Shippers becoming more vigilant in managing custom brokers

by Canadian Shipper

TORONTO, Ont. — The new Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) security enhancement policy mandating carriers use line release customs clearance which came into affect on April 1st has been implemented to date without major disruptions to the Windsor Detroit crossing, according to the Ontario Trucking Association.

The OTA says thats due in part to the hard work of OTA members educating their customers on ways to eliminate border delays due to failed PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System) transactions.

Following the CBSA announcement indicating that failed PARS shipments would be returned to the US, the OTA Board developed a position regarding CBSA enforcement of this policy and a communication strategy targeting shippers who utilize under performing custom brokers.

While the trucking industry can partially share in the blame for this problem, experience has shown that PARS failures are also often the result of customs brokers not filing entries in a timely manner, according to the OTA.

OTA put together a communication campaign for the carriers to educate their shippers on the need to utilize high performing custom brokers, and based on a recent survey of the membership the shipping industry is responding, said OTA president David Bradley

The OTA survey found that after carriers met with their customers to explain the issue of a poor performing brokers impact on their operations shippers began making changes with regards to their management and selection of custom brokers.

“Historically failed PARS transactions at the Detroit-Windsor crossing saw upwards of 400- 500 trucks per day being referred to the offsite inspection facility.

Carriers can not afford increased costs associated with this new policy. Failed PARS due to inadequate broker service levels will result in everyones costs increasing. Those shippers who choose not to manage the performance of their custom broker are risking the exposure of their freight to significant border delays and increased costs from their transportation suppliers, added Bradley

CBSA, at the request of OTA, is providing those carriers who arrive with failed PARS transactions with documentation outlining the time and date when their vehicle was returned to the United States. OTA is hopeful that trucking companies will be able to utilize this document with their customers to discuss levels of compensation for lost driver and equipment productivity for vehicles being returned to the United States with their freight on-board.

Carriers interested in providing their customers with a checklist of variables they can use in selecting a high performing custom broker, please see below:

Checklist for Selecting a Custom Broker
A custom broker should not be treated as a commodity. A good custom broker can ensure your freight is moved across the border by your carrier in a timely manner. Choosing a custom broker based solely on price may create significant delays in your product being received by either US or Canadian customers. The following are selection criteria that should be utilized in selecting a custom broker:

Uses EDI;
Provides 24/7 service , either directly or through a sub-agent;
Has Web site and/or toll free phone number available for carriers/dispatch/drivers to check status of shipments prior to arrival at port of entry;
Communicates with Importer of Record, shipper, vendor, etc. to encourage and facilitate obtaining proper documents to prepare customs clearance well in advance of arrival at port of entry;
Committed to high quality of data submitted to CBSA/OGD to reduce the number of administrative rejects and unnecessary delays in processing;
Committed to technology improvements required to keep pace with latest custom requirements;
Employs experienced personnel, with CCSs (Certified Customs Specialists) on staff;
Has contingency plans in place to avoid delays in processing in the case of system outages, etc;
Broker is willing and able to give references.

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data