If you’re looking to trade internationally, one of the main questions you may have is, ‘How long does customs clearance take?’. When factoring in the logistics of this new venture, you’ll want to be able to offer exceptional shipping times to your customers with the confidence that you can deliver. International shipment presents a unique range of challenges here but still offers a viable option for ambitious companies. Read on to learn how long, on average, customs clearance will take and how to avoid any delays here.
What is the average lead time?
The time it takes for your parcel to pass through customs will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Destination country.
- Type of cargo.
- No. of parcels moving through customs at the same time.
In general, you can expect most cargo to pass through customs in between 12 – 24 hours. When planning on the lead times presented to your customers, the maximum delay should be taken into account. This will minimise disappointment and help maintain high levels of customer service throughout their buying journey.
What causes delays?
Most of the delays you can expect come from easily avoidable circumstances. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons.
Incorrectly filled-in documents
Even the smallest mistake on a form can cause significant delays to a shipment. This is largely due to the demands placed on customs officers – they have so many parcels to get through, incorrectly filled forms get pushed to one side to speed through those with correct information.
Incorrect licenses for products
Many products require very specific import/export licences and a Certificate of Origin to ensure they are allowed into the destination country. A respectable freight forwarding company will take care of this.
You need to make sure products are described properly on Customs Declarations and have all correct values filled in. Normally, this information is incorrect due to lack of experience which is where a specialist company can help.
If you’re sending goods categorised as hazardous, you need to make sure these are appropriately marked. Clear information needs to be provided to help these products pass through the specialist customs process.
How to avoid delays through customs
Trust in your freight forwarder
Partnering with a trustworthy freight forwarding company is one of the best ways to avoid delays through customs. They will be on hand to help you fill in all documents properly, ensuring you don’t provide incorrect or false information and have all the paperwork needed to speed your product through easily.