Posts Tagged ‘education’


Help! My Shipment is Stuck at the Border

Always OpenMany times, we as customs brokers receive phone calls from importers, shippers, dispatchers and carriers frantically trying to find out why their shipment is “stuck at the border”. Lucky for them, we are ALWAYS Open 24/7, with live reception and no voice mail.

Sometimes it is a very simple answer and other incidence’s are more complex. Below are some of the most common reasons why a shipment may be stuck at the border.

1. Documents make no mention of who the customs broker is to assist with the clearance.  “Customs Clearance- contact Pacific Customs Brokers 888.538.1566”

2. Documents are hard to decipher who the actual Importer of Record is. The Importer of Record (IOR) can be;

  •  The receiver of the goods – usually called “consignee”
  • The shipper (acting as a “Non-Resident Importer” (NRI) and already set up with a Canadian customs broker)
  • A third party having their shipments drop shipped from another location and in most cases will also be acting as a “Non-Resident Importer

3. Neither the shipper or the consignee have not set up anything formally with a Canadian customs broker to effect customs clearance.

4. The driver/freight company picking up freight only has a Bill of Lading and is not given any other documents such as a commercial invoice or Canada Customs invoice.

5. Documents/commercial invoice does not have enough information to be able to prepare the entry for presentation and clearance with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Some of the information that can hold this up is:

  • not enough information to  classify the goods (Tariff Classification)
  • total value or individual values are missing
  • country of manufacture is missing
  • total number of pieces is missing
  • weight is missing
  • commercial invoice document only shows product numbers or abbreviated number & item name (no general description of what the goods are). See below for examples.

For example: — 1956842ftp clr scn/cpy/prnt (not an acceptable description)

–   1956842ftp — Scanner/copier/printer unit (an acceptable description)

6. The document is not the correct document to obtain a customs clearance (i.e. purchase order or pick ticket)

7. A few more reasons freight crossing the border is often delayed may be due to the actual commodity being shipped. Perhaps there are other government agencies that are involved in approving the goods for Customs clearance, such as items that are under control of Canadian Food Inspections Agency (CFIA).

They require CFIA approval and some commodities are under quota and require an Import Permit. Perhaps the goods are listed on the Import Control List and require an Import Permit, such as some steel items.    Meat shipments and those requirements are also extensive.

It is always a good idea to check with a customs broker for any special requirements or extra documentation and / or extra steps that may need to be taken to properly clear the goods across the border prior to ordering or shipping.

When in doubt, be sure to contact your customs broker. They’ll properly advise on what you need to do and what they need in order for your shipment (s) to avoid delays and have a seamless Customs clearance process.




AMPS – How Would This Affect Your Bottom Line?


What does AMPS mean?

If you are an importer and exporter of goods into Canada, it is in your best interest to know what AMPS are.   Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) are monetary penalties issued by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure customs compliance. Both imports and exports of goods are subject to AMPS.

Carriers, importers, exporters and customs brokers (and many others that deal   with the Customs Act and Customs Tariff) are all held accountable on errors and can be subject to costly AMPS penalties. The penalty can be anywhere from $100.00 to $25000.00.  Another term for a “mistake” is non-compliance or an even scarier term — Contravention.

Customs compliance has become one of the new buzz words in the last ten years in the Transportation Industry.   Judging by the amount of penalties that have been assessed over the years, it is in your best interest to make sure you are compliant when it comes to   importing/exporting goods. The other buzz word is “Reason to Believe” and that means if you think you made a mistake fix it and fix it as soon as possible.

Recently, the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers(CSCB) sent out one of their regular emails and this one was on AMPS Statistics. Are you ready to be shocked?

This is for the period of July 2008 to June 2011:

  • during this period, the total number of penalties issued was 93,808;
  • during this period, the total value of penalties was $21,371,433.94;
  •  importers continue to have the highest number of penalties assessed;
  • the penalty amount assessed against importers is twice that of carriers and six times that of warehouse operators;
  • the penalty assessed the most often was C082 (27,785), followed closely by C353 (27,443); and
  • the contravention for which the highest amount was assessed is C358 ($2,043,846.18).

Code Definitions & Penalties:

  • C082: Authorized person failed to make the required corrections to a declaration of tariff classification within 90 days after having reason to believe the declaration was incorrect (penalty range $150 up to $450 per instance).
  • C353: Authorized person failed to pay duties as a result of required corrections to the declaration of the value for duty within 90 days of reason to believe the declaration was incorrect (penalty range $150 up to $450 per instance).
  • C358: Person removed goods from a Customs Office or Sufferance Warehouse prior to release or authorization by an officer (penalty range $1000 up to $4000 per shipment).

We suggest that you cross your t’s and dot your i’s to ensure compliance with Canada Customs and Other Government Departments (OGDs) when you import and export.

To learn more, attend as many Trade Compliance Seminars as possible. It is also a cost effective way to train new logistics employees. Not only will you gain the trade knowledge needed but you can rest easy that you are staying informed with the ever changing regulations with Customs and other government departments.

