Whether you are importing or exporting goods, working with a customs clearance agent is highly recommended. These professionals are intimately acquainted with transnational shipping laws and will help you with the necessary guidance and paperwork. What’s more, depending on the country, the laws and regulations are often different, so it is hard to navigate the world of transnational shipping on your own unless you already have plenty of experience with customs regulations. But, how to find good customs clearance agents? That is precisely what we will discuss in this article. After reading it, you should be well on your way toward finding a reliable customs clearance broker who will significantly ease the process of transnational shipping for you.
Find good customs clearance agents with relevant experience
Depending on the industry you are working in, importing and exporting regulations may be different and various government offices and ports information may be more or less relevant. That is why it is always a good idea to look specifically for a broker who has experience with transnational shipping of the goods specifically from the industry you’re working in. It is not always easy to find good customs clearance agents within your industry, but doing so is well worth the effort and should make the process go more smoothly.
This is true even if you are not running a business, but you need to move some goods as an individual. For example, you might be thinking of starting over in Dubai and moving your belongings here. In this case, you will need to find an agent with experience in moving large quantities of household belongings over the state line, instead of working with someone with experience in, for example, food or clothing industry and who hasn’t previously dealt with transnational relocations.
Do as much research as possible
This may seem obvious, but we’ll warn you just in case – make sure that your chosen customs clearance broker is fully licensed before hiring him/her. But, just having a license does not mean that this is indeed a good customs clearance agent, so do some research as well. Look for reviews and check the agent’s reputation, for example, by inquiring about their previous customers and even taking the time to ask them if they were satisfied with the provided service. Search for several customs clearance brokers, and then make your choice between those you’ve found. Compare their reputations, pricing, and reviews diligently until you have eliminated all the brokers who seem to be providing an inferior service.
And while doing so, it is usually a good idea to trust your instincts. If it seems to you that a part of the operation can be improved, communicate this to your chosen agent. Plans will often need to be changed, and delays are not uncommon. Some agents, however, will want you to believe that everything will go perfectly smoothly, even if that is not that likely. Therefore, do not make the mistake of blindly trusting everything your customs clearance broker says. While many of them will indeed be completely honest with you, it is still better to be vigilant, just in case.
When you are trying to find good customs clearance agents, you should also have in mind the size of the brokerage company that you are thinking of hiring. Namely, some such companies may be offering other services as well. While this suggests that the company in question is highly competent, as they were able to successfully work in several different (but related) fields, it is still very important to make sure they have enough resources to focus on your needs with equal care as when dealing with the rest of their clients. Filtering company’s resources in too many directions can, unfortunately, make some companies less reliable, so make sure that this is not the case.
Similarly, even if the company in question only offers customs brokerage services, sometimes it is more useful to choose a smaller company. Generally speaking, there is no correct universal answer to this question; it depends on the size of your business, too. Namely, large brokerage companies may want to focus on dealing with their larger clients, as they are more important when it comes to their well-being than their smaller clients. That is why it is best to find good customs clearance agents who are working for a company that fits your business’ profile. If you are running a medium-sized business – find a medium-sized brokerage company.
Find a good customs clearance agent who has no issues with drawing up a contract
No matter the size of the brokerage company, though, it is essential that the company’s representative is willing to draft and sign the contract before doing business with you. In this contract, all the details and conditions of your arrangement must be specified. This is very important as it guarantees that both parties are protected in case of any, intentional or unintentional mishaps. For whatever reason, it may happen that the company or the agent may not be willing to work under a contract; if that happens, it is probably best to find someone else to work with.
Look for a broker with relevant offices
Finally, as we said, do trust your instincts and feel free to ask as many questions as need be. Apart from a plethora of questions for you to ask that we have already discussed in this article, it may also be important to learn whether the company has offices in different ports that your goods will be passing through. If the company does not have their own offices in the majority of these ports (or even a dedicated partner), the company has to work with subcontractors, which may result in delays, the loss of important documents, etc.
With all of the potential questions we’ve detailed in this article, you should be able to find good customs clearance agents who will safely guide you through the process of transnational shipping. Remember that finding the right agent is a process that should not be taken lightly, as working with an unreliable agent can cause substantial losses. Good luck!