your jurisdictions.

Approved brokers will have all of the technology required for efficient transferral of documentation such as customs permits, packing lists, and invoices.

Contrast and Compare Brokers

When looking for the perfect customs broker for your business, don’t settle for the first broker you find, regardless of how compatible they might seem. Look around and compare pricing and other aspects such as specialization and experience.

Look for a Customs Broker that Adapts to Your Needs

It doesn’t matter if you’re a mult-national corporation with containers to move, or a single entrepreneur that needs to ship product orders for their start up–the world of international shipping is complex, and you need to partner with someone that will customize a solution exactly to your business’ unique needs. If you work with a broker that can provide 24/7 service, 7 days a week, they can stay up to date on order tracking and solve any potential problems or delays as they happen–not just during office hours. Selecting a customs broker that truly listens to your needs, and adapts their services to help satisfy them can mean the difference between satisfying your customers and wowing them. 

Taking all of these steps will help narrow down your selection when searching for the right broker. Once you locate a good customs broker, you’ll be able to benefit from consistent compliance and cost-effectiveness.

What is Freight Forwarding?

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At its core, freight forwarding is a set of services that coordinates the shipment of goods from one location to another. In today’s global market, it’s one of the most commonly used methods for the international transport of goods.

Role of a Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarders are professionals who arrange the movement of goods nationally and/or around the world. According to the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, the freight forwarder’s role is to ensure traded goods reach their correct destination:

  • On-time,
  • In good condition, and
  • In the most economically efficient way.

Depending on your freight and trade needs, freight forwarders coordinate the shipments of goods with a single carrier or with multiple carriers. These carriers work by air, ocean, and land to get your goods where they need to go, anywhere in the world. While many carriers specialize in one mode of transport, such as cargo planes or freight trucking, some offer multiple modes of service. Freight forwarding professionals handle the transportation logistics of all of this for their customers.

Additionally, with a deep understanding of suppliers and trade patterns, freight forwarders negotiate with their network of global partners to find solutions for your supply chain. 

International Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarding plays an essential role in our ever-changing and increasingly connected world of global trade. Along with connecting global supply chains, freight forwarders work on behalf of their customers to ensure their goods are smoothly imported and exported around the world. This makes international trade easier for entrepreneurs and industry leaders alike.

Along with coordinating the logistics, experienced freight forwarders are experts in customs regulations, negotiating tariffs, and the different requirements to ship by air, land, and ocean. This knowledge allows qualified freight forwarders to effectively manage the complex risks of international shipping for their customers. 

How to Choose a Freight Forwarder

Because of the complexities involved in freight forwarding, it’s essential that you choose a reputable freight forwarding company that you can trust. Along with continuously staying up-to-date on the ever-changing world of international trade and customs regulations, they need to be committed to helping you with your unique business needs. 

It’s also key to partner with customer-focused freight forwarding providers that use top-of-the-line technology to track your freight. This allows you to have visibility on your freight shipments as they travel, taking away the guesswork. A company that offers you the ability to view freight forwarding documents and billing documents online will help you further streamline your processes and allow you to focus your attention on growing your business.

Whether you’re an individual needing to organize a shipment, a global brand needing to get your goods from your manufacturer to your distribution hub, or somewhere in between, freight forwarding is a flexible solution designed for today’s modern supply chain.

Are you in need of freight forwarding services? Carson International works with our network of global logistics partners, to provide you with flexible freight solutions to achieve your international freight requirements. Get a quote for free.

Register for Webinar: Life After NAFTA — CUSMA/USMCA

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CUSMA/USMCA is North America’s new free trade agreement that is coming into effect July 1. Join Carson President, Tyler Carson, and Vice President, Dave Pentland, who will help you understand how this agreement differs from NAFTA and how it will impact your business.

Date: Thursday, May 21, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM (PDT)

The webinar will be recorded and made available following the live presentation.

What is a Customs Broker?

