A Customs Clearance is an electronic transmission sent by a customs broker to U.S. Customs & Border Protection to release cargo into the commerce of the USA. In order to obtain this release of your goods into the country, information about your shipment is submitted to the government for their release. Duties and fees are due and paid as a result of the release of the merchandise. Payment is due prior to delivery, unless terms have been arranged prior to release.
Every port in every country around the world puts your cargo through a customs clearance process.
The rules, regulations, and laws are a bit different from country to country, sometimes from port to port within a country, making someone who specializes in customs clearance very important to a shipper exporting and importing goods.
These specialists are called customs brokers and the work they do is called customs brokerage.
Having the wrong person handle your customs brokerage can be very problematic. Cargo takes terminal space or is warehoused as they go through customs clearance. Warehousing and storage fees can add up quickly. If there is a problem with your customs brokerage and your customs clearance does not happen smoothly, your shipping costs could go up by hundreds to thousands of dollars.
On top of these costs, the delay in getting your shipping containers released to you because of customs clearance problems could cost your business more money because the arrival of your shipment is delayed.