US & International Tips
Here are some tips for both overseas and U.S. agents:
- With our participation on the IAM Commercial Affairs Committee, one of our focus items is the intensive exam procedures by the CBP (Customs and Border Protection). When the CBP orders an intensive exam, loss and damage can occur. These exams can be required on import and export shipments. IAM has been soliciting information on the issues our members face when shipments are selected for examinations by U.S. Customs through our Intensive Exam Survey. We presented the preliminary findings of our ongoing survey to CBP and expressed our goal of reducing damages and ancillary expenses for customers whose shipments are examined. Unfortunately, the CBP stated they do not actually have any control over the exam process beyond ordering it. As a result, forwarders should express their grievances to the port directors where the issue occurred. IAM is exploring the contracts CBP has with the port authorities to determine if this is, in fact, the case. In recognition of the value of a partnership with our industry, CBP officials agreed to hold quarterly meetings with IAM to facilitate an ongoing dialogue and work towards resolving these issues and any future ones that may crop up in the future.
- What can agents do to reduce the potential of causing an intensive exam? Some information suggests if the line item description on the inventory is more specific, rather than general, it can appear to customs the mover had more control of the items that were actually shipped. For example, instead of listing ‘clothes’, the agent should list ‘blouses, trousers, jeans, t-shirts, etc…’ or instead of using the word ‘kitchen items’, list ‘glassware, plastic cups, coffee mugs, etc.’ Although this does not guarantee a shipment will not be inspected, it can help.