America's East Coast import volume is on the rise relative to West Coast ports. If you’re shipping goods into the region, working with a local customs broker in NJ can help you clear imports quickly and smoothly.
No law says you have to hire a customs broker to help you clear customs in the U.S. But a smart importer, whether large or small, usually engages with an expert for customs brokerage services.
Understanding U.S. Customs Brokerage
When a shipment arrives in the U.S., customs brokers work with you to ensure that all required documents are in order and that your goods comply with local laws and regulations. They also help calculate and pay any duties or taxes owed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which can be based on the value, quantity or weight of your imported goods.
Whether or not you should use a customs broker depends on several factors, such as the complexity of your imports, your familiarity with customs regulations, and the value of your shipments.
If you’re a first-time importer or dealing with a particularly complex shipment, it may be beneficial to use a customs broker who can guide you through the process and ensure regulatory compliance. A customs broker can also help you avoid potential customs delays and penalties, as well as reduce the risk of paperwork errors that can lead to additional fees.
On the other hand, if you have a dedicated team that’s familiar with customs regulations, you may be able to handle the clearance process on your own. But keep in mind that regulations are subject to change, and it may still be beneficial to work with a customs broker to ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest requirements.
Advantages of a Customs Broker in NJ
If you're shipping goods through a NJ marine terminal, partnering with a customs broker in New Jersey can help you streamline your import and export process.
And while all customs brokers offer similar services, using a local provider has a few key advantages:
Knowledge of local regulations. A local customs broker in NJ will have a thorough understanding of the regulations and requirements of the specific port of entry, including any unique requirements.
For example, the Port of NY and NJ has several Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) that may allow you to reduce or defer customs duties and taxes. A knowledgeable customs broker will help you determine if an FTZ is the right choice for your operations, and ensure that all necessary documentation is in order.
Faster response time. Because a customs broker in NJ is physically located near the port of entry, they can often respond more quickly to any issues or concerns that arise during the import process. This can help prevent delays and minimize the impact of any problems that do occur.
Personal touch. If you are in the metro NY area, a customs broker in NJ could meet with you to achieve an even deeper understanding of your business, your products, and your goals. Face-to-face discussions offer more opportunities to ask questions about your business model and discuss concerns and opportunities.
Integrated Customs Brokerage Services: Best of Both Worlds
Some freight forwarders offer customs brokerage as part of a comprehensive freight forwarding solution. By working with a single provider that offers door-to-door global transport and related services, you can ensure compliance end-to-end, and avoid costly customs delays and penalties.
A streamlined process. Rather than working with multiple providers, you can work with a single source that handles all aspects of the logistics process – from arranging transportation to handling customs clearance – saving you time, money and the headache of coordinating third parties.
Improved communication. A freight forwarder with integrated customs brokerage can provide more reliable updates on issues that arise. This can help you adjust operations, as needed.
Reduced risk. Non-compliance with customs regulations can result in significant penalties and delays. By working with a customs broker that’s aligned with a freight forwarder, you can reduce the risk of non-compliance by ensuring that all documentation is complete and accurate, and that all customs procedures are followed.
Strong network of local logistics partners. Freight forwarding companies in New Jersey have strong, established relationships with local warehouses and trucking companies to give you the space and freight capacity you need to keep goods moving.
Looking for a Customs Broker in NJ?
Ultimately, you want a customs broker you can trust to keep you compliant and reduce risk. A company with strong trade compliance know-how who also cares enough to get to know you and your business and ensure the clearance process runs smoothly – so you can focus on running and growing your business.
I.C.E. Transport is a New Jersey-based logistics company that provides customs brokerage as part of a comprehensive solution for global freight forwarding. The company specializes in serving small to medium-sized businesses moving goods to and from the U.S. (See our Small Business Survival Guide to Global Shipping).
For advice on customs brokerage, get in touch with the experts at I.C.E. Transport.