Forwarding and Shipping Agents


How to perform customs formalities

How to perform customs formalities

When our company embarks on the adventure of international expansion, one of the most important points is deciding how we will handle the customs formalities necessary when our goods cross borders. The two most frequent options are doing it internally at the company, or subcontracting these services.

As of today, hiring a logistical operator to take care of customs formalities, as well as transporting the goods, tends to be the most advantageous choice. Leaving all of these procedures to the experts saves us time and money, since an experienced operator knows how to perform the formalities so that the result is as beneficial as possible for the client.

Which formalities must be performed at customs

To get an idea as to the complexity of the process, we are going to take a look at a summary of the kinds of formalities that need to be performed at customs. Bear in mind that all of this greatly varies depending on the origin and destination countries, as well as the goods being transported, since both international legislation and the legislation applicable in each country must be taken into account.

Firstly, the transporter or legal representative must give a complete list of the freight at customs, presenting different documents. Later on, the freight is unloaded at customs and they check if the list matches the freight that was unloaded; if it does not, we can be fined (although we have a period of time to present allegations).

As of this moment, we have a timeframe that varies depending on the transport method, to present what is called assigning goods leaving customs. Some of the destinations may be a free warehouse, or they may be included in a customs regime, such as release for free circulation, transit or inward processing, in addition to others.

During these formalities, different documents have to be presented, such as the SID (single administrative document). Furthermore, we need to know how goods are valued at customs– since if they do not have an invoice, multiple factors must be borne in mind, such as the value of the containers, the cost of the packaging, shipping and handling expenses and other aspects like sales commissions-; this point is highly important since different taxes and duties will be levied depending on the value of the goods, so improper calculation could lead to unnecessary expenses.

Other procedures

In addition to customs formalities, when we transport goods we need to know which insurance policies we should apply, according to exportation regulations, and which coverages are mandatory. This also all depends on the origin and destination countries – and many times, on transit countries – as well as the transport method.

We can therefore see that exporting goods requires vast and varied legal knowledge. Doing so internally at the company requires hiring qualified staff. So the best option, clearly, is to hire a logistics operator who takes care of all of these formalities, as well as the transport itself.

At Bilogistik, we provide comprehensive logistical service, which includes handling customs and port formalities, hiring insurance, fleeting ships… Moreover, we have our own customs warehouse at the Port of Bilbao to facilitate the process for our clients.

Any procedures necessary to bring your goods anywhere in the world will be handled by our staff, so you can save time and money, making freight delivery faster and easier.


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