Thursday, July 8, 2010

US Customs Broker and US Freight Forwarder
Part 1
Recently I had an LCL (Less than Container Load) shipment from Asia. The manufacturer agreed in writing to pay for the transportation to my residential address and I would be responsible for the Customs fees, duty, bond, entry fees, etc. Sounds like a great deal, right? Because my supplier was paying for the transportation, I used his US counter part as my import broker and freight forwarder. I signed the Power of Attorney authorizing him to make the Customs entry for me under my business name and my importer ID. I should have asked for a written schedule of fees. I did not, so shame on me. I had been importing LCL from Asia so I had a ball park on what charges to expect. Again, I was surprised …..repeatedly…. with each new bill. Shame on me for assuming.

Let’s start by looking at the FIRST bill. Which, I was repeatedly told in writing that I must pay by wire transfer before my goods would be released. (Actually, payment up front for a new customer isn’t that usual but demanding a wire transfer - should be an option, and not a requirement. Hey, take PayPal or credit cards.)

Ok, Here’s the first INVOICE. I had 133 cartons which contained 3804 pieces.

Description Total (USD)

1. Destination CFS Charges 205.00


2. Customs Entry Fees 125.00

3. Documentation Fee 85.00
4. AMS Fee 30.00

5. Customs Exam 75.68

6. Customs Bond Fee 45.00

7. Customs Duties and Taxes 1021.10

TOTAL 1,586.78

Let’s decode this FIRST Bill
1. CFS stands for Container Freight Station (This particular station was in New York.)
2. STRIPPING – Unloading the cargo from a Container (also called devanning).
3. PSC- Port Service Charge
4. DAD – “Delivery Authorized Document is a form prepared by the Customs Broker and authorized by US Customs after presentation and approval of entry or entry summary and lodged with the carrier as evidence of customs release.”
5. Customs Entry Fee – Filling out paperwork or populating computer system with information I already provided.
6. Documention Fee – Filling out paperwork with information I already provided.
7. AMS Customs Automated Manifest System “Sea AMS allows participants to transmit manifest data electronically prior to vessel arrival. Customs can then determine in advance whether the merchandise merits examination or immediate release.” Again, This was the same information only it was the first time I filled out and sent all the details about my shipment.
8. Customs inspected my cases and charged me for the service. There is something wrong about first getting delayed because customs wants to check that you've done everything correctly and THEN having to pay them for this inconvenience. (I expected this for the first shipment from a new supplier.)
9. Customs bond fee. Basically I had to pay for insurance that US customs will get any money due from me.
10. Customs duty and taxes. I expected this since I already knew the duty rate for my products and the value for each of them.

What does the Underwear Maven think about this first Bill?


2. I’m not impressed with the line items. Get the right data into the right systems at the right time. I don’t care if it’s the early AMS data entry, or the Customs data entry, or the documentation fee for the data entry, or the DAD. It’s all data and it’s the same data and it’s all got to be done.

3. For an LCL shipment like this one, I expected to pay $200-$250 to the importer and freight forwarder to do the documentation and have the goods delivered to my driveway. I’m already out $445.00 and have I mentioned THIS IS JUST THE FIRST BILL.

4. Customs exam and Customs Bond Fee were expected and charges reasonable.

5. Duty was high, but I knew this from the start.

Oh my, my head aches so I’m taking a break. All for now!
The Underwear Maven

1 comment:

blackhawk logistics said...

It is really informative. I just want to add one thing that there are various online service providers such as that offer exclusive services.
Freight Forwarder Charleston