Reasons Freight Is Held for Customs Clearance and What to Do About Them

October 5, 2023

Reasons Freight Is Held for Customs Clearance and What to Do About Them

Customs clearance is preparing and submitting paperwork to export or import goods into or out of a country. It is a critical component of international cargo transport, especially in ocean freight. Global supply chains are also expanding, and according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the volume of imported goods in 2022 was $3.35 trillion. However, finding a way to manage the process in-house can be challenging, and more companies are turning to third-party expertise to find quality agents and avoid delays. 

The value of customs brokerage services is to ensure that all import taxes and charges are paid and that the products comply with applicable laws and regulations. To clear customs, BCOs must provide comprehensive information about the shipment, including its value, origin, destination, and contents. 

A catastrophe could result from one single customs error. Businesses need to prevent and avoid as many delays in customs as possible. This is streamlined with the implementation of a network of customs clearance agents and services.

Reasons for Freight Hold in Customs Clearance

There are three primary reasons why a shipment is held up for customs clearance, including the following.

1. Missing Documentation

Without the proper documentation and paperwork, freight will be held up in customs. Ensuring that all forms are completed accurately is crucial as this is a standard error in documenting records. The following are the necessary documents for port customs clearance:

  • Bill of lading.
  • Commercial invoice.

2. An Incomplete Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is required for cargo to pass through customs. The freight will only pass through with a completed invoice with accurate data. Invoices must contain a descriptive list of goods, seller, buyer, value, and origin. Leaving off information or failing to report accurate information will delay shipment.

3. Regulatory Compliance Failure

Non-compliance with regulations carries significant consequences, including, but not limited to, the loss of import and export privileges. It is vital to be educated on the rules and laws of each origin and destination. Some of the most common regulatory errors are higher-than-expected duties, misclassification, and missing documentation. 

What to Do About Customs Clearance Hold

Hiring an expert customs clearance agent is one way to overcome holds securely, efficiently, and affordably. They are familiar with the laws and regulations of each country from which goods are imported and exported. 

When choosing an agent, ensure they fit the company's needs. They must know the industry and be able to handle the volume of cargo. Be sure that the agent’s location aligns with the ports and that they are associated with a reputable company.

Another step is communication. Communication with the customs authority is crucial when in a customs clearance hold. Find out where the issue lies. Find out if this needs to be corrected or added information in the documentation and invoice. Review it, and update it. 

Lastly, it can take time to navigate the import customs clearance process successfully. A licensed customs broker is well-versed in using logistics technology. Together, technology and expertise avoid hindrances and ensure cargo arrives safely at its destination. Working with a customs brokerage connects your team with more global customs agents to sort out issues when and if they arise. 

Streamline Customs Clearance With Crane Worldwide Logistics 

Many issues can occur during the entire customs clearance process. Often this can lead to a loss in goods and even a loss in import and exporting privileges.

Regardless, it’s a loss of money. No business wants to miss out on that because of logistical errors.

Keeping up with the ever-changing laws and regulations can be daunting and overwhelming, so it is best to work with experts with boots on the ground. Crane Worldwide’s global network of freight agents is ready to help.

Request a quote from Crane Worldwide Logistics, and enjoy the benefits and less risk in customs clearance when problems arise. 

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