Shipping & Documentation


The Role of Customs Brokers

    The customs broker:

  • Acts as an agent for importers for activities involving transactions with the customs service concerning the entry and admissibility of merchandise, its classification and valuation and payment of duties and other charges assessed by customs,
  • A customs broker can be an individual, partnership or corporation licensed by the US Treasury.


Importers are required to comply with the domestic labeling laws. Imports must comply with the labeling laws of the importing country.  Labeling requirements are imposed in many countries to assure proper handling or  to identify shipments.  Exporters need to be aware of certain labeling requirements in order to avoid unnecessary delays in shipping:

The cartons or containers to be shipped must be labeled with:  shipper’s mark, or purchase order number, country of origin, weight in both pounds and kilograms, the number of packages, handling instructions, final destination and port of entry and whether the package contains hazardous material. Markings should appear on three faces of the container.  It is also advisable to repeat the instructions in the language of the country of destination.

Under the U.S. Clean Air Act (amended in 1990), all products containing ozone depleting substances are required to be labeled. More detailed and specific regulations can be obtained from freight forwarders since they keep track of changing labeling laws  in various countries.


            Merchandise should be packed in strong containers, adequately sealed and filed with the weight evenly distributed.  Goods should be packed on pallets if possible, to ensure greater ease in handling and should be made of moisture resistant material. Packing must be done in a manner as to assure safe arrival of the merchandise and facilitate its handling in transit and place of destination.  Insufficient packing not only results in delay in the delivery of the goods but will also entitle the customer to reject the goods or claim damages. Export products must be packed to comply with the laws of the importing country.  For example, Australia and New Zealand  prohibit the use of straw or rice husk as packaging materials. The United Nations has adopted standards for packaging hazardous materials and provides for training of personnel, use of internationally accepted standards and certain other conditions. Freight forwarders and marine insurance companies can advise on packaging.