911 Help

Find out how we can help you with resolving claims, shortages, damage and loss

Customs Broker Can’t Process Documents


The carrier has submitted your shipment documents to your Customs Broker, and your Broker says that they are not authorized to process your documents.


  1. The carrier advises us that your Customs Broker will not process your shipment.
  2. We ask the carrier who they spoke with, and how exactly they described the reason(s) they would not process.
  3. We call the Customs Broker, and learn that you have set your account up with your Customs Broker in such a way as to require that they receive, from an authorized person in your office, a separate pre-authorization in advance of each clearance. He problem is that no-one in your office remembered to send the pre-authorization for this particular shipment.
  4. We will call you, and tell you that nothing can happen until an authorized person transmits a written authorization to your Customs Broker that instructs them to proceed with the clearance.
    a. Your Customs Broker will not clear your shipment;
    b. Although they will not tell us directly, we have very good reason to believe that the reason is that you owe them money that they think is overdue;
    c. You will have to call them to confirm the problem, and how to resolve it;
    d. The person who can release your account only works 9 – 5, Monday to Friday;
    e. As a result, your freight will not clear today, it may not clear tomorrow, and it will be held at least until your account is released;
    f. There will be significant charges for freight handling and storage and truck diversion and delay;
    g. We may require that both these additional charges and the freight charges be paid before the shipment is moved any further.
  5. We will ask you how long you expect it will take to provide such an authorization, and ask that let us know when such an authorization has been sent to your Customs Broker.
  6. We will advise the carrier regarding how long you expect the authorization delay to be, we will ask the carrier whether they can wait, or will have to proceed without your shipment. We will then let you know what is planned for you shipment.
  7. Once you have resolved the problem with your Customs Broker and they have agreed to clear the freight, we will prepare a revised delivery plan, which may involve a new carrier and/or new documents, and an estimate of the additional handling and delay charges.


There will always be a border delay of at least one hour, there may be a delivery delay of a day or more, and there will always be extra charges.


You may well have very good reasons for using your Custom Broker’s individual shipment authorization plan to control and protect your shipments. But if you do use that plan, then you have to remember to provide that authorization, in a timely fashion, every time it is needed.

And remember, sometimes you will have a shipment when the person who is tasked with providing the authorization happens to be ill or on vacation: who is their back-up, and how does the back-up know when to step up?


A delay of at least 1 day, and situation-driven charges between $200 and $1,000.