Be prepared because if not,   you can lose your ability to import. Remember importing is a privilege not a right.

NRI- Be Prepared Before You Ship

Antique Books and Glasses“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
Warren Buffett


Would you go cliff diving without knowing how deep the water is? Of course not!

Exporting to Canada can be an easy process or difficult depending upon your knowledge and resources. Many US Companies have been setting up as Non-Resident Importers without knowing all the facts and or not enough preparation before they start using the NRI option for their sales advantage to Canada.

I always remember and refer to the Boy Scouts motto “Be Prepared” for reviewing the NRI process before you export your goods to Canada.

B – Begin the information gathering, find out what is needed to import your   product into Canada, are there any     special permits or licenses needed?

EExplore different ways you can price your product to make it attractive to the buyer. Should you build in import costs in the price you show, or detail   them on your invoice?

 P – Plan how you are going to ship and distribute your products in Canada.     Consolidate or Ship direct?

RRequest the services of our consulting team to rate your catalog of products   to discover the duty rates that may affect your delivered price.

EEstablish your final delivered price, making sure all import costs are   included to maximize profits.

PProceed with the document set up with Pacific Customs Brokers to make   sure your import account is set up and ready to avoid border delays.

A – Audit your procedures and how your paper trail will look to ensure you are in     compliance with all customs   regulations.

RReview the GST tax considerations, do you need to, or should you register   for a GST tax account.

EEducate your sales staff on how to quote a landed cost.

DDelight your customers in Canada with your no border hassle sales solution   and Sell, sell, sell!  

CFIA – New Regulations and Informed Compliance

As an importer, you must keep current with the new and upcoming changes in regulatory requirements for all government departments.   The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), for example, with regard to food and plant product imports, will have some changes.   The upcoming changes in regulations include:

The Food Safety Action Plan (FSAP) is a five year initiative that aims to modernize and strengthen Canada’s food safety system and increase collaboration and information sharing among government partners, industry, and consumers in the Imported Food Sector (IFS), as well as provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with an enhanced ability to communicate important information to importers to assist in mitigating food safety risks.

Imported Food Sector (IFS) products represent approximately 70% of food products sold in Canada.   An IFS product is any imported food or food ingredient for human consumption.

If you are an importer of IFS products, then becoming prepared for the full implementation of the Food Safety Action Plan (FSAP) is a MUST.   In the next two (2) years, the FSAP regulatory requirements will be enforced and if you are not in full compliance, you will be unable to import IFS products.

New regulations and informed compliance for solid wood packaging materials such as pallets, crates and dunnage.   If you are an importer of machinery or other non-CFIA regulated products, your imports will still fall under the aegis of the CFIA due the packaging materials used.   Are you and your vendors aware of the upcoming changes for all solid wood packaging materials exported from the United States?

To assist importers in becoming aware of the implications and requirements of the upcoming CFIA regulations, Pacific Customs Brokers is hosting a CFIA Seminar on Thursday February 24, 2011.   Carol Brown, LCB, CCS,   the instructor of the CFIA session, will be providing an update on the latest food licensing and wood packaging materials requirements as well as outlining basic documentation and tips to avoiding Administrative Monetary Penalty System fines. We strongly urge all persons involved in the transportation or importing of wood packaging materials and the   importing of food products to attend the CFIA Seminar.

For more information on registering for the CFIA Seminar, please email [email protected] or contact Yvette Fox at 888.538.1566.

Before You Import…

Before you purchase a commodity that you have never imported before, or it has been some time since you”ve imported, contact your customs broker to confirm the requirements for importation.   There are a number of circumstances, requirements or changes to import requirements that could potentially make the import process uncomfortable if not properly researched.

First, you should confirm that the commodity you would like to import is allowed into Canada. Many commodities, especially those that are biological materials, food, plant or otherwise, require additional import and export permits. Other goods are simply prohibited entry into Canada.

Once it is ascertained that the commodity is allowed entry, the next step is to confirm the document requirements of both the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other government departments.   There are many commodities that have no additional requirements for entry from CBSA, but are regulated for clearance from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada and others.   Many of the documents required for these regulated commodities cannot be obtained while the product is in transit, and must be obtained prior to departure.  In most cases, if you do not have the appropriate documentation, the import could be refused entry.

Once the document requirements have been confirmed, the next thing is to confirm the duties and applicable taxes.   There are many items which have applicable duty rates, are subject to Special Importer Measures Act actions, as well as any possible excise taxes;  all are in place to protect Canadian Industry and give producers a chance to compete with foreign Importers.

True Story:   A produce importer purchased blueberries from New Zealand.   Upon arrival by air into Canada, they were advised by their customs broker that the blueberries required a phytosanitary certificate.   The importer, not knowing of this requirement, had not requested one from the seller of the produce and could not obtain one due to the product already having left New Zealand.   The fallout that occurred was that the blueberries had to be destroyed, and the importer was out the cost to purchase the blueberries and the cost to ship them via air freight.

Take away: Ask before you import.   It will save you both time and money!