Top Three Ways Customs Brokers Help You Save Money

If you are importing products to sell in Australia or if you are exporting products to another country, you have to deal with a lot of rules at the border. In many cases, there can be dozens or even hundreds of rules. Luckily, a customs broker can help.

In addition to making your life easier, a customs broker can help you save money in a number of ways. Here’s a look at the top three money saving benefits of using a customs broker:

1. Saving Time on Paperwork

When you import or export items, there can be a lot of paperwork. Filling that out can be time consuming, and it can distract you from other aspects of running your business. By doing the paperwork for you, a customs broker helps you save time, which in the business world, equates to money.

2. Reducing Errors on Customs Paperwork

Custom brokers work with customs forms on a daily basis. As a result, they know how to fill out the forms with a minimum of mistakes or issues. In contrast, if you filled out the forms on your own and accidentally made a mistake, the items may be held up at the border. In some cases, the items may even be denied entry to the other country and be sent back to you.

Ultimately, that can slow order processing down significantly. It can also make clients unhappy, potentially increasing negative reviews online and leading to a dip in business. Finally, it may result in product returns. All of that can cost your business, but turning to a customs broker can help with some of those costs.

3. Handling Duty Payments

In many cases, when you are sending goods to another country, you may have to pay an import duty to that country. Additionally, if you are importing goods into Australia, you may have to pay duties on the products you bring in. In most, cases, the amount of the duty is a percentage based on the total value of the shipment.

A customs broker helps create a reasonable appraisal of your items. If necessary, they can negotiate with the customs officials to keep the appraisal relatively low so that the duties are also relatively low. These negotiations are another way that a customs broker helps to save your business money.

If you are a product seller who wants to import or export items to or from Australia, you may want to contact a customs broker. They can help you reduce hassles and save money along the way.


What Next for the Magic Box?

The humble shipping container has come a long way since its birth in the early 1900s. The brainchild of Scots-American industrialist Malcolm McLean, the modern intermodal shipping container (to give it its full title) has revolutionised global transport and ushered in an unprecedented era of efficiency in international shipping. With 90% of non-bulk goods now transported by container, the market has reached saturation, with ship sizes having reached the level at which they are limited in their activities by the size of port available to take them. 

With this, the most interesting thing about containers is perhaps what other uses are being found for them.

Anyone familiar with India and Central Asia can attest to the existence of the “TEU shop”. Containers, often stacked three high, become storefront, warehouse and office staples. Their robust construction lends a degree of security to the contents; given a robust enough padlock, a well-maintained container is virtually impenetrable. While slower to catch on in the West, some Internet-based entrepreneurs are making used shipping containers available at prices that make sense, depending on what you intend to do with the containers.

About $2800 will buy you a 20-foot-by-8-foot container that is used but still in good condition. Larger sizes are available, but for most this is the go-to unit. While overkill if you are looking for a garden shed, for storage of top-end tools or conversion to a mobile workshop (assuming, of course, that you have the means to transport it) a 20-foot unit could prove to be a good investment. 

Modern architecture, quick to take inspiration from industry, has found its own uses for second-hand units. From flat-pack homes that come delivered inside a single forty-foot unit to homes consisting of three or more units stacked and fitted out for modern living, the idea that your home and furniture might all arrive on the back of identical trucks, in identical boxes, is no longer as fanciful as it might seem.

Of course, containers have their drawbacks. Their steel construction is not suited to damp climates, and few people would call them things of beauty. You can beat on the side of one and hear the metallic clang echo from one end to another. If you try and get the doors to shut completely once a container has been in use for a few years, you will despair at the slight crack that is always left.

Shipping containers are far from perfect. If you have the imagination to think outside of the box, though, a shipping container might just be what you are looking for.

Know the Terminology When Working With a Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder is a type of shipping company that picks up freight at a location and takes it to its next or final destination; you often need a freight forwarder if you ship internationally, as they will pick up your freight at a dock or off the tarmac, or at the border if your original trucking company doesn’t deliver into certain countries. Then they deliver or forward your freight as needed. When choosing and working with a freight forwarder, it’s good to know the terminology of the industry so you know what to expect when it comes to how the buyer and seller both work to transport goods and pay for those costs.

1. Ex-Works

Ex-works, often abbreviated EXW, is when the buyer picks up certain goods at a location. This might be at the seller’s place of business but may also be at a border, on a shipyard, and the like. It’s good to understand when something is considered EXW because the freight then becomes the responsibility of the buyer at that point. You don’t want to be carrying cargo insurance for the freight or other costs that should be incurred by the buyer when freight is handled EXW.

2. Delivered at Terminal, Delivered at Place

Delivered at Terminal or DAT and Delivered at Place or DAP are somewhat different; the seller will deliver the goods to a terminal if they’re shipped DAT and will be responsible for storage, port charges, and the like, until the goods are then picked up by the buyer. Delivered at Place or DAP refers to the seller shipping the goods all the way until another end destination, such as the buyer’s warehouse or other depot or hub. 

If freight forwarding is referenced as DAP, the seller will need to understand that they will be expected to provide transport, cargo insurance, and all other provisions needed even after their goods go through a terminal, whereas the terminal is their last point of responsibility for goods delivered DAT.

3. Delivered Duty Paid

Delivered Duty Paid or DDP means that the seller is responsible for all international duties, import taxes, and other such costs for materials to actually cross a border. There is typically a named place of destination that accompanies freight DDP, so that all duties and import taxes are paid until the cargo reaches its final destination. This puts maximum responsibility and costs on a seller, so it’s vital that he or she understand the term when shipping internationally.