Before any product or shipment can be brought into the United States, it must first pass through Customs. The Customs Department helps to control the amount of contraband and other illegal items that come into the country on a regular basis. Certain items are allowed to be brought into the country after a tariff or tax has been paid.
Companies who ship products around the world, especially those who ship to the United States, understand that each shipment must go through a form of “Custom’s” check when they enter a country. The bill of lading is thoroughly reviewed, the contents of the shipment are inspected to ensure each item is what is listed in the manifest and bill of lading. If a tariff or import/export tax is due, it must be paid before the shipment can be released.
If, for some reason, something is wrong with the paperwork associated with the shipment or the product is illegal for some reason, the entire shipment may be confiscated until a thorough investigation can be performed. Depending on the size of the shipment, its origins and the nature of the problem, the delay can be lengthy, sometimes as long as several weeks or months.
To ensure a shipment will not be delayed, it is extremely important that all of the paperwork be in order and the product meets or exceeds any standards that may be put in place by the port that is receiving the product. Insurance should also be purchased to ensure there is no financial loss if the product is held and deadlines are missed.