AIR EXPRESS SHIPMENT VS REGULAR SHIPMENTS
Any “regular” Air or Ocean Cargo shipment of any value requires the services of a Customs Broker. Air Express Courier shipments sent via DHL, FEDEX, or UPS are different. Customs has special regulations for them where they are allowed to clear entire mass quantities of shipments under their own name and Customs bond.
They simply move too many parcels for Customs to be able to clear every single one. Therefore, they are authorized to clear shipments that are on one cargo manifest of low-risk up to values of their own discretion. If you have cargo shipping directly to Amazon FBA via Air Express Courier, unfortunately, we cannot handle your clearance for a variety of reasons. But if you are intending to ship by “regular” Air or Ocean cargo, we can offer you our Freight Forwarding/Shipping services and/or Customs Brokerage services.
DUTY RATE & TAXES
Once we have the details about your product(s), we will provide you with the tariff code and applicable duty rate. In addition to any duty, there are usually 2 taxes you must normally pay for shipments valued over $2500
MERCHANDISE PROCESSING FEE (MPF) AND HARBOR MAINTENANCE FEE (HMF)
A MPF of 0.3464% (minimum charge is $25, maximum $485) and a HMF (no min or max) of 0.125% which are assessed against the commercial invoice value in U.S. dollars. Shipments valued more than $200 but less than $2500 will have a minimum MPF of $2.00 and a maximum of $9.00. There is no HMF applicable to shipments sent by Air Cargo including Express Courier shipments.
CUSTOMS CLEARANCE TIME AND IN-TRANSIT TIME
Under normal circumstances (without any exams), we must allow Customs 48 – 72 hours to clear a shipment although it’s usually shorter than that.
Please bear in mind, however, that there is always the possibility of a Customs exam which will not only delay Customs clearance by several days but any exam related charges will be the responsibility of the Importer of Record. Therefore, exact charges will be unknown until your shipment actually clears Customs.
INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT/SHIPPING QUOTE
You and your supplier will agree to the terms of sale. If the cost of shipping is not included in the cost of the goods, then you must arrange to have your cargo shipped to the U.S. Please provide the following additional information if you require an international shipping quote:
Mode of transportation:
If FOB , please name the port of loading
If Ex-works, please provide the factory/supplier address
Total Number of Cartons
Dimensions of each carton
Weight of each carton
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN MARKING
U.S. Customs laws require that articles produced abroad and imported into the United States are marked with the English name of the country of origin to inform the end user in the United
States the country of manufacture or production. Articles must have these markings at time of import. It is also required that the marking be located in a visible place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the article permits. Some exceptions apply.
Please refer to the Customs website for additional information
IMPORTER SECURITY FILING (ISF) – Required for Ocean Cargo Only
At least 24 hours prior to the vessel’s departure from origin, the importer is responsible (via their customs broker) to file an ISF. This filing provides information to Customs regarding the impending import shipment. There is specific data that needs to be transmitted and your Customs Broker is the most ideal party to handle this transaction. If the filing is late, misfiled, or not filed at all, then the importer will be penalized a minimum of $5,000 (max $10,000). Customs requires that all ocean import shipments have an ISF filing whether or not it is late.Otherwise, your shipment will not clear Customs.
A late filing or non-filing of ISF also guarantees that Customs will examine your shipment. If your supplier will be arranging the shipping, you will be required to forward to us the ISF details. This information is obtained from your supplier along with his shipping agent. If you choose to use our Freight Forwarding services, our overseas agent will assist in collecting the ISF data and forward it to us. We just ask that you ensure your supplier cooperates with the agent in providing any requested information. Either way, we require the ISF information at least 72 hours prior to the vessel’s departure in case the shipping date falls on a weekend and/or if there are any problems that need to be addressed. You would get these from your supplier and/or the shipping agent. You can forward the attached form for their completion. They may also have their own format which is fine. It doesn’t matter how we receive the information as long as we receive them in time.
CUSTOMS BOND REQUIREMENT – required for all Formal Entries (values of more than $2500) – for air or ocean cargo and for all ISF Filings (ocean only)
Customs requires that a bond be posted with every ISF and Customs Entry to ensure that all duties, taxes, and fees owed to the federal government will be paid. An Annual Continuous Bond can be purchased for $500 (through us) and it will cover both your ISF filings and Customs Entries. Having a continuous bond also reduces our ISF filing fee by $25. If you choose not to purchase a continuous bond, you have the option of purchasing Single Entry Bonds for ISF filings and Customs entries. This can become quite costly especially if your shipment value is high or is subject to other government regulations such as FDA. Furthermore, the bonding companies only allow a maximum of 5 Single Entry Bonds for ISF before the importer is required to purchase a Continuous Bond. You would be saving money in the long run.
