As part of the supply chain, a carrier?s role is integral to crossing the border. There are numerous reasons that can cause clearance delays at the border. Not all delays are within a carrier?s control to resolve, but there are a few things you can do to make your trip hassle-free. Why be held up at the border if you do not have to?
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your experience at the border is a good one. Here is a list of some of the most common delays we come across, along with easy fixes for you to consider.
1. Fax your PARS request to your customs broker at pickup.
It is impossible for a customs broker to set up your load if they are not aware of it. You can help by faxing your Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) request to your customs broker as soon as you have picked up all freight. Faxing the PARS requests at pick up 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 cross the border.
2. Indicate port of crossing and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA).
Clearly indicating the port you wish to cross and the date and time of the crossing, enables your customs broker to prepare the entry in time for your arrival at the border. Without this information, your customs broker cannot 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 electronically make the change in advance. Most Customs offices are not able to make the change upon your arrival at their booth; instead, you will be redirected 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. Provide contact information and 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 contact you and keep you informed. 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 indicating a contact number on documents helps us reach out to you.
4. Verify the customs broker upfront.
Faxes often get sent to the wrong customs broker and get discarded by the uninformed 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 have sent in your PARS request to the customs broker, make sure you confirm that they have received it. Be sure to give them time to receive the request, calling them approximately 20 minutes after sending it. Once they have confirmed receipt, allow them time to process the entry and submit it to CBSA for approval. A good guideline to follow is to allow the customs broker at least one hour to process the paperwork for submission to CBSA.
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 if your load is ready to cross. Knowing before you go allows you to be prepared for what is to come.
Helping you get your client?s freight delivered in a safe and timely manner is important to us. Border Pro for Carriers our highway carrier program is designed to do just that - help highway carriers, truckers, drivers, dispatchers & self-carrying clients clear customs. For more information on the range of solutions we offer visit our website or contact our Carrier Help Desk.
Did you find these tips helpful or do you have additional tips to share? Leave them for us in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.