What Does A Customs Broker Do?

At a basic level, customs brokers help:

  • Obtain documentation that has been prepared for the shipment/contract
  • Review the documentation for completeness and compliance with customs regulations
  • Prepare and submit a declaration to Customs on their client's behalf at the port of arrival

Do You Need A Customs Broker When Importing?

It is up to you. Most companies who import goods into Canada find that it is far too expensive and time consuming to travel to the facility or port of arrival where their goods are held awaiting the clearance process, prepare a formal declaration for Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), pay the charges due and then await delivery of their product. The trend today is to do what you do best and leave the clearance process up to the professionals.

What Are The Benefits Of A Customs Broker?

  1. Customs brokers stay up-to-date with policy and regulation changes and come equipped with all of the software, hardware and technology needed to manage and declare your company's shipments. So there is no need to shop around for the necessary resources.
  2. Aside from submitting a declaration on your behalf, customs brokers can also help your company reduce costs, improve efficiency, and mitigate risk issues related to engaging in cross-border business. We have the experience to help implement the processes and approaches that may boost your competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  3. We work closely with international trade and customs professionals to provide advantageous and forward-thinking advice.

This allows you to remain focused on what you do best, instead of spending your time overseeing complex customs procedures. Let the professionals leverage their experience to complete the job with accuracy.

10 Questions To Ask When Selecting A Customs Broker

Couriers Services Also Offer Customs Brokerage Service, Is There A Difference?

Courier transport can be fast and efficient, but caution is advised when using their "all-inclusive" customs brokerage services. The extremely large volume of shipments carried by couriers, the speed with which their multiple-shipment loads must move through Customs, and unfamiliarity with the multitude of goods handled, makes incorrect tariff, tariff treatment or valuation by courier customs brokers a fairly common occurrence. Any advantages in freight rates or speed of service can be very quickly wiped out by costly tariff errors which are usually not identified until there is a Customs post-release verification audit.

Another factor with the courier brokers (or using more than one broker in general) is that you are one importer with Customs, so it is imperative that you review your declarations to ensure that your information to Customs is consistent amongst all of your agents/declarations. If Customs sees one importer, with the same vendor, same item etc. being declared differently, you leave yourself open for further review and possible penalties.

When Should You Contact A Customs Broker?

In the planning stages, prior to entering into international contracts. Although you may choose to travel to the facility or port of arrival to prepare a formal declaration for Customs yourself, it is highly recommended that you seek guidance and advice from a customs broker in the planning stages to help mitigate risk issues related to your cross-border business.

The long-term success of any international business model depends on an organization's ability to understand, execute and enforce cross-border contracts with their suppliers and customers. By getting involved in the early stages, customs brokers are able to provide not only advantageous advice on terms, but also guide you on countries of origin to source from, tariff classification and entry types to assist in the decision making and compliance process. So at the end of the day you are more competitive in the marketplace and gain a positive relationship with both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency.

If you are a business that is just starting up, caution is advised when choosing not to use a customs broker.

6 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Customs Broker

Why Pacific Customs Brokers?

Pacific Customs Brokers is a PREMIUM service provider. Our strength is in cutting through red tape. We are a Canadian and a U.S. customs broker with a high level of expertise directed to both high volume commercial goods and one-time noncommercial goods. We are ALWAYS OPEN 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to obtain clearances at all commercial Customs ports of entry into Canada and the United States. Our highly trained 24/7 LIVE Reception Team will direct all calls, urgent and non-urgent, to the appropriate operational department. Unlike other customs brokers, Pacific Customs Brokers does NOT believe in voice mail boxes or automated phone attendants.

In addition, we pride ourselves on:

  • Tenure, stability, trustworthiness, process, certainty and credibility
  • Approach as problem solvers
  • Education and training
  • Staff certifications
  • Experience with various commodities and clients
  • Referrals (What others say about it is way more important than what we say about ourselves.)
  • Multiple means of communication (24/7 Live Reception, website, Live chat, social media, Border Pro iPhone app, and a client facing dashboard)
  • Reputation with Customs and various other trade related associations
  • Adaptability and willingness to wrap ourselves around your business
  • Ease of doing business with
  • Flexible pricing and payment options
  • Ability to ship worldwide via all modes of transportation
  • Full serve 'Concierge' services and consulting
  • Diverse staff that speak multiple languages
Why Should You Work With A Customs Broker

If you are importing or exporting goods into Canada or the USA learn how Pacific Customs Brokers can help. For more information on setting up an account with Pacific Customs Brokers, please contact our Client Services Team at 888.538.1566 or [email protected].

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About Author
Cherie Storms
CCS , CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Cherie Storms is the Operations Manager with Pacific Customs Brokers, Canada with over 15 years in international trade operations and regulatory experience. After she joined the company in 2007 she has become an Executive Board Member for the Canadian Customs Brokers Society, BC Region, and was invited to speak at the Women in Transportation Annual General Meeting in 2010 regarding her experience with running the international logistics efforts of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Cherie is also a member of CCB's National Commercial Operations and eManifest Committee. In September of 2018, Cherie became a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadain Society of Customs Brokers. Cherie has spoken at many seminars on the importance of trade compliance and is currently enrolled in the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Business Management Program with the goal of becoming an international trade lawyer.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.