|Physically and legally transmitting goods from a the boundaries of a country or national territory.|
|Physically and legally transmitting goods into the boundary of a country or national territory.|
|Exportation from a customs territory of goods previously imported into that territory|
A method of storing or transporting goods that have either already been exported from an national territory, or have yet to be imported. The warehouse or truck are "international grounds."
|The act of lawfully importing goods through a recognised import authority.|
|Any third party who works on behalf of a contracting party. Most common in customs clearance are "clearing agents" and "forwarding agents."|
|Cargo that is held up and unable to be imported to a country or territory for whatever reason.|
|Fees that accrue from cargo behind held pre-customs. Frustrated cargo can greatly increase demurrage fees.|
|The physical edge when entering or leaving a country or national territory.|
|The actual physical crossing point of a boundary.|
|Port of Entry||Port through which goods are imported.|
|The legally required fees charged by governments to import goods. Each country has vastly different regulations.|
|Exemption||When part or all of the import fees and / or process are exempted for specific goods or organizations, usually in response to extraordinary circumstances.|
- Complicated customs procedures causing delays resulting in congestion at port of entry (airportairports, road borders, sea portseaports) that affect turn-around time for feeder vessels and railway wagons, so affecting the flow of goods.
- High volumes of emergency supplies flowing into a country causing a bottle neck to customs.
- Complex and non-transparent administrative requirements, often pertaining to documentation.
- High costs for processing trade information.
- High level of stress and large number of shipments in a short time, that can lead to errors in documentation and lack of understanding of import requirements.
Role of Customs Authorities
International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) – In the customs process Incoterms denote at what physical point cargo may be delivered to and who bears the responsibility for clearing customs. Incoterms range from the importer having to do all the work regarding transport and clearance (FCA) all the way to carriers clearing customs on behalf of the receiving agency and delivering to a named place inside the country (DDP). For information on international trade, see International Commercial Terms used in international contracts of sale.Bonded Storage / Transport – a bonded storage facility is any facility that holds cargo that has not yet been
<center><table> <tr><td> <center><img src="https://dlca.logcluster.org/download/attachments/9405288/Incoterms%20Image.png" width=700px> </td></tr> <tr><td> <center><table width=700> <tr><td width=65> <center>Seller </td><td width=65> <center>First Carrier </td><td width=65> <center>Alongside Ship </td><td width=65> <center>Loading Port </td><td width=120> <center>Vessel </td><td width=65> <center>Destination Port </td><td width=65> <center>Alongside Ship </td><td width=65> <center>Final Carrier </td><td width=65> <center>Buyer </td></tr> </table></center> </td></tr> </table></center>
Bonded Storage / Transport – a bonded storage facility is any facility that holds cargo that has not yet been cleared for import into a country, or cargo that has been pre-cleared for export from a country. In real terms, the inside of a bonded facility “international territory” for any cargo stored there. Bonded facilities are usually highly regulated and guarded, and penalties for removing cargo from a bonded facility without proper clearance can be very high. As cargo is imported into a country, usually customs authorities keep cargo in a bonded facility of some kind prior to clearing customs. Third party companies may also maintain bonded facilities if they have special arrangements with their respective customs authorities, or they operate in some kind free trade zone.
Demurrage – Demurrage is the accrual of fees on any cargo items that are left in the holding of a customs authority or air/port side operation after a pre-defined time. Cargo that arrives via air/sea/land border is usually given a specific period of time to undergo clearance without additional charge. The duration of the free of charge period and the daily/hourly rates varies location to location, and is negotiated between the national authorities, the company/authority authorised to run the air/sea portseaport, handling agents, and the transport companies. Demurrage accrued from air and railway shipping typically begins with 1-3 days, while demurrage accrued sea shipping can start as late as two weeks after arrival. Importers should be aware of what their demurrage rates can be, as long-term delays can lead to significant costs.
