Customs Clearance: 4 Best Practices to Avoid Delays

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In today’s competitive environment and burgeoning e-commerce industry, speedy, reliable delivery is more important than ever. One of the key reasons for delivery delays is non-compliance with customs clearance regulations. The consequences of delays are massive, and at times, unrecoverable for a business. 

Customers get unhappy, leave negative reviews, and don’t ever come back to your business. In addition, non-compliance to international shipping and clearance legislation could also result in hefty fines, or worse, prosecution.

When shipping goods internationally, it's imperative to ensure they are cleared through customs quickly. As an e-commerce business, doing your homework on your destination market will ensure smooth customs processing and reduce the risk of any delays from customs clearance. 

1. Prepare all necessary documentation 

Every country have different paperwork requirements needed for international shipping and clearance. For example, a certificate of origin, bill of landing and air waybill is required for all imports into the Philippines by the Bureau of Customs. 

Other common customs clearance documents include:

  • Commercial invoice

  • Packing list 

  • Freight forwarder's declaration 

  • Customs declaration 

Ensuring that all of the required documents are included in your shipment and are accurate can help to avoid customs clearance delays. If there are any discrepancies or missing information, it can result in your shipment being held up at customs. 

2. Declare the actual value of goods 

The total value of the shipped product has to be declared for all imported goods to accurately compute any duties or taxes owed to the government.

Deliveries are often undervalued in order to pay fewer taxes to the customs authorities. There are a few reasons why you should declare the value of goods accurately when shipping.

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First, if you don't declare the value of the goods, you could end up paying taxes on a higher value than what the goods are actually worth. Second, inaccurate declarations can lead to delays in customs clearance. Finally, inaccurate declarations can also lead to fines and other penalties.

3. Provide accurate and complete details 

When you're shipping items through customs, it's essential to provide clear and accurate labeling. This will help to ensure that there are no delays in processing the customs clearance. Providing accurate information will also help to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

To avoid shipping delays, packages must have exact details like the full name and addresses of the receiver. 

In addition, a complete description of the goods being shipped should be declared clearly on the packaging. Providing vague descriptions such as “apparel” instead of “ladies’ dresses” might result in customs delays, so make sure to give precise details of what’s inside the package. 

4. Refrain from shipping counterfeit and pirated goods 

The importation of counterfeit and pirated products is illegal and can result in significant delays at customs, or the goods might be seized by customs officials. Counterfeit goods not only violate the intellectual property rights of the rightful owners, but they can also be dangerous for public health. 

For example, fake pharmaceuticals may contain unapproved substances that could potentially harm people who take them. In addition, counterfeit bags and shoes are often low-quality and can cause injuries. 

To avoid customs delays, make sure your shipment does not contain any infringing items. You may also wish to obtain additional documentation to prove that your products are from the rightful trademark owner and do not breach intellectual property rights. 

Apart from complying with customs clearance requirements, consider leveraging On-Demand Delivery to ensure a smooth and speedy delivery of orders to your customers. Get started by opening a DHL Express account with us today. Visit the DHL Express service page for more information.