Sea Freight Customs Clearance

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Sea Freight Customs Clearance: The Must-Know Guide

All international sea freight shipments, regardless of imports or exports, must adhere to each country’s customs clearance requirements. Sea freight customs clearance is a customs formality that must be completed by an authorised customs broker in order to approve the entry or exit of specific commodities into or out of a country. This includes declaring specific data on the shipment being imported/exported as well as the people engaged in the procedure.

Below details are required for customs clearance:

  • Importer and exporter information
  • Import/export origin and destination
  • Country of import/export
  • Vessel details & container number
  • Number of packets, gross and net weight, volume, product description
  • Invoice value
  • HS Code
  • Some categories of commodities, such as medical or pharmaceutical products, may require examination. In some instances, you will additionally be required to produce certificates proving that the items have passed applicable controls.
  • Duties and SST to be paid (for imports) which will be generated with customs form

Who Is Responsible For Customs Clearance?

A customs broker is the party who assists the importer/exporter with customs declaration. We act as a neutral party to advise customers on shipment requirements and help customs officers by providing accurate import and export declaration data. 

As a reliable customs broker, we ensure that all imported and exported items meet all the regulations, laws and other requirements that are specified. We bridge communication  between customers and the customs department on import and export matters.

Customs Documents Required

Certain documents are essential in order to perform sea freight customs clearance:

  • Commercial Invoice – This document validates the trading transaction between the parties. The commercial invoice must include the fiscal data of both parties, a description of the cargo, the Incoterm under which the transaction is taking place, and the value of the cargo.
  • Packing list – supplied by the seller and is attached to the commercial invoice. It should provide information about the product (number and type of packages, weights, volume, etc.)
  • Bill of Lading – transport business issues the Bill of Lading, or B/L. It attests to the fact that the items have been placed onto the means of transportation. This document must be presented to the customs agent in its original form.
  • Depending on the type of item and/or destination country, you may be asked to provide additional documents e.g health certificate, COO, etc

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