Freight Forwarding Customs Clearance and How Does it Work?

To understand customs clearance in freight forwarding, it is important to understand freight forwarding first. Most importers and exporters use freight forwarding to arrange and manage freight shipments. The people who conduct freight forwarding are known as freight forwarders or freight-forwarding agents; they are well-versed in the workings of the shipping process and can get it done for you. They almost function as a travel agency does, but for freight instead of people.

There are different types of freight forwarders. Some are big, some are small. Some offer more local shipping options, others specialize in international shipping. Large freight forwarders function globally, while smaller ones tend to operate in a few selected countries where services are popular and where they have local logistics helping out the process. Here is everything a freight forwarder provides as a service:

  • Makes all the bookings, ensures that all paperwork is put together and complete, takes care of payments for each step of the shipping process.
  • Co-operate and coordinate with others who are involved in the shipping process, such as air cargo carriers, truck delivery companies, or any logistics provider.
  • Provide support with all issues related to the shipment, if any happen to crop up.

Customs clearance is an important part of the freight forwarding process. Any goods shipped internationally have to pass through customs check before being allowed into or out of a country. Once customs clearance and checks are completed, the freight forwarder pays the customs duties and receives a document that functions as a receipt for the transaction. Usually, the customs clearance procedure is managed by the freight forwarder, but a customs broker can be hired if you want to.

The preparation of a shipment is crucial, as customs holds the authority to confiscate or hold your goods until further notice if a shipment is prepared poorly. To ensure a smooth passage through customs, a few pre-requisites must be met. First is the preparation of a shipping container. If a container is loaded poorly or incorrectly, the customs agent overlooking the process will red-flag it immediately. Utilize all the space available and make sure all cargo is stowed away correctly, otherwise, customs will deny your container the necessary clearance.

The next thing to look out for is paperwork. Customs agents are extremely cautious when it comes to inspecting and verifying your paperwork. Your paperwork and documentation should be error- free with all necessary details mentioned, such as the content of the shipment and your business details. Here’s a list of the basic documents you should keep with you to ensure a hassle-free shipment:

  • Shipping quote
  • Origin certificate
  • Material safety data sheet
  • Commercial invoice
  • Booking confirmation
  • Shipper’s letter of instruction
  • Booking confirmation
  • Bill of loading
  • Packing list
  • Letter of credit

Freight Forwarding Warehousing and How Does it Work?

Warehouses are an essential component in the chain of distribution logistics. A warehouse is any building where products, materials, or raw items are stored. Goods need to be stored and treated in a proper manner, which is where a warehouse comes in. The term “warehousing” refers to receiving and storing finished goods until they are shipped or sold to their final destination. It plays a crucial role in organizational logistics, as storage is a cornerstone of supply chain management.

Once a product or good is manufactured, it needs to be stored; product cannot be left in the open exposed to the elements, nor can it be shipped out immediately. Transportation and warehousing are the backbone of a supply chain, making sure the acquisition, movement, and distribution of goods are conducted in a seamless manner.

Importance of a Warehouse

Due to the fact that the process of production and consumption are not instantaneous. Warehousing buys time between the two processes, and stores goods to ensure the time period between the two does not harm any goods. Warehousing is crucial to a supply chain for a multitude of reasons:

  • Allows the storage of all fashion of goods; raw, semi-finished, finished, seasonal goods, etc.
  • Reduces the risk of a product or good being damaged during storage.
  • Runs inventory management (processing an inventory from entry to exit)
  • Makes the distribution network more efficient. -Allows the branding and grading of goods.
  • Allows the storage of ordinarily perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, and meat.
  • Protect goods from poor environmental conditions; during disasters, for instance.

Warehousing Operations

The main function of a warehouse is to store large quantities of goods, condense them into smaller quantities, and dispense them to the end customer. The chain of operations of a warehouse is receiving, putting away, storage, order preparation, and packing and shipping of goods.

  • Receiving: This starts with the warehouse being notified about the arrival of goods. This helps it plan the unloading and ensure the warehouse team can manage other processes in the warehouse accordingly.
  • Putting Away: Goods must be stored, but before that one has to decide a proper location for them. This process involves storage management of a secondary inventory where the product will eventually go.
  • Storage: This is the basic function of a warehouse. Warehousing creates time and bridges the gap between the production and consumption of goods by an end user.
  • Order Preparation: Also known as order picking, it is the procedure of collecting and preparing items before shipment to a consumer. During order preparation, it is essential for a warehouse to provide the necessary documentation and records pertaining to the shipment.
  • Packing and Shipping: Every customer order must be managed individually; due to this, packing is a labor-intensive process. On top of this, each order must be accurate and complete with regards to the needs of the customer. Shipping is a key aspect in warehousing, and is the final step of the process. Packing and shipping involves weighing of goods, maintaining shipment information, and labelling the final destination address.

Types of Warehouses

  • Private Warehouses: Warehouses which are used by producers, traders, or manufacturers to store their own stock exclusively are known as private warehouses. These are typically located near a manufacturing facility and are maintained by individuals from the same facility. An example is a farmer building a warehouse near his field.
  • Public Warehouses: Warehouses which provide warehousing services and are available to rent by the public are known as public warehouses. These are usually used for the storage of smaller shipments, and are used when dealing with seasonal goods or when entering a new market.
  • Contract Warehouses: Warehouses which provide warehousing services on a contractual basis are known as contract warehouses. These contracts are generally long term between the two parties (leaser and contractor) and are mostly used when a business is newly established, or when a business is expanding and entering a new market. Such warehouses minimize liability and personal risk, as well as saving a pretty penny.