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4 tips for fast customs clearance

4 tips for fast customs clearance


Unnecessary delays during the clearance of goods are a frequent issue. This is inconvenient for you as a shipper, and, in most cases, can be avoided easily. One of the solutions involves the invoice you receive from your supplier. This document often lacks certain information that is essential for the import declaration. With these 4 tips, you can make sure your goods are cleared without any issues and avoid unnecessary delays.


Tip 1: The right goods description

The invoice you receive from your supplier generally contains a goods description. It is a good idea to take a critical look at this. This description often does not suffice for the customs administration to check whether the right goods code was used in the import declaration. This may result in inquiries, checks, and delays in the delivery of your goods.


Our customs declarants can only draft a correct import declaration for you if they have a complete goods description. First of all, the correct trade name  should be on the invoice: the brand and product number. On top of that, the goods description should provide a detailed answer to the question:  “What is it?”. It is important to specify the specific characteristics of the item, like:

  • Material the item is made of
  • Percentages of material in the item
  • Function of the item
  • Properties of the item


A goods description such as ‘tops is too generic, for example. One person might think a sweater is a top, another person thinks it’s a vest or t-shirt. What’s more, ‘tops’ offers no information about the specific characteristics of the item. A generalised goods description like this is insufficient for preparing the import declaration. A specific and correct description of top could be: “knitted t-shirt, 100% cotton” .


Do you regularly come across incomplete goods descriptions on invoices? We advise you to discuss the matter with your supplier. If the goods description on your invoice is incorrect, and you are having an issue in correcting this, our customs declarants would be happy to help.


Tip 2: Which Incoterm was concluded?

A second item that should never be absent from your invoice is the so-called Incoterm. These are the delivery conditions you agreed upon with your supplier. Based on these conditions, the customs value of your goods is calculated. This way, the import duties you have to pay to the Dutch customs authorities can be determined.


The Incoterm you conclude with your supplier can significantly affect the costs you pay in the end. That is why we compiled a list of the most important tips for you, so you can easily avoid unnecessary costs.


Tip 3: State the correct amounts

The exact number of boxes you are importing is always stated on the B/L. Unfortunately, the same does not apply to the invoice you receive from your supplier. The number of boxes is often absent, or differs from the number stated on the B/L. This leads to problems when drafting the import declaration. Therefore, you should always check whether the invoice states the correct number of boxes, and whether this number corresponds to the B/L.


Tip 4: Do not forget the invoice number

This final tip may speak for itself. However, we often see that the supplier’s invoice lacks an invoice number. The customs authorities need this number to check whether the import declaration is correct. Always make sure the invoice number is on the invoice.


Supplements to the invoice?

Do you have any supplements to the invoice you received from your supplier? Send these to your Ritra Cargo contact as soon as possible. That way, you can be sure your goods are quickly and correctly cleared, and avoid delays.


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