How to Get Your Start in U.S Customs Brokerage

An aspiring customs broker finds out that he passed the customs exam

For most of the U.S population, customs brokerage is not a major talking point. In fact, customs brokerage is an industry that drives a nation but works in the background, like how the electrical wiring in your home is hidden but essential. For the few that think about brokerage, it can be a complex, exciting, and fulfilling job that opens up new ideas and perspectives. If you’re one of those people that find brokerage fascinating, we’ll take you through what you need to break into the customs brokerage industry.

Basic Requirements

According to U.S Customs and Border Protection, you’ll need to meet three eligibility requirements before you can become a customs broker. The three requirements include:

  • Be a U.S citizen 21 years of age or over
  • Not be a current federal employee
  • Possess good moral character

So if you’re old enough for a Bud Light, don’t work for the government, and aren’t a member of the mafia, you’re probably eligible to be a broker. Some companies prefer a bachelor’s degree, but it’s not required. This just covers eligibility; actually becoming a customs broker involves a few more steps.

Becoming A Certified Customs Broker

If you’re eligible, then the next step is to pass the Customs Broker License Exam. Before you freak out about the test, it’s an open book exam, so you needn’t stress about memorizing everything you’ll need to know. As far as what the test will go over, you can expect to see these topics:

  • The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)
  • Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations
  • Specified Customs Directives
  • Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements document (CATAIR)

These are the basics for a customs broker, so make sure to internalize all of this information. The test is four and a half hours long, and there is a $390 fee that needs to be paid a month in advance. If you receive a 75 percent or higher on the exam, congrats! You can move on to the next step, which is getting your customs broker license. Get ready to shell out another $200 for that, and to wait a while for background checks. Credit reports, arrest records, character references will all need to be reviewed before you are cleared. In the meantime, learn as much as you can about being a customs broker.

If you have any questions about customs brokerage or want to join our team, Cordova Brokerage can help. Contact us today for more information!

The Current Trade Numbers and Why You Might Need a Freight Forwarder

If you’re in the trading business— or produce any kind of exportable good— you know that every day the United States takes in and ships out a good variety of goods to and from all over the globe. The international market is a busy network of people exchanging goods across borders and oceans. So if you are a producer or own a company that wants to ship goods or merchandise overseas, you are likely wondering whether a freight forwarder is an option for you. So how exactly do we help?

 

A freight forwarder actually has a lot of responsibilities and provides a variety of different services. We act mostly as an intermediary between the shipper and the transportation services. Yet, we are at the forefront of any shipping of merchandise outside of the country’s borders. Some of the typical functions we perform include preparation of documents for exporting or importing, warehousing, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, and relevant insurance claims. 

 

Current Trade Numbers and Information

 

In 2018, according to The Balance, the total U.S trade with foreign countries reached $5.6 trillion. Out of that total were $2.5 trillion in exports and $3.1 trillion in imports. That’s a lot of trade happening between the United States and the rest of the world. The U.S is the world’s third largest exporter. This means that the U.S is producing a lot of goods and sending them overseas, but sending goods across countries is not that simple. There are a lot of regulations and charges in place that must be taken into consideration. There are a lot of logistical questions as well —when it comes to shipping—that need to be factored in, particularly when you’re talking about large freight or a high quantity of goods. 

 

U.S exports are composed largely of capital goods, which include things like commercial aircraft, industrial machines, telecommunications, electrical apparatus, and medical equipment. Then there are industrial supplies, which include chemicals, petroleum products, and more. Finally, the other category of goods exported by the U.S are consumer goods, which can include smaller consumer products like cell phones, gem diamonds, and etc. 

 

Choose a Trusted Freight Forwarder

 

A lot of what we do depends on relationships that we’ve established with shippers over time and how we have established ourselves as a trustworthy and competent partner. You want your goods to be handled with care. Call Cordova Brokerage today for all your shipping needs.