The Benefits of Working with Licensed Customs Brokers in Supply Chain

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The Benefits of Working with Licensed Customs Brokers in Supply Chain

International shipments already come with heavy logistical burdens to shoulder in-house. Even the smallest error or miscalculation on your end could cause your time-sensitive hardware shipment to be detained at the border—not to mention the penalties and added fines you could accrue as a result. This logistical burden isn’t one that many companies are equipped to take on. That’s why organizations prefer to work with licensed customs brokers in supply chain.

You need a more accurate and efficient way to ensure the seamless (and properly taxed) shipment of your critical hardware. Here’s how a licensed customs broker expedites and helps to navigate the complexities of international shipments.

Licensed Customs Brokers in Supply Chain: A Quick Overview

A Licensed Customs Broker is licensed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after passing extensive examinations that cover:

  • Customs laws
  • Customs classifications
  • Customs tariff schedules
  • Import and export regulations
  • Shipping procedures
  • Trade documentation, etc.

Once licensed, this individual is a certified expert in overseeing the proper packaging, licensing, classification, tax and fee payments, and all import and export documentation necessary to get shipments across the intended borders to their destinations.

Licensed customs brokers make it easy to understand the relevant Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) needed for international shipments. These HTS codes are used by Customs to:

  • Assess duties and percentages
  • Track trade trends[1]
  • Flag and deny illegal goods shipments

If you have the wrong HTS code filed, then you are likely to be flagged, detained, and charged penalties.

Don’t Pay for Doing It Wrong

As an SMB, you might have been shipping hardware the best you can and just hoping you don’t get caught at the border. “Security through obscurity,” so to speak. That might work for a little while, but sooner or later you’ll get burned.

Perhaps you have a shipment that has been detained at the border because your shipment was improperly classified. Your company has been fined. You’ve been taxed on misclassified goods. And now your international partners’ projects have been massively delayed.

It’s been months, and you’re still trying to get your hardware out of Customs. This all could have been avoided if you had had the proper information from the start with the help of a licensed customs broker.

We’re going to let you in on a little secret.

Each OEM has an export compliance tool available for you to look up the correct HTS codes you need. While you can use the HTS codes for your equipment listed on the International Trade Administration website, all-encompassing tools like this often require you to self-classify. This takes significantly more knowledge than plugging in the part number via the OEM’s tools.

Yes, international shipments are hard. But these new tariffs don’t have to be if you classify your shipments properly. And the information is readily available, contrary to what the ill-informed are saying in frustration.

Do it right the first time. Your international partners (and your CFO) will thank you for it.

CentricsIT Resident Licensed Customs Broker

Emily Santa Maria is our resident CentricsIT licensed customs broker leverages her comprehensive import and export knowledge to help us deliver Logistics as a Service solutions for our clients. Because of our international support footprint, we have become quite adept at export shipments, and Santa Maria’s knowledge of both sides of the process enables us to accurately and efficiently get hardware shipments from domestic point A to international point B.

By understanding the import side of the equation, CentricsIT can determine the proper HTS and coded classification for each shipment to ensure that your shipment makes it easily through customs and arrives when you need it.


[1] The CBP tracks the origin of export, the type, and the amount of goods being shipped into their country.

Want to know more about doing International Shipments the right way? Contact CentricsIT to leverage our Logistics as a Service model and avoid costly import mistakes.

2019-08-26T13:55:48-05:00