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Wrong Customs Broker … Maybe


The carrier has submitted your shipment documents to the Customs Broker, and the Customs Broker says you are not a client, so they will not clear your freight.


  1. The carrier advises us that we have given them the wrong Customs Broker, so the shipment cannot clear.
  2. We ask the carrier to confirm they sent the documentation to the Broker we told them to use (that solves the problem in 10% of the “wrong Broker” cases), and we find out who they spoke with.
  3. If the problem still persists, then either your Customs Broker is mistaken, or you are mistaken.
  4. We then call the Customs Broker to learn what the real problem is. It will almost always be one of the following:
    • The Customs Broker is right: they are not your Customs Broker, at least at this time, and / or for this shipment.
    • The Customs Broker used to clear for you, but someone, either you or they, terminated the arrangement.
    • The Customs Broker clears some of your freight (usually based on direction), but not all of your freight, and this shipment is outside their authority.
    • The Customs Broker does clear for you, but their records show you at a different address than the address on the paperwork, and they are only authorized to clear for you when the addresses match.
    • The Customs Broker does clear for you, but your arrangement is that you have to issue them a pre-authorization for some, or every, shipment(s), and you have not pre-authorized this shipment.
    • The Customs Broker does clear for you, but you are currently in arrears, so they have but your account on hold.
    • The Customs Broker does clear for you, but there is missing or inaccurate or incomplete paperwork, and the driver has mis-understood and mis-reported the problem.
    • The Customs Broker does clear for you, but whoever prepared the paperwork for the shipment put the name of a different Customs Broker on the paperwork, which prevents your Customs Broker from clearing your freight.
    • The Customs Broker wants to be your Customs Broker, and they and you have had conversations to that end, but you have not yet signed their contract and / or given them your Power of Attorney, so they cannot yet act for you.
  5. We will call you, since we cannot resolve any of these problems without your participation:
    • If they are not your Customs Broker, or are not your Customs Broker for this shipment, you will have to tell us who is your Customs Broker;
    • If they are your Customs Broker, but problem d), e), f), g) h) or i) applies, then a representative of your company who is named on the account and has the necessary authority will have to call the Customs Broker to clear the problem;
    • If the problem is to do with paperwork, we will ask that you call the Customs Broker, who may be able to resolve it over the phone with you, or who may need you to send them some revisions or additions. To prepare you for the call, we will give you the shipment particulars that your Customs Broker will need.


If we can reach you, then there is usually either a minor delay, or no delay at all.

If neither us not the Customs Broker are able to reach you, then the shipment will be delayed by at least a day, and there will usually be significant charges related to storing, cross-docking and/or bonding the freight, and re-routing or laying over the truck.


Copper Run and the carrier we source for your shipment have to rely on you for accurate information necessary to have the shipment clearance process prepared and initiated by your Customs Broker, so that they can submit it on your behalf to Customs for clearance. If the information you provide in incomplete, or inaccurate, or incorrect, then your Customs Broker cannot submit the shipment to Customs for clearance, and the freight is stuck.


About 50% of the time, we or your Customs Broker is able to reach you, the freight is almost always cleared within minutes.

The other 50% of the time, we are unable to reach you, and the freight is rarely cleared until at least the next day. Charges will start at $100, and can escalate to $500 or more.