Customs Examination (Part 2)

If you followed my previous post, Types of Customs examinations, you will know that last week one of my company’s containers was pulled aside for a customs examination. This is an extremely frustrating part of importing as the end-result of these examinations is normally either a) a big invoice or b) a bigger invoice.

The freight forwarder in charge of this shipment issued us the invoice and it was as follows:

Charges for a 20' Container Examination

Charges for a 20′ Container Examination

You’ll notice not only were we charged for the actual examination of the container, we were also charged for the moving of the container, various “in/out” charges from the port of Vancouver, and of course, the obligatory “admin fee” (which we were actually charged for twice). Adding to the frustration, you normally get five days to pick up a container. Common sense would say that this five days should begin after the examination (as you can’t pick up the container prior to this) but every day in examination counts against this.

Keep in mind, this examination was completely random and they found nothing improper with the shipment and we were still invoiced for this.

If you read my previous blog post you will also know that initially I was told this was a simple “dock side” exam but this was the much more intrusive CEF exam. My initial suspicion I was misinformed about this being a dock side exam.

Long story short, an importer likely has cause to resent the customs examination process a great deal. However, currently, it is what it is, and it’s one of those inevitable costs of being an importer.


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