Posted on December 1, 2021
Florham Park, New Jersey – The pandemic has changed many business processes. Importers need to be aware of several trends related to international sourcing and shipping that may have high financial exposure.
The unprecedented, record monthly volumes of container ships arriving into U.S. ports – is an example of the constantly changing business impact facing importers. Vessel ETA’s that change daily can create havoc on an importer’s customs brokerage activities. Maersk Customs Services USA system updates ETA’s so that customers can perform real-time business planning and can access reports to manage their supply chain – future versions will include AI tools to provide enhanced predictive modeling. This helps clients project financial risk in terms of what they have in transit, at the port and what is Customs cleared.
CBP continues to focus on overseas vendors and ensuring that importers have strong internal controls over their manufacturing process. Right when an importer receives the good news that a vessel with their cargo has docked at a U.S. port – they may get a notification from CBP that the shipment will be detained for inspection and supplier documentation is requested, which adds further delay and cost to the supply chain. “We advise importers to know your supply chain in detail with your vendors. That means know your vendors’ vendor and then know their vendors as well because CBP is looking at sourcing patterns and all downstream countries involved in the manufacturing process. You need to be able to demonstrate that due diligence to get cargo released,” said Melinda Damico, a licensed Customs House Broker and Head of Client Services for Maersk Customs Services USA. The company uses the combined expertise from their Trade Services and Client Services specialists to support clients in this process.
We advise importers to know your supply chain in detail with your vendors. That means know your vendors’ vendor and then know their vendors as well because CBP is looking at sourcing patterns and all downstream countries involved in the manufacturing process. You need to be able to demonstrate that due diligence to get cargo released.
As the supply chain has taken center stage in many importers quarterly results during the pandemic – more insight and reporting are needed for CEOs and CFO’s to answer the operational exposure and financial risk within their supply chain. “We see C-suite level executives requesting a dashboard view of duties paid that quarter, highest value vendors, most used Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) codes and countries of origin for that quarter. And, it’s needed in the snap of a finger,” added Ms. Damico. Maersk Customs Services USA uses a cloud-based system that updates info in real-time and gives this dashboard view in a clear, actionable format.
As we near the year’s end and start of a new year, tariffs change. In fact, every five years, there is a large tariff shift. In 2022, a large tariff shift will occur on numerous commodities as part of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) normal business practice. Importers would be wise to check on their financial risk and mitigation strategies as many HTS numbers will be eliminated. Maersk Customs Services USA uses a real-time system that shows this data as well as a process of monthly business reviews and quarterly business reviews as a proven method to ensure both parties manage the business effectively.
The pandemic has challenged every company’s business model. Ms. Damico remarked “The pandemic taught us to build in resilience everywhere in the supply chain and be prepared. Trust in your partners is critical.”
Maersk Customs Services USA works with companies to ensure their international business is Customs compliant and they can manage the financial risk and opportunities associated with global shipments. Services include Customs Services, Trade Consulting, Duty Drawback Services, Digital Services and Project Services with a team of 40 licensed U.S. Customs Brokers and the expertise of former U.S. Customs and Border Protection leaders and staff. For European-based companies, Customs Services are offered through sister company KGH Customs.