Understanding Customs Clearance Costs

Understanding Customs Clearance CostsAs is the case with International Freight Forwarding Costs, there are a myriad of fees being charged by the customs broking companies.

Apart from the universally accepted Agency Fee which represents the professional service fee to determine the correct duty rate, to create and lodge the customs entry and to coordinate the delivery of the goods to the importers premises there are many other charges to consider when trying to compare the overall cost of customs clearance.

Other charges may include:

  • Additional Line Fees – most agency fees include 3 to 5 unique tariff lines within the base agency fee but when additional duty classifications are required an extra fee for each additional classification may apply
  • Additional Supplier Fees – most agency fees include one supplier per import entry but when more than one supplier has been included on the same Airway Bill or Bill Of Lading an extra fee for each supplier may apply
  • Quarantine Compliance Fees – the charge for making a quarantine entry on behalf of the importer
  • Record Retention Fees – a fee for filing and storing shipping documentation on behalf of the importer
  • Postage And Petties – a fee to cover import document and invoice postage costs and miscellaneous administration costs
  • Disbursement Fee – If the service provider is paying freight, duty or GST on the importers behalf they will normally raise a disbursement invoice for these amounts. Some companies charge a fee, usually a % of the disbursement invoice value, to cover the costs of creating the invoice and to cover the financing of the debt prior to payment.
  • Cartage Charges – the cost of picking up and transporting the shipment from the wharf, airport or de-consolidation point to the importers premises or other nominated location. Cartage charges will usually also attract a Fuel Surcharge (FSC) to cover the costs of fuel price fluctuations

In addition to the above mentioned service charges, the relevant regulatory bodies such as the Australian Border Force (ABF) (formerly known as the Australian Customs Service (ACS)) and the Australian Biosecurity Service (formerly know as Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)) will levy a series of mandatory fees in order to recoup the costs associated with processing customs and quarantine entries.

Once again it is important to ensure that all of these variations are understood and are taken into account when comparing the fees charged by customs brokers and calculating the total import cost of a shipment.


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