However, if you are planning to import only once, then a Single Entry Bond might work better for you. You can find a bond application here A bond application is not required for Single Entry Bonds. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IF YOU APPLY FOR AN ANNUAL BOND, WE WILL SEND YOU AN INVOICE FOR PAYMENT WHICH WILL BE DUE UPON RECEIPT AND IS NON-REFUNDABLE. Therefore, please apply only if you are certain you would like an Annual Bond.
On the Bond Application, please complete the Applicant Information Section (Company Name, Type – Corporation, Address, Phone/Fax#, Contact info.), the number of years you’ve been in business, and the Merchandise Information – particularly how much you imported last year (if applicable) and how much you intend to import this year. An estimate is fine…..it does not have to be exact figures. Please list the different types of products and their respective countries of origin, if known. At the bottom of the first page, an officer of the company must sign and date the form and then on the second page, an officer must date and sign the form at the bottom where appropriate. A witness must also sign. Finally, the same officer must sign the Indemnitor’s field at the bottom of page 2. We can help you complete the rest of the application.
FBA PREPPING SERVICES/FORWARDING TO AMAZON / ORDER FULFILLMENT
We do not quote directly to Amazon FBA without first stopping at our warehouse. We have discovered that it only creates delays and more expenses for the Amazon Seller to do otherwise. We will segregate your cargo if they are assigned to separate locations or ship them to one location as needed – on pallets or as Small Parcel packages.
Once your cargo is here, we can ship in one of three options:
1) By UPS Small Parcel – you provide to us the prepaid UPS Labels and FBA Labels which we apply to the cartons and dispatch
2) By LTL truck using a UPS partnered carrier – we palletize your cartons at our warehouse, you provide us with the Pallet Labels (4 per pallet) and arrange pick up from our warehouse with the carrier.
3) By LTL truck using our appointed trucker - we palletize your cartons at our warehouse, you provide us with the Pallet Labels (4 per pallet) and we arrange for our carrier to deliver to Amazon.
When creating your Shipping Plan, please use our address as the Ship-From address in order to be assigned the most optimal FBA(s) location(s). Most likely, you were assigned the Ruskin, Florida location because you used your supplier’s address as the Ship-From address. If you decide to keep your Shipping Plan as is, then I would suggest routing to our East Coast warehouse.
Our address on the West Coast is: 11605 Pike St. Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Our address on the East Coast is: 1578 Sussex Turnpike, Building #4 Randolph, NJ 07869
FORMS AND EIN NUMBER/IMPORTER NUMBER
Should you choose to hire CCB as your Customs Broker, we would require you to complete a Power of Attorney and General Account information sheets. Please note the Power of Attorney and General Account information sheet must be signed by an officer of the company (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer or Managing Member of an LLC, or Managing Director for Foreign Corporations). Please complete the forms with the name under which you intend to import. If you are not going to import under your Amazon Seller’s account name, do not complete the forms as such.
Please provide us with your Amazon Seller name for our records if it is different from the name on our forms.
If you are an individual or Sole Proprietor and will be importing under your Name, please send a copy of your government issued I.D. such as a driver’s license or a passport. Once we receive your completed forms, we will request from Customs to assign you an 11-digit number which will serve as your Importer Number. Please note that digital/electronic signatures are not accepted. Therefore, you must fill out the forms online (or print them and fill out manually), print, sign and return by email or fax. As a foreign importer, you do not need n EIN number for Customs Import purposes. You may need one as a seller on Amazon for State Tax purposes.
U.S. Customs does allow foreign companies to act as Foreign Importers of Record as long as they have an Ultimate Consignee in the U.S. In your case, we will act as your Ultimate Consignee as long as you use our FBA Prep/FBA Forwarding Services. Customs regulations states: “If the merchandise has not been sold or consigned to a U.S. party at the time of entry or release, then the ultimate consignee at the time of entry or release is defined as the proprietor of the U.S premises to which the merchandise is to be delivered.”
WHICH FORMS SHOULD YOU RETURN?
Please complete, print, manually sign and return:
Customs Power of Attorney Form
General Account Form
Individuals and Sole Proprietors ONLY: please send a copy of a government issued ID such as a Driver’s License or Passport Completed and Signed Bond Application for Annual Bonds ONLY; Do not return the application if you are purchasing a Single Entry Bond. Please refer to the Bond Application Instructions above for Annual Bonds