By Patty Hinojosa, Director of Logistics at Conexus
Shipping goods and materials North and South across the border of Mexico can be a complicated, expensive and frightening process – if you don’t know what you’re doing. But armed with the following guidelines you will be able to conduct your transportation needs across our southern border with the ease. This is part II of the Top Ten Border Crossing Pitfalls to Avoid when transporting goods across the U.S./Mexico border. For Part I, click here.
6. Lack of follow-up. One of the most important and difficult aspects of shipping is keeping track of where your freight is at all times. And when it comes to crossing the border, communicating updates and a sense of urgency regarding your shipment to the customs broker is essential otherwise your load could be pushed to the bottom of the pile leaving you with a hefty bill laden with detention fees. To help avoid this, aim for a carrier that offers Door-to-Door Service – this is when one transportation provider is your point of contact throughout the entire shipment and is responsible for picking up the load in the United States and seeing it through all the way to its final destination in Mexico.
If your load is particularly delicate, search for a carrier that offers Through Trailer Service. Through Trailer Service goes above and beyond Door-to-Door Service by not just offering one point of contact throughout the shipment’s entire journey, but offering shippers the option of keeping their load on the same trailer from pick-up all the way through to delivery in Mexico without having to trans-load from trailer to trailer at the border. This is a particularly attractive option for shippers moving
7. No options at the border. When choosing your transportation provider, choose one that can help you mitigate detention charges at the border. Ideally, look for a provider who has a facility at the border. In a pinch, your carrier can unload your freight at their border facility until the shipment is ready for crossing. This can save you thousands of dollars in detention charges if your shipment is delayed for any reason. Choosing a transportation provider that gives you this kind of flexibility is key.
8. Searching for a customs broker too late. This is a big pitfall for shippers that can be easily avoided but is so often overlooked. It may seem like a good idea to just get the shipment on its way to the border and plan on finding a customs broker before the freight gets there. However, it typically takes three days or more to get set up with a customs broker. During that time, a pre-assigned customs broker could be performing 90% of the work it takes to get your freight across the border before it ever arrives. When the load gets to the border, the customs broker has little else to do than simply inspect the load and get you on your way.
9. Customs broker is not located at your point of crossing. Another common problem we see is freight trying to cross the border at a point where the customs broker is not located. It’s important to know where your customs broker is located and whether or not they have multiple offices. You may have a fantastic customs broker for all your loads moving through El Paso but before using that broker to handle your load moving through Laredo, make sure he has offices there as well. Some brokers are only in one location and as a result are not able to handle multiple points of entry.
10. Lack of consolidation. This is one of the most important factors for a shipper to remember as not following this step can cost a shipper thousands of dollars in fees if improperly handled. When moving a machine or other items that require more than one truck load, all the trucks must be at the border for crossing at the same time. A customs broker cannot cross the load until all pieces are accounted for. Depending on the number of loads and length of time between each one, a shipper could be handed a huge bill of detention fees while all trucks are made to wait to cross the border until all the other trucks arrive. A shipment of multiple trucks takes a big more coordination to get them all to the border at the same time, but the stress savings and financial savings makes it imperative to coordinate all these shipments seamlessly.
Remember, shipping in and out of Mexico doesn’t have to be complicated. The right transportation provider can help you navigate these and other pitfalls with ease. If you choose the right provider, you can ship in and out of Mexico with ease.