Pre-Clearing Cargo

For people who have never shipped before, clearing through US Customs and Border Protection can seem rather intimidating even if they have nothing to hide. We have all heard horror stories about people getting arrested or otherwise detained because of improper documents or something similar. In reality there is nothing to be concerned about when clearing your international shipping cargo. US Customs clears up to one hundred thousand shipments through its borders every day. This is why they have established a system to pre-clear international cargo through customs before it is discharged from its ship or plane. This helps keep the flow of goods moving through to destination so it does not get caught in bottlenecks at the port or airport.

As long as you have your documents in order, your commercial invoice has the PO info, terms of sale and country of origin, your packing list has details of the cargo, and all other documents are in order, you should be able to have your cargo cleared five days before the vessel arrives if shipping via ocean or at “wheels up” for airfreight. If you do not want to pre-clear your cargo, there are always US Customs officials at the destination port to clear it. It just takes more time to get your cargo released for pickup. Either way you will need to present the same documents. Since most companies are concerned with transit times, especially with air cargo, pre-clearing can be a great benefit to shippers.