Customs brokers help remove barriers in global trade for their clients by facilitating the import and export of goods across international borders. Whether you’re an individual, small business, or enterprise company, customs brokers use their expertise to help goods smoothly clear through customs in different countries. By optimizing the flow of shipments across borders, customs brokers reduce the stresses involved with international shipping for their clients.

What Does a Customs Broker Do?

Customs brokers serve the international trade community by handling the customs process for shipments, whether they go by air, ocean, or ground. These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Putting together required documentation for export shipments
  • Clearing shipments of imported goods
  • Collecting required duties and taxes
  • Preparing customs accounting documents
  • Consulting on things like how to take advantage of free trade agreements

Every country around the world has different import and export regulations and procedures for different products, and these rules are always changing. Brokerage personnel are responsible for knowing and keeping up-to-date with these regulations. 

Along with being a wealth of specialized knowledge, customs brokers communicate with different agencies (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and government officials (Transport Canada, Health Canada) as goods are being shipped to make sure the correct procedures are being followed. This not only helps ensure goods are cleared correctly and without delay, this saves clients from having to deal directly with customs officials. 

Custom Broker Fees

In general, every customs broker sets their own service fees, depending on the specifics and complexities of different shipments. These fees can be based on a percentage of the total shipment value. Some customs brokers may also charge a flat rate for their services. Requesting a quote from a customs broker will help you determine the costs for your specific shipments.

How to Choose a Customs Broker

In today’s ever-changing trade environment, it’s more important than ever to have experienced compliance professionals you can count on. Look for full-service, licensed customs broker companies that have the expertise to guide you through the complexities of importing and exporting.

In Canada, Canadian customs brokerage personnel are licensed by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). These individuals are specially trained to make sure imports (for both companies and individuals) follow the strict, always changing guidelines set by the government. Likewise, for America, U.S. customs brokers are licensed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Using a brokerage company that provides integrated Canadian and U.S. brokerage solutions offers added efficiency and cost advantages for your supply chain needs.

Also, find a C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) certified customs broker. This means the broker is part of a U.S. border security program that works to protect international supply chains from terrorism and strengthen cargo security. Along with increasing safety, this helps your shipments move through the border quicker because the membership allows the customs clearance processes to go faster.

Do you need assistance importing or exporting goods? Carson International’s compliance experts are ready to help you with your unique business needs and guide you every step of the way. Get a quote for free.

What Does a Trade Consultant Do?

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As international trade regulations often change, it’s important for businesses to be as prepared as they can be to keep their trade operations up-to-date and compliant. While it can be a challenge for businesses to keep up with the latest changes, a trade consultant can help.

What Is a Trade Consultant?

An international trade consultant can help companies get all of the answers they need regarding the potential changes in the future of foreign markets. Reliable consultants can provide advice and services around many different projects in several areas of trade including market research, human resources, engineering, corporate strategy, and IT, among others.

Similar to other types of consultants, trade consultants often have experience and skills that are vital for working with a variety of specialty clients. Consultants need to be effective communicators, have the ability to effectively and accurately analyze data and make realistic predictions for the results of a specific action, and be capable of identifying certain strengths among clients that can benefit them in the long run. International consulting contracts are used to govern the relationships between consultants and their clientele.

There are many services that a consultant can provide. Consultants may benefit clients in the following areas:

Monetary Recovery

Consultants can help companies make a swift monetary recovery from spending on international trade. Some of the services that consultants can offer in this area could include duty recovery and drawbacks, duty deferral assistance, and the identification of duty refund opportunities. In the process, companies can worry less about their finances.

Technical Services

A dependable consultant can also assist with the technical aspect of foreign trade. Services in the technical area include valuation services, tariff classification, voluntary disclosures, customized training, and advance customs rulings. All of these services help ensure that no technical element is overlooked and underutilized.

