8 Common Mistakes New Importers Make

Importers Do Not Ask for the Proper Incoterms…

1. Many importers while negotiating the price for a product fail to ask for the proper incoterm. If you do not request an FOB, C&F, CIF term your supplier is going to quote you an ex-factory price term. This means you will be responsible for all charges in the foreign country to get the goods to the port. Buyers should be asking for at least an FOB price and be familiar with all incoterms to protect your purchase and landed price.

Importers Fail to Insure their Shipments…

2. Importers have an impression that their goods are automatically covered by the carrier, steamship line, airline, or trucking company against damage, loss or theft. This is a very common miss conception. Carriers have very limited liability, most truckers and brokers $50 per shipment and ocean carriers $500 per shipment. It is always a wise investment to make sure your shipment is covered with insurance. Put the insurance request in writing and receive a confirmation that the shipment has been insured.

Failing To File Importer Security Filing (Ocean Shipments)…

3. Failing to file or timely file the Importers Security Filing- ISF shipment data for ocean shipments. The failure to file or timely file the ISF data can subject the importer to possible penalties as well as delays in the release of their shipment on arrival. Another ramification is possible intensive and expensive examinations. For seasoned suppliers and importers to the USA the process has become routine. Many new importers need to make sure this important step is completed at least 24 hours prior to the goods leaving the last foreign port destined to the United States.

Allowing Suppliers to Arrange their Ocean Freight…

4. Importers allow their suppliers to arrange their ocean freight to the United States. Many times the supplier believes they are pre-paying all the charges into the US. The unsuspecting importer is then hit with a host of local charges in the USA. These charges are much higher than if they had allowed their customs broker to arrange the freight on their behalf.

Shipping Via Ocean Freight for Small Shipments…

5. When importers have small shipments under one hundred and fifty kilos in many cases it is less expensive to send the shipment via airfreight vs ocean freight. Importers should be asking their customs broker or suppliers to provide a quote for both air and ocean on these small shipments for a comparison. A true comparison will add all of the local devanning , documentation, exam and forklift charges associated with small ocean shipments that will often make the air shipment less expensive.

Not Purchasing a Continuous Bond for Multiple Shipments…

6. Importers that expect to have multiple shipments during a twelve month period or high value shipments may benefit financially from purchasing a continuous bond from their customs broker. Generally the continuous bond is good for all of their shipments for a twelve month period entering any port in the USA vs single transaction bonds on a shipment by shipment basis.

Not Getting a Binding Rule…

7. Importers should take advantage well in advance of their first shipment of the binding ruling program with CBP to avoid possible increased duties down the road from a possible classification dispute. A customs broker can assist in the filing of the request.

Failing to get All Documentation to your Customs broker on time…

8. Getting all documentation to your customs broker well in advance of the arrival of your shipment is critical to avoiding expensive storage charges. This includes your commercial invoice, packing list and copy of bill of lading or airwaybill and any other commodity specific document required. In most cases your customs broker can pre-file your entry in advance of the vessel arrival.

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