Since a shelf life time issue is at stake with perishables, it is obvious that the quicker they can be shipped and received, the better. Even when shipping them domestically, there are agricultural regulations that can slow the process, but even more so when being imported, since they have to go through many more inspections by various US government agencies.
Instead of buying single-entry bonds for Customs, get an annual bond. It will save you money and show that you are an established importer that expects to be around a long time as an importer.
Becoming a member of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program will help to have cargo released more quickly, and saves on the number of inspections required before your shipment is released.
If you are late filing your Importer Security Filings, you are most likely being charged up to $5,000 in fees and penalties. Work to get those in on time to save that wasted money.
Assure that the carrier of your product is properly loading them for airflow; lack of airflow can be the cause of thousands of dollars worth of useless perishables when received. Also, be sure they pack all perishables properly in the ocean container or domestic trailer, since damage is very common due to products shifting in transit.
Make sure that all pallets being used are properly marked and meet all of the USDA's regulations. If you assure that the treatment stamps on the pallets and cartons are clearly visible when the doors are first opened, it makes for easier inspections. If it is not clearly visible, it can cause the cargo to be marked for stripping, and will lead to more wasted time, and possibly even rejected shipments if the pallet is not in compliance.
If possible, include all of your commodities on a single USDA import permit, which will save you time and money over against having to file multiple separate permits.
These are just a few money and time saving tips that people in the field have shared to make the job more efficient. If you have other tips, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Jeff McCormack resides in Virginia Beach, VA. where he works as a web designer by day. In his off time he is a husband, father, mail order book store manager, and musician. Aside from being a freelance writer for this Logistics Jobsite blog, he also seeks to assist in career choices and information by contributing to other Nexxt blog sites.
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