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Need to appoint a customs broker, agent or representative? What to think about....

Selecting the right partner to manage your imports and exports is crucial for trade success. There are some essential points to consider, argues Arne Mielken from Customs Manager Ltd.

Import and export declarations can be handled on your behalf by customs brokers or agents. Because customs filings may be difficult, many firms choose to hire an intermediary. You can pay someone or a company to handle customs for you, such as:

  • freight forwarders

  • customs agents or brokers

  • fast parcel operators

What they can do for you (and who will be liable) depends on:

  • the services they provide

  • what you want them to do

  • the commercial agreement you have with them.

Learn how to minimise delays, halt duty payments, and rectify false customs declarations from the outset with our broker management course, which is given in five convenient online courses including live training and a "check your knowledge" exam at the conclusion and a certificate of accomplishment. Find out more and how to book

What type of relationship?

They can act for you either as a:

  • direct representative / agent

  • indirect representative / agent

They are unable to act on your behalf unless you provide them with written instructions. The command must specify whether they are operating directly or indirectly for you. Customs authorities may request proof of authorization.

What shall I consider before appointing an agent?

Before appointing one, there are several things to consider, such as:

  • your company's requirements - the number of commodities moved, the sort of products moved, how frequently they are moved, and where they are moved to or from

  • the number of declarations you plan to make for licencing

  • whether your products require a permit, special handling, or other specialised controls

  • Timing - If your items must arrive within a specified timetable, your customs training is required.

  • Being clear on these points will allow you to make an informed decision when appointing an intermediary to help you with customs processes for

Your business requirements

Before speaking with a customs agent, make sure you have adequate information about your requirements, including what sort of items you transfer, how frequently you move them, and where you move them to or from – for example, the country with whom you frequently deal.

You should think about asking your "middleman":

  • "How much customs experience do you have?"

  • What kind of items do you transport?

  • Which routes/countries do you service?

  • Can you manage the customs processes for the nations with whom I do business?

How many declarations you need to make

You need to know:

  • how many declarations do you anticipate making in a week or month

  • how frequently you transport items into and out of our nation

You should also be clear about how the broker will charge for their services.

Consider asking them

  • Can you manage the number of declarations I intend to make?

  • How would you like to be compensated (you should be able to estimate this for them)? They may, for example, impose a flat price, a fee per declaration, or both.

Consider hiring Customs Manager to serve as your customs clearing agent. We provide brokerage services to our clients. Our unique selling point is that we only use fully certified customs managers and specialists to perform your customs clearance, rather than entry clerks with limited expertise. So, if you want a real customs manager who understands customs clearance to do the work for you, get in touch and explore more here.

Licensing, special handling and other controls

You must determine if your items require a licence, special handling, or other specialised regulations. Consider requesting confirmation from the broker that they will be able to manage your licencing requirements.

Timing – goods that need to arrive quickly

Think about if your goods need to arrive at their destination within a specific timeframe or need rapid or out-of-hours changes. You should consider asking the intermediary:

  • can you prioritise declarations for goods that, for example, need to reach their destination within a specific timeframe?

  • are you able to respond quickly to unforeseen issues that may arise while goods are being imported or exported?

What you need from a broker

Consider what you need your customs intermediary to perform, and what you can do yourself or have someone else do for you.

  • You might think about asking the broker, "What is the whole range of services that you provide?"

  • What would you and the intermediary be held accountable for? (For example, who would be in charge of import/export declarations, safety and security declarations, and transportation requirements?)

Information sharing

Consider the most convenient method for you to communicate information to your intermediary in order for them to act on your behalf and whether it will also work for them.

You should think about asking the intermediary:

  • What information do you require from me?

  • How frequently will you require information from me?

  • Can I offer the information in a method that is convenient for me?

Free Videocast: Shall I appoint an agent or clear it alone?

Watch this informative conversation between Business Journalist Paul and Customs Declaration Expert and "Broker Management Course" designer and leader Arne Mielken on who and how to file customs declarations.

Customs Clearance Services by Customs Manager Ltd.

We are experts in completing customs declarations for firms in the EU and the United Kingdom. To file customs declarations for our customers and comply with all UK fiscal filing and security filing regulations, we use leading electronic customs filing software that is directly connected to the UK's HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Our import, export, and transit filing services are tailored to your specific needs. Let's make it happen, whether you're a small dealer with a limited number of shipments or a huge and complicated international corporation with hundreds of shipments every week.

We operate with a team of seasoned customs filing professionals, and each of our customers is assigned a Customs Manager for personalised service.

Study the Course to Learn More

A single blog article on this subject is absolutely insufficient. With our five-week training course, you'll gain a lot more knowledge on how to miss out on good broker advice. Find out more

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