Understanding the regulations and customs requirements surrounding international shipping is the only way to move freight across borders in a safe, legal way. When you consider the ramifications of non-compliance, this knowledge becomes vital to any company that imports or exports goods.
That is why researching regulations is so important. Not only does achieving an advanced comprehension enable a company to operate with full compliance, it allows them to construct a shipping plan designed to follow the rules without hampering performance.
The process of fully comprehending compliance and regulation for international shipping includes the following steps:
· Research regulations and customs requirements – The best way to conduct this research is have a dedicated resource continually communicating with the pros: customs agents, shipping management companies, and freight forwarders.
· Develop a plan to ensure compliance is achieved – This includes educating employees about the proper processes, regulatory compliance and tax requirements and developing strategies that operate within the rules.
· Reduce human error – Most regulations breaches result from ignorance, rather than an intention to break the law. To avoid accidental non-compliance, make sure that all parties involved with an international shipment – the carrier, the freight forwarder, the drayage company, etc – have good track records and can be relied on to meet regulations and deal with Customs and Border Control when there are issues.
· Monitor – Even with the proper plan and personnel, things can still go wrong. That is why developing a monitoring system that allows you to ensure compliance in real-time is invaluable. When any party involved with a shipment misses a step, you can be notified so that the mistake can be corrected and you can take action to minimize any impact to your customer.
· Communicate – In addition to alerting partners of compliance breaches, communication with customs agents should remain open. This allows you to check with an expert if there is any uncertainty with a shipment. It also allows you to alert customs if a problem was not identified until after it could be fixed.
Developing a plan that covers compliance from the moment a shipment is ordered to the moment it arrives begins with understanding regulations and customs requirements. While gaining a comprehension of these rules through personal research is possible, it is always a good idea to make use of available resources such as customs personnel, freight forwarders, and shipping managers. Customs personnel know the ins and outs of international shipping while freight forwarders can identify the particular requirements of specific shipments. Lastly shipping managers (internal or external) are able to help you form a lasting strategy for international shipments, and can help execute the monitoring and communication aspects of the plan.