Every day, businesses big and small find themselves facing unanticipated delays at the border. These delays can be a nuisance at best and a supply chain nightmare at worst. They are frustrating, stressful and costly – and they’re also avoidable.
The most common reasons for delays
Incomplete or incorrect documentation is the most common reason for shipment hold-ups at the border. Documentation issues can include:
- insufficient or inaccurate description of goods
- missing valuation information
- country of origin not specified
- quantity or weight not indicated
- incorrect documents presented (e.g. bill of lading, commercial invoice, cargo control number)
- failure to name the customs broker on the paperwork
Other reasons for border hang-ups can include:
- Not having an import/export account set up with the relevant border agency
- Other government department requirements not being met (permits, licences, certificates, etc.)
- Errors or omissions by the carrier (e.g. incorrect port of entry or PARS number provided).
What can I do about it?
You can be proactive: Both Canadian and U.S. Customs have pre-clearance processes that allow for speedier customs clearance and alleviate border congestion. Consider making use of the Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) for Canada Customs or the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) for U.S. Customs.
With some forethought and upfront knowledge about your goods and the customs process, most delays can be avoided. Ensure your shipment won’t encounter delays due to any of the reasons listed above. For extra certainty, use an experienced customs broker to oversee the shipment of goods over the border.
If in doubt, consult an expert
Know the value of a customs broker and how they can ease the import/export process for your business. A broker can increase expediency at the border as well as help ensure compliance with all customs requirements. Partner with a customs broker with experience and a proven track record with customs authorities to ensure your goods are cleared quickly and effectively.
If you choose Cole, ensure your carrier knows that we have mobile apps with many handy features – including the ability to provide them with status updates on the way to the border. Don’t go it alone.
Information provided by: Canadian Customs Dept. - Cole International