Compliance Process Reviews

If you want to make sure that you’re consistently compliant all along the supply chain, good consultants can conduct compliance process reviews that audit every aspect to maintain consistent compliance. Reviews may include customs compliance reviews, customs audit assistance, process and internal control design, and post-entry audit, all of which can eliminate any concerns around your adherence to industry regulations.

International Trade Agreements

When establishing and maintaining Preferential Trade Agreements, trade consultants can make sure the process goes smoothly. Consultants can help with everything from country origin determination and certificate of origin maintenance to free trade program compliance reviews, which will further ensure compliance across the supply chain.

With all services combined, a trade consultant can make sure a company has everything it needs to manage foreign trade and remain compliant.

Work with a Reputable Trade Consultant to Optimize Efficiency and Maintain Compliance 

With all of the benefits that come with a good trade consultant, working with one can help keep all operations efficient and help alleviate any stress you might otherwise experience in the trade process. Trade consultants like Carson can give your business everything it needs with top-tier services that cover every element of international trade.

How to Manage eCommerce Logistics

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eCommerce shows no signs of slowing down, but despite the expectations for eCommerce service and the challenges of meeting them, many eCommerce companies neglect to utilize an effective transportation management system (TMS).

To adequately manage eCommerce logistics, shippers must have a good understanding of the specific challenges pertaining to eCommerce and do what they can to implement a reliable solution.

Pain Points That an eCommerce Company Faces

Many of the challenges that eCommerce companies face are similar to the pain points of traditional logistics. However, one of the biggest challenges that eCommerce companies have to overcome is the need for fast-paced shipping for order fulfillment and delivery. In today’s eCommerce environment, with services such as Amazon Prime that promise next-day or same-day shipping, customers have extraordinarily high expectations when it comes to quick service and shipping.

To help meet or even exceed their customers’ expectations, eCommerce businesses need to make sure that a system is in place to handle continuous orders as opposed to periodic batches.


5 Tips to Help Manage eCommerce Logistics


To meet the needs of consumers and maintain efficiency of operation, eCommerce companies should take these 5 steps. 

1. Offer Several Options for Shipping

Today’s eCommerce customers expect to see multiple shipping options beyond standard shipping. While your business may be able to provide customers with next-day delivery and free shipping, offer the option of picking up in-store or delivering items to a third-party destination. People like the ability to fully customize their orders, down to the specific method of delivery.


2. Utilize All Shipping Options

In many cases, working with LTL shipments and traditional packages is sufficient, but as an eCommerce company, you should try to make use of several modes of transportation that can handle any type of order, regardless of its size or other specifications.

3. Use a TMS Designed for eCommerce

While it can be beneficial to have any type of transportation management system (TMS) in place to manage operations, eCommerce has specific requirements to meet growing demands. Shippers may want to incorporate solutions specifically intended for eCommerce, which can help with decision-making and order management while helping reduce overall costs.

4. Make Sure All Supply Chain Elements Are Connected

Organizational silos are simply obsolete when it comes to eCommerce logistics. With ever-changing demand and order fulfillment needs, it’s important for every part of the supply chain to be connected for optimal control. Streamlining your supply chain, including the acquisition of materials from vendors, will improve management and help ensure customer satisfaction.

5. Maximize Transparency of Operations

People want to know where their orders are from the time they order all the way up to the moment they receive them. While shippers may encounter certain issues when shipping products, including inclement weather, they can do what they can to reroute any shipments and let customers know when their orders will arrive.

Dependable eCommerce Logistics Services

If you’re in need of an eCommerce logistics management solution you can trust, Carson has everything you need to optimize your operations in Canada and the U.S.

Our eCommerce services can help reduce retailers’ tax burden while maintaining regulatory compliance with Customs. If you want to give your customers what they want when they expect it, Carson can help you keep your customers happy with our innovative eCommerce logistics management solution.


COVID-19 — What Relief Is Available For You?

