The benefits of end-to-end customs clearance

If you’re an importer or an exporter, you know the importance of getting your import or export clearance done accurately, on time, and in a compliant manner. But what about when your trading partner’s nominated customs clearance agent isn’t able to provide the same service as yours? Find out why and how you can improve the efficiency of your supply chain with end-to-end customs clearances in this article.

What does end-to-end customs clearance mean?


End-to-end customs clearance means you use one agent to fulfil the export clearance at origin, and the import clearance at the destination. The export agent notifies their partner at destination of the shipment and provides them with all of the documentation. This removes the need for the import agent to wait for the docs to be sent from origin to the importer, and helps to prevent scenarios where your goods are at the border whilst the clearance agent is chasing for documentation.

Furthermore, your import customs agent can check all the documentation is present and correct ahead of time. Throughout Brexit and the ongoing changes to customs regulations throughout the UK and Europe, traders have been caught unaware of documentation requirements that have cost them money. Using an end-to-end customs clearance agent helps to protect your trade and prevents tough conversations with your partners about who is responsible for them.

Who should use end-to-end customs clearance agents?

Unless you are using the DDP INCOTERM, the buyer is responsible for the import customs clearance. However, many sellers using the DAP INCOTERM include a nominated end-to-end customs clearance when delivering to the final destination with their partnered freight forwarder (and add the cost into the price of the goods accordingly). This is often the same agent with whom your House Bill of Lading needs to be lodged with.

No matter which level (E, F, C, or D) of INCOTERM you use, you can benefit from bringing an end-to-end clearance agent into your trading partnership. You will:

  • Remove the need to send documents multiple times (from export agent, to exporter, to buyer, to import agent).
  • Protect the quality and completeness of those documents as multiple scans risk blurring and omitted paperwork.
  • Save time and hassle chasing any additional information.
  • Ensure that the import agent is aware of the goods before they get to the border.
Additionally, you’ll create a secondary point of contact for checking the status of an order as the agent will be with the shipment until it has cleared the other side.

Want to connect your clearances between the UK and EU?

Universal Customs Clearance provide end-to-end customs clearance between the UK and Europe, as well as GVMS and T1 form services so that we can keep your business moving through borders without delay. If you’re experiencing breakdowns in communication, delays, or noncompliance between your customs agents, contact us to find out how we can help streamline this process for you today.


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