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What’s Really in Your Imported Shipment?

By: Simon Kaye, CEO, Jaguar Freight
Posted: April 14, 2009

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The Lacey Act imposes civil and criminal penalties for failure to comply, and unlawful plants or products are subject to seizure and forfeiture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has the lead in compliance enforcement, working with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Justice, and many other agencies. Because declarations are filed electronically rather than as paper forms, it would be wise for any cosmetics producer to consult a freight forwarding expert as well as legal counsel to determine, when, how and how soon compliance is required.

The Forwarder’s Edge

It should be apparent from this discussion that, whether the issue is bills of lading or customs and regulatory compliance, a freight forwarder should be intimately familiar with the technical requirements. Equally important is the forwarder’s knowledge of Incoterms, with a demonstrated ability to define the exporting seller’s and importing buyer’s obligations regarding carriage, risks and costs, and to establish advantageous terms of transport and delivery. The forwarders who use sophisticated on-line tracking technology offer a distinct advantage in compiling bills of lading and documenting compliance with the Lacey Act and other regulations. Simply by entering a purchase order number it is generally possible to see the whole picture in as much depth as required. From shipment details to data as "granular" as pallet numbers and quantities and identities of individual pieces, shippers and customs agents get detailed information virtually at any stage of shipment.

The electronic tracking and documentation systems used by sophisticated freight forwarders are the comprehensive solution that enables companies to produce verified information on shipment status to meet all customs and security requirements. The resulting visibility and transparency in essence creates a computerized trace back system that provide an integrated information exchange platform that can be used across the supply chain, enabling information to be retrieved at any stage once a product has been shipped. Cosmetics producers are well advised to rely on freight forwarding guides who know how to improve throughput, navigate problems and deal with security and customs regulators.

Simon Kaye is Founder and CEO of Jaguar Freight Services, which operates offices in London, New York, Philadelphia, Paris Brussels and Hong Kong and an operations network in Europe, North America, South America, Australasia, Asia, Middle East and Africa. He can be reached at 1-516-239-1900 or simon@jaguarfreight.com.