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As we collectively continue to navigate our present reality under the impacts of COVID-19, Carson continues to be committed to supporting our clients through consistent business operations, and a client-centric approach. COVID-19 has challenged our organization to be agile and responsive as we navigate this new landscape. Like many of you, our team is working remotely to do our part to help #flattenthecurve. 

Both Canadian and US Governments are responding to the pandemic with supports in an effort to lessen the impact to businesses. It is important to understand what relief is available for your business, and how you can take advantage of government programs to help safeguard you throughout this process. 

Click here to learn more about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Click here to learn more about the United States’ COVID-19 Response to COVID-19.

We recognize this as uncharted territory for both large and small businesses, and are committed to helping our clients in any way we can, while remaining a cornerstone in your supply chain. 

With new information coming out daily regarding government responses to COVID-19 and its impacts, we want to ensure you that we are here to help you navigate this climate. Please do not hesitate to reach out at any time with questions you may have about government responses, and to learn how Carson is mobilizing to support clients. 

Get in touch:

Tyler Carson, President, tyler@carson.ca
Dave Pentland, VP, dwpentland@carson.ca
Matt Earish, COO, matt@carson.ca

CUSMA — What You Need to Know About The Newest Free Trade Agreement

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After almost three years of discussion between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, a deal was struck in the ongoing CUSMA negotiations. The new agreement was ratified by all three governments, however, all three governments must give their notice of readiness to comply with the new measures. Both Canada and Mexico have given their notice, while the United States has yet to send a similar notice to the other two partners. With the current COVID-19 pandemic impacting countries across the globe, the United States has now placed CUSMA at a lower priority. 

If the United States provides their notice by the end of April, the earliest the new agreement could take effect is July 1, 2020.

In anticipation of CUSMA coming into effect, here is how CUSMA will impact your import and export activity:

  • Low Value Shipments (LVS)
    The Government of Canada has raised the threshold for Low Value Shipments to $3,300 CAD. This allows for expedient release of shipments under this program. Click here to learn more.
  • Requirement for Formal Certificate
    Under the previous NAFTA agreement, you were required to complete the formal NAFTA Certificate of Origin form. CUSMA aligns with recent agreements like CETA with the European Union and allows importers and exporters to provide a statement of origin.  
  • De-Minimis
    During negotiations, the Government of Canada moved to increase the De-Minimis threshold to allow Canadian importers to import goods without any duty or tax implications. The De-Minimis threshold is as follows:
    • Canada – $150 CAD for Duties and $40 CAD for Taxes
    • Mexico – $117 USD for Duties and $50 USD for Taxes
    • United States – $800 USD for Duties and Taxes

To review the full agreement, click here. We will share all future information about the new CUSMA agreement as they become available. Carson is committed to supporting our clients throughout this process to ensure compliance, and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the team at Carson at any time.

Get in touch:

Tyler Carson, President, tyler@carson.ca
Dave Pentland, VP, dwpentland@carson.ca
Matt Earish, COO, matt@carson.ca

COVID-19 Preparation

Carson has carefully monitored the impact of the global pandemic known as Covid-19. With this we understand the importance of our clients and our employees we work with each and every day.

We have taken proactive steps within our business to ensure that our employees remain safe and that our clients will see no change in service from us as your trading partner. In the coming weeks we will continue to ensure the necessary adjustments are made to support our employees and clients.

Carson will remain a 24/7 operation throughout the COVID-19 situation and will continue to keep you updated as it relates to your global shipments. We will be here to assist you and provide support during these challenging times.

For any questions or concerns please contact me directly,

Tyler Carson

President

Carson International

tyler@carson.ca

U.S. Reaches Deal with Mexico over Tariffs

     

This evening, the United States and Mexico reached a deal that will avert the use of import tariffs of Mexican goods scheduled to go into effect this Monday, June 10. According to a tweet from the President, Mexico has agreed to “take strong measures to stem the tide of migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border” which will “greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.”

The U.S. State Department will be release details of the arrangement soon.