Below is general overview how the regular steps for importing goods should work in non-emergency settings:
It should be noted that this process may be altered in the face of rapid-onset emergencies, but not always. Below is a possible overview of an emergency customs process:
As the need for international shipments develop, there are key steps that any organisation or entity initiating shipping will need to undergo. ExportersResponse organisations acting as exporters/shippers will need to coordinate with the requester/receiver for key data:take key actions to obtain information and coordinate shipments:
|Data Required from Requestor/Receiver|
|Shipment Preparation and Organization|
|Strategies for Emergency Response Organisations|
An organisation or an entity acting as importer or consignee intending to receive a shipment should also take steps to properly prepare and identify needs.Importers/consignees should work establish and work out the legal mechanics for importation:
|Defining the Importation Process|
|Preparing to Receive Shipments|
|Possible Customs Specific Regulations for Importation|
|Strategies for Emergency Response Organisations|
The import process usually requires specific, and at times substantial documentation. A general overview of the import documentation might look like:
In emergencies, the authorities will usually ask for originals or copies of the following documents:
Other Import documentation often required:
- Letter/Certificate of Donations and/or Humanitarian Goods - Many agencies will included self made letters of humanitarian intent or donation to help facilitate the customs exemption process.
- Proof of duty exemption - May be required at the time of clearance, usually a registered humanitarian agency should be able to obtain some form of letter from the relevant tax revenue authority. A letter may be required for every import, however.
- Certificates of Origin (COO) - Usually generated and certified by the manufacturer, but can be done by the sending agency if required. Some countries have strict source origin requirements.
- Certificates of Inspection (COI) - COIs are usually associated with regulated commodities that may be consumed by humans - example: Medication - or may have adverse effects on human health - example: flammable plastic shelter material. COIs typically require certification from an outside laboratory testing facility, certified to test the specific chemical properties of the items in question.
- Certificates of Conformity (COC) - COCs are used to confirm that products meet or exceed a certain industry standard, and require inspection by outside testing and certifying companies.
- Phytosanitary Certificates - certification Certification attesting that imported plant based material meets the sanitary requirements of the country in question, usually from an outside laboratory.
- Special handling instructions (dangerous goods, cold chain, drugs, food).
Port of Entry Procedures
Most large sea ports seaports and international airports have the capacity to carrying out customs inspections, storage and clearance on site. For customs clearance to be official, there will need to be offices designated to the relevant customs authority and space for storage of goods undergoing customs.
When planning arrival of cargo, it is extremely important to know if customs is an option, especially in post rapid-onset emergencies. There may be instances where planes or boats may be physically able to arrive at a sea port seaport or airport, but not actually able to legally import goods.
The chart below outlines the general main steps in a customs clearance process:
The following steps detail the process through which cargo is handled and inspected by customs after arrival and offloading:
|Open Account||Document Collection||Documentary Credit||Payment in Advance|
|Payment in Advance||Documentary Credit||Documents Collection|
- Payment in Advance - All import duties, fees and handling charges are paid in advance. In the event there are changes to the items, quantities or the overall anticipated fees are incorrect, the entity paying up front bears additional risk. If payment in advance is required, importers should try to use a letter of credit.
- Documentary Credit - The technical term for letter of credit.
- Documentary Collections - Instruction from an exporter (seller or supplier) to a remitting bank, normally the exporter’s local bank, to collect payment immediately or at a future date from an importer (buyer) against delivery of the relevant commercial documents. Documentary collections function like a letter of credit, however the burden of documentation and values are supplied by the seller/exporter. Importers should still monitor these communications to ensure agreed upon costs are still being used.
- Open Account - An agreement between an importer and an exporter whereby goods are supplied on the understanding that payment will be effected at an agreed future date. Payment can be made after goods have been imported. This method is used when there is a high level of trust between exporters and importers.
Templates and Tools
- Country specific customs information can be found at the Global Logistics Cluster, Logistics Cluster Assessment (LCA) country pages.
- Customs Model Agreement Between UN and State
- Kyoto Convention. Cp. 5 Annex J - Relief Consignments