Frequently Asked Questions
- Why purchase an annual bond?
Securing an annual bond shows Customs - and customers! - that you are a serious importer and plan to continue importing to the United States. You’ll also save money by avoiding expensive single-entry bonds.
- Why become a C-TPAT member?
Joining the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program expedites the release of your cargo and reduces the number of inspections, which helps aid prompt cargo availability. Customized Brokers encourages all of its customers to become C-TPAT certified. Click here to learn more.
- Why avoid loading produce at night?
When loading produce at night, insects and other pests can get inside containers more easily. This may require treatment, delays and possibly re-exporting the shipment. If you must do so at night, the use of mesh tarps during the loading process can help to reduce the risk of insects entering the container.
- Why know the seasonality trend of regions?
If you are familiar with seasonal trends, then you are better equipped to adjust your shipping volumes and patterns to take advantage of excess and restricted capacity, helping to reduce transportation costs.
- How do I avoid detention and demurrage charges from carriers?
Customized Brokers advises customers to negotiate with carriers for extra time to load and unload cargo.
- How do I comply with USDA's wood packing material regulations?
Using untreated wood-packaging materials violates USDA rules. When loading ocean containers or domestic trailers, ensure the treatment stamp on pallets and cartons is visible when doors are open and inspections are done. If the stamp is not visible during the inspection, your cargo will be marked for stripping, and if it is not in compliance, the shipment will be re-exported or rejected. Read more here.
- How do I expedite customs clearance for reefer containers with mixed commodities?
The best way to do this is to instruct handlers to place sample boxes by the door when loading mixed commodities on a reefer. This step facilitates inspections and expedites releases, which means product spends less time in transit and more time on the store shelf.
- What is the importance of airflow in refrigerated containers?
Lack of airflow can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to perishable shipments. Proper loading also prevents cargo from being damaged by shifting in transit. Make sure your carriers properly load cargo for airflow and secure it in the ocean container or domestic trailer.
Also, carton boxes are usually the best option because they are perforated, which allows air to flow through the boxes and reach the produce while in cold storage and inside the reefer. There’s a greater risk of experiencing potentially damaging ventilation issues when the produce is sealed or wrapped in plastic.
- How can I stay up-to-date on alerts that can affect my perishable cargo shipments?
Customized Brokers sends pertinent information that can affect importation of your perishable shipments via e-mail announcements to our customers. Contact us today to begin receiving important updates. You can also download a free Save Our Citrus iPhone app from the USDA by clicking here. Report your symptoms, upload a photo and receive an individual response back from citrus experts.
- Why place perishable cargo in cold storage prior to loading in a reefer?
The use of cold-storage facilities or refrigerated warehouses, while not mandatory, has become standard in the produce exporting industry. We highly encourage this method, which brings produce to its necessary temperature, prior to its being loaded onto a reefer. Bringing the produce temperature down at this early stage, not only further stunts the aging process to secure freshness; it also helps avoid the risks of loading ‘hot’ cargo. Trying to bring down the temperature of ´hot’ cargo inside of a reefer takes longer than it does in a cold-storage type facility.
- How do I reduce the risk of humidity in a reefer?
Prior to loading cargo, turn on reefer and let it run until it reaches the needed temperature. Even if you’ve used a cold-storage facility for your cargo, it can still be susceptible to some sort of humidity if the reefer itself is not at the right temperature when everything is stored inside. To avoid thermal shock and mold, make sure to get reefer up to the needed temperature, and get it running with the doors closed at least 30 minutes prior to loading. This further assures the temperatures are all in line.
- Why implement a reefer loading training program?
Refresher courses always help keep employees stay in line with business goals and best practices, which is why getting to know how reefers work and refreshing loading crews on the best practices that come with using them, can be very beneficial. It helps create a more streamlined and seamless process when everyone is in line with the best practices for ensuring cargo is protected from the day it’s picked until the day it hits store shelves.