Customshouse Brokerage Services
In-house Licensed Customs Brokers
ABI/ACH Certified with U.S. Customs
One-on-One Personal Service
All shipments entering the United States require some type of U.S. Customs entry. We as the Customhouse Broker have the knowledge of U.S. Customs regulations, tariffs, and the entry requirements for import shipments. International Freight Systems (of WA) LLC is licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department to render this service to importers.
As a Customhouse Broker, International Freight Systems (of WA) LLC acts on behalf of you, the importer in the transaction of your business with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. International Freight Systems (of WA) LLC prepares and files with U.S. Customs the required documents to obtain release of cargo from U.S. Customs.
International Freight Systems (of WA) LLC will arrange with international carriers for the release of your shipment at the port as well as inland transportation to your final destination. These services are a part of our commitment to provide you with uninterrupted service for your shipments.
POPULAR IMPORT TERMINOLOGY
AUTOMATED BROKER INTERFACE (A.B.I.)
ABI is the means by which brokers or importers electronically transmit entries and release data to the U.S. Customs Service for possible paperless release.
CONSUMPTION ENTRY (CF 7501)
This document is the most commonly filed customs entry for non-paperless entries.
The 7501 lists classifications for duty purposes.
This provides the privilege of storing a shipment in a bonded warehouse without payment of duties. Duties are not collected until the goods are withdrawn from the warehouse for consumption.
Most merchandise imported into the United States is subject to duty. Duty is a computation of dollars accruing to U.S. Customs based on value.
AUTOMATED MANIFEST SYSTEM
AMS is the system whereby U.S. Customs has the opportunity to review cargo prior to its shipment to the United States from foreign ports. This is part of the new security measures put into place by the government.
FDA BIOTERRORISM ACT OF 2003
The Food and Drug Administration requires that advance notice be given to the FDA prior to the importation into the United States. All imported products may be subject to FDA review.
The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism is a voluntary program offered by U.S. Customs to importers, customs brokers, steamship lines, airlines and other international participants in order to secure the supply chain from origin to destination.
A facility that has met Customs approval for security for the placement of cargo that has not had duty paid although entered into the statutory limits of the United States.
ADVICE TO IMPORTERS
In our experience we have found that advance documentation is the single most effective factor in allowing fast, efficient handling of your import shipments. Following are some ideas to help secure advanced documentation for your ocean shipments.
Primarily, you should request vendors to send a complete copy set of documents to us at the same time originals are submitted to their bank. These documents should include, at minimum, a copy of the ocean bill of lading, the commercial invoice, and the packing list. If visas or export licenses are involved, copies should be included. We suggest you require these documents be sent by express courier within three days of vessel departure; certification of the same could be included as a required part of the L.C. documentation. From these documents we can open our internal file and prepare the customs entry. Entries can be submitted, and often a release obtained, prior to vessel arrival (except for quota merchandise). Even if original documents are processed through the bank, the customs entry will be underway or, perhaps, even completed.
Regarding the steamship bill of lading, most lines require tender of the original bill of lading along with charges due prior to release of the cargo. The original bill represents ownership of the cargo and the right to take delivery. If your shipment is moving under letter of credit restrictions and your bank will allow it, one original bill of lading could be sent to us directly by your supplier, and the remainder processed through the bank. Some steamship lines will allow release of “direct” consigned bills, (i.e., not consigned to a bank or “to order”), without surrender of original bill. In this case, only payment of charges is required.
Finally, you should instruct all vendors to show International Freight Systems (of WA) LLC on the bills of lading as the notify party so steamship lines will advise us of incoming shipments as they work each vessel. This acts as a safeguard to lost or delayed documents as confirmation of vessel and shipment information.
By doing these things, you will take major steps toward obtaining advance documentation and subsequent fast release of your import shipments. Please call us if we can explain further, or assist with any problems you may have.
WHAT IS LIQUIDATION?
Liquidation is final review of the entry by U.S. Customs. Under current regulations (19 CFR 159.11) liquidation must occur within one year from date of entry, unless extended by Customs’ request.
The duties deposited with the entry summary are ‘estimated duties’, in that they have not been finally determined by U.S. Customs to be proper. Once Customs reviews the entry and is satisfied with the classification, valuation, and admissibility of the imported merchandise, and with the duty collected, documents provided, and all other information required, the entry is then liquidated. Most entries are liquidated “as entered” i.e. with no change in the estimated duties deposited. If duty is increased, customs will invoice the importer of record for the additional amount; this will normally be preceded by a Notice of Action (customs From 29) with information as to reason for increases. If duty is decreased, a refund is issued.
Should you disagree with the liquidation – whether increase, decrease, or no change – you may protest the results. The protest must be filed within 90 days of liquidation: if the ninety day period is allowed to pass, recourse is lost and both parties are then bound by the final form of the liquidated entry. For this reason, we urge every importer to monitor the liquidation status of their entries, as failure to file a protest timely could result in payment of duties that might otherwise be refunded.
WHO IS OBLIGATED TO PAY?
Section 141.1 of the Customs regulations states that “the liability for duties, both regular and additional, attaching on importation, constitutes a personal debt due from the importer to the U.S….” Further, “Payment to a broker covering duties does not relieve the importer of liability if the duties are not paid by the broker…” to U.S. Customs. Therefore, it is the importer and no one else who has actual and ultimate liability for payment of duties.
Ocean bills of lading contain a statement as follows: “the shipper, consignee, holder thereof, and owner of the goods shall be jointly and severely liable to carrier for the payment of all freight charges. Payment of ocean freight and charges to a freight forwarder, broker, or anyone other than… (a steamship line)…or its authorized agent shall not be deemed payment to the carrier and shall be made at payer’s sole risk.”
Air bills state that “except when carrier has extended credit to the consignee without written consent of the shipper, the shipper guarantees payment of all charges for carriage due in accordance with carrier’s tariff…” and other related conditions and regulations.
Therefore, for both ocean and air, it is the shipper, consignee, and owner/s of cargo who share liability for freight charges, and no other party.