Understanding the Custom Clearing Process for Ocean Freights


The supply chain management on international waters is a bit tougher than it is normally. The CBP holds a sturdy check on what goes in and what goes out. So here is our guide for you to refer to and have the processes completed, smoothly.

The Clearance Process

This process varies in ocean shipping depending on the goods to be transported and their quantity. Your management of the supply chain can heavily affect the process. The process consists of a few of the below-mentioned steps:

  • The shipper is going to upload the commercial invoice bearing every detail.
  • Customs partner or ClearitUSA fba is going to confirm the details and tally them.
  • The customs partner is going to review the products.
  • They will then file the CBP and the release hold forms.
  • The duties owed will then be cleared.
  • The documents tab of your shipment will bear the cleared forms of 3461 and 7501.

There are four documents that the CBP requires before the transit is cleared. These are:

  • Arrival Notice- This is a piece of document that bears all the necessary information about the shipment. This includes a master bill of lading, house bill of lading, consignee, shipper, destination, and transit number.
  • House Bill of Lading- This is a clear contract made between the forwarder and the shipper. The freight forwarder is in charge of issuing this document. The document clarifies that the forwarder has received the goods that will be put into transit service shortly.
  • Packing List- This is a document that must be as detailed as possible. The SKU levels of the commodities are specified here with information covering the unit counts, weights, or any other additional details that the customs must know.
  • Commercial Invoice- This piece of document is a great necessity as it will be advising upon the exact costs incurred and the number of duties to be paid will get reflected here.

There will be a few exams taking place too like that of:

  • Vacis Exam/ X-Ray- This is the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System and is one of the most common types of customs exams for checking the goods in the container.
  • TailGate Exam- This undergoes scanning the back of the cargos.
  • Intensive Exams– This checks for the presence of narcotics, drugs, weapons, importer documents, and tax payments.

The examination and the clearance process takes quite a lot of time but partnering with the right firm with the right set of knowledge can help you go past it easily.

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