Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Management

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As part of a global supply chain, a company must have effective processes in place to manage the activities and costs of the service providers, such as 3PLs, carriers, customs brokers and freight forwarders involved in the movement and Customs clearance of their products.

The role of customs brokers and freight forwarders is more than filing documents with governmental agencies or assisting in moving freight across borders. They are your legal representatives and you are responsible for the accuracy of the data they submit on your behalf. The fees they charge can also have a significant impact on your bottom-line.

Because various governmental agencies hold you responsible for filings submitted on your behalf by your customs broker or freight forwarder, you need to ensure that the information you provided is correct. We will work directly with your customs brokers and freight forwarders to answer their day-to-day questions relating to data required for smooth import and export processing including Harmonized Tariff Schedule classifications, valuation of merchandise, in-bond movements, country of origin determination, preferential trade agreement qualification and the like.

We perform detailed audits on your import entry documents and export filings. Our comprehensive audit checklists will verify the accuracy of the information supplied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Census Bureau, Canada Border Services Agency, SAT and other country-specific agencies. We will work with your service providers when we identify errors to ensure the required corrections are handled properly.

We will review or create Standard Operating Procedures that define the obligations and responsibilities of your customs brokers and freight forwarders. Once implemented, we will monitor the effectiveness of its provisions and recommend improvements to ensure it provides you with the highest level of service possible at the lowest possible price. We will work with you to tailor Key Performance Indicators (“KPIs”) that track the effectiveness and efficiency of your service providers.

Powers of Attorney and other written authorizations define the relationship with your service providers and most contain a great deal of “small print.” We will review new or existing Powers of Attorney and other written authorizations to ensure they do not contain language that provides expanded rights or responsibilities that are unfavorable to the importer or exporter. We will monitor the effectiveness of these provisions and recommend improvements to ensure you have the highest degree of protection possible.

Properly drafted Logistics Service Agreements (“LSAs”) and other written contracts with your service providers are critical to the success of any international trade program. As initially prepared, most are incredibly one-sided and do not provide equal treatment to the parties. Included in Logistics Service Agreements is your “rate shell” of fees and other charges allowed to be charged by your service providers. We will use our industry experience to identify those fees that are excessive (e.g.,“Telephone Surcharge Fee” or “Homeland Security Fee”) and are usually added on as part of a “laundry list” of usually unnecessary charges when a service provider quotes a low standard service fee. We will ensure that your service provider agreements protect you and only allow for charges that are reasonable and agreed by you.

We offer:

  • Customized service to fit your needs
  • A staff including Licensed Customs Brokers
  • Proven results in identifying thousands of errors in customs broker and freight forwarder filings through our import and export audit process checklists
  • Experienced staff with backgrounds at all levels of customs brokerage and freight forwarder operations
  • Demonstrated project management expertise focusing on timely responses to your customs brokers’/freight forwarders’ requests regarding all aspects of trade compliance

Let’s Work Together

let’s work together

Our experienced staff can save you time and money by ensuring the accuracy of the work done on your behalf by your customs broker and freight forwarders. Find out how we can help by getting in touch with us today.

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Harmonized Tariff Schedule Classification Projects

A product’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (“HTS”) classification determines the number of duties, taxes, fees, other applicable import, and export requirements, and is an integral part of necessary landed cost calculations. We offer country-specific HTS classification analysis to help assure that you are complying with the law, paying the correct amounts on your imported and exported products, and having the best possible information for your sourcing and pricing decisions.

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Preferential Trade Agreement Services and Supplier Solicitation

As preferential trade agreements like the USMCA and special programs like the Generalized System of Preferences become increasingly complex, companies are facing a growing sense of confusion and uncertainty. We provide comprehensive, turn-key solutions including full supplier solicitation, product qualification analysis, support document review and correction as well as certificate creation.

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International Trade Legal Services

When faced with governmental inquiries related to international trade anywhere in the world, be it a penalty from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an audit by SAT in Mexico, a request from Canada Border Services regarding the Special Import Measures Act or understanding the new EU-Mexico Trade Agreement, it’s critical to have a knowledgeable law firm that understands how to respond and has the experience to identify and address not only the questions that were asked but those that were not.

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Export Compliance

Companies face ever-increasing obligations including knowing to whom they are shipping and how their exported product is going to be used licensing requirements, and possible effects of sanctions regimes. In today’s continuously evolving global marketplace, having a robust export compliance program is a necessity.

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Import Compliance

A successful import compliance program focusing on classification, marking, valuation, country of origin determination and document review, assures adherence to customs-related regulatory requirements and payment of the proper amounts for governmental fees and service provider charges, while also minimizing the risk of exposure to fines or penalties.

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