Customs Clearance Agency and Process

Any Organization that is engaged in Imports or Exports would require the services of third party Customs Clearance Agent as well as a Freight Forwarder. While freight forward manages the transportation part of the exports and imports, customs clearance and the approval and co-ordination with the rest of the regulatory authorities to affect the imports and exports is done by the Customs Clearance Broker.

Every Exporter and Importer would need to know the basics of the Import and Export policies as well as conditions applicable to their specific products of import and exports. In addition they should also be aware of the processes involved in imports and exports broadly. However it is the Customs Clearance agent who would know the working of all the Customs Rules and Laws and ensure compliance of the same in a speed manner so as to ensure that the import consignment is cleared within the allotted free period and does not incur demurrage.

Pre Customs Clearance

Customs valuation process demands a list of documents that are required to be submitted by the Importer. Gathering the various documents from the Importer, from the forwarding agent and creating customs documents required to be filed for clearance process is undertaken by the Clearance Agent. It is he who prepares the Bill of Entry the main document on which the Customs approves the valuation and clearance.

With the standardization of INCO Terms and Documentation, the documents are prepared in advance as soon as the consignment is dispatched from the Country of Origin and the Bill of Entry along with the commercial documentation and the transportation documents are filed electronically from the Clearance Agency’s office and registered at the Customs Department.

Clearance Process at Customs

On arrival of the consignment at the Customs Bond, the Customs carries out physical inspection as well as valuation of the import. Valuation of the import consists of ascertaining the correct description of the items, classification of the items under relevant Customs Chapter and Tariff, Ascertaining that there is no case of under invoicing and certifying the valuation of the consignment and arriving at the Customs Duty required to be paid. The clearance agency proceeds to advice and co-ordinate with the importer to make necessary Customs Duty Payments and takes physical delivery of the Consignment and delivers it to the Importer at the designated place along with the set of Original documents.

Customs Rules permit a free bonding or warehousing period of three to seven days (depends from country to country and location). Normally the air shipments are given only three days for clearance while the sea shipments are given up to seven days of free warehousing in Customs Bonded Warehouse. The importer through the Customs Clearance agent has to clear the consignment within the free period, failing which a daily demurrage would be charged on the consignments for all days up to the time of actual delivery. The demurrage could prove to be very expensive and hence it is important to ensure that the Customs Clearance Agency is efficient and knows its job well enough.

Importer cannot be expected to spend his time on getting the consignments cleared after ensuring that he is compliant with all the processes. Hence the role of the Customs Clearance Agency comes into the picture for he undertakes to represent the Importer with the Customs Department and follow through the process.

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