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No After-Hours Service

ISSUE

The shipment was loaded in the evening or on a weekend and will arrive at the border soon, but you do not have after-hours Customs Broker service.

Why not?  Either:

  • your Customs Broker does not offer after-hours service, or,
  • you have declined the option pay the fee that enables you to to use their after-hours service.

ACTION

  1. It is after-hours, and the carrier has just called to advise us that the Customs Broker is closed, or is open but has been instructed not to clear your shipment until the next weekday morning.
  2. A) If your Customs Broker is closed, we will discuss the options facing the carrier:
    • Off-load the freight at an en route warehouse;
    • Wait at the border until the Customs Broker will clear the freight;
    • Put the freight In Bond.

    Based on the circumstances, we will attempt to reach you to explain and obtain guidance regarding the options.  If we cannot reach you, we will select an option.

    We will instruct the carrier regarding the choice of options.

    We will send you an e-mail and/or telephone message describing what we have decided, what the carrier is able to do, and, if we know, what the approximate delay will be and how the charges will be calculated.

    B) If your Customs Broker is open but you have de-selected after hours service, we will attempt to reach you in case you wish to revise the arrangement with your Customs Broker.

    If we cannot reach you quickly, we will revert to option A) above.

    If we can reach you, and you wish to re-instruct your Customs Broker, we will proceed as below.

  3. We confirm that you can call your Customs Broker immediately, and that you will let us know whether they will provide an after-hours clearance for the shipment in question.
  4. We will advise the carrier that you are attempting to have the shipment cleared, and ask them to be patient.
  5. We will next call the Customs Broker, and ask that they call the carrier when the clearance has been submitted.

EXPLANATION

Trans-Border trucking is a 24/7 endeavour.  Many of the services that customers have come to expect, such as next day delivery within 500 miles, are only possible if trucks, and all of their supporting services such as food, fuel, roadside repairs and government services such as Customs and Special Permits, are available 24/7.

In fact, the cost environment details, and therefore the competitive pricing structures, are based on being able to choose to operate at all hours of the day, night, and week.  Even the strict restrictions on commercial drivers’ hours allow some flexibility in choosing when to start the driver’s workday, and in the management of the distribution of driving hours throughout the workday.

To restrict the hours during which Customs clearance is available creates an artificial barrier to the provision of normal services, and to cost management and control.  It also directly and irretrievably reduces the driver’s productivity and paycheck by the miles that would have been travelled and the wages that would have been earned during the time spent waiting for a clearance.

In recognition of the characteristics of the trucking industry, many Customs Brokers offer 24/7 clearance services as part of their standard service package.  Since trucking operations go on all night and all weekend, and travel times can be unpredictable and uncontrollable due to variable highway conditions and weather, selection of a Customs Broker package that offers limited hours of service will almost assuredly lead to significant delays and additional costs for some shipments.

IMPACT & TYPICAL RESOLUTION

A) If you are able to obtain an after-hours clearance, the delay will be only 1 – 3 hours, and the charges will usually be less than $300.
B) If you are unable to obtain an-after hours clearance, then the freight will either be held at the border or put In Bond to an Inland Sufferance Warehouse or to the carrier’s bonded compound, delivery of the freight will be delayed by 1 – 3 days, and the charges assessed will be between $100 and $1000.

Typically, the freight is put In Bond and taken to a Sufferance Warehouse or approved Customs compound.  The fees for this fall in the $200 to $600 range.