Why be held up at the border if you don't have to be? There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your experience at the border is a good one! As part of the trade chain, the carrier's role is integral to the entire cross-border process. There are numerous reasons that can cause clearance delays at the border. Not all delays are within your control to resolve, but there are a few things you can do to make your trip hassle free. Here is a listing of some of the most common delays we come across, along with easy fixes for you to consider.
1. Documentation Issues
It is impossible for a customs broker to set up your load if they aren't aware of it. You can help by faxing your Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) request to your customs broker as soon as you've picked up all freight. By faxing the PARS requests at pick up, it provides your customs broker with the maximum time to review and action anything if further information is required. Ideally, documents should be faxed to the customs broker at least five (5) hours prior to your estimated time of arrival (ETA). This allows the customs broker to review the documents, establish if any information is missing and collect the required details in order to make that declaration - all before you need to cross the border.
2. Port Of Crossing And Estimated Time Of Arrival (ETA)
Clearly indicating the port you wish to cross at, and on what date and time, enables your customs broker to prepare the entry in time for your arrival at the border. Without this information, your customs broker can't submit the PARS request to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for their release decision. It is also important to understand that if a change to the original port of crossing is required, that you let your customs broker know prior to getting to the border. The customs broker can make the change electronically, in advance. Most Customs offices are not able to make the change upon your arrival at their booth; instead, you will be directed to your customs broker for the required changes.
These details should always be clearly indicated on your request. A cover page is a helpful tool that allows you to make your needs known and will prevent you from having to stop your journey.
3. Missing Contact Numbers
Upon reviewing your PARS request, your customs broker may establish that there are going to be delays that are out of your control. By listing your cell phone number or that of your dispatch, your customs broker can reach out and let you know. This enables you to either hit a truck stop for a much-deserved break, or get in touch with your contacts for the missing regulatory information. We understand that surprises regarding delays are never a good thing and by indicating a contact number on the documents will allow us to reach out to you.
4. Not Knowing The Customs Broker
So often, faxes are sent to the wrong customs broker and it is simply discarded by the unknowing receiver. When taking on a contract or trip, be sure to verify with your client who their customs broker is. Get the customs broker's contact information and the location of their office, in case you need to stop in for assistance. If your client does not have a customs broker, refer them to one who you've had a positive experience with and whose hours are going to be helpful to all parties involved.
5. Call The Customs Broker To Confirm Receipt Of Your Request
Once you've sent in your PARS request to the customs broker, make sure you confirm that they have received the request. Be sure to give them time to receive the request, calling them twenty minutes after sending it to them. Once they've confirmed receipt, allow them time to process the entry and submit it to CBSA for approval. Allowing the customs broker at least one (1) hour to process the paperwork for submission to CBSA is a good guideline for you to follow.
Always confirm that your load is ready to cross before you get to the border. Call the customs broker closer to your ETA or use their online PARS checking tool to verify your load is ready to cross. Knowing before you go allows you to be prepared for what's to come. Having you get the client's freight delivered in a safe and timely manner is important to us!