Tips on Importing – Part 1


If you are thinking of getting into the business of importing, you may need some ideas about where to start. Importing can be tricky. There are some initial things that you should look into before you begin.

This is a good guide of practical advice for first time importers or people who are new to the business.

Visit Your Customs Office

Customs are going to be the keepers of all the legal aspects of your cargo. Because of this, a visit to your local customs office can tell you a lot about what you need. This includes:

  • What sort of licenses or registrations you might require in order to import goods
  • What the Duty structure is
  • If there are any special permits required for the cargo you are thinking of importing
  • Is the cargo allowed to be imported at all? This can be very important for goods like food, lumber or wildlife.

Your customs broker should be able to answer all of these questions for you before you begin planning the next steps of your importing business.

Is your Supplier Reliable?

Presumably after you have identified what cargo you are allowed to import, you are going to identify a supplier to import from. How do you know you can trust that supplier? Here are some facts you should ask your supplier to get an idea of their reputation:

  • What is their export history in your country?
  • Do they have any references they can provide in your country?
  • What are the types of cargo they deal in overall? Do they have experience with your cargo?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • See if they are open to options like Confirmed Letters of Credit for Payment

All of these things can be indicators of the reliability and reputation of your supplier.

Appoint an Agent

The next step is to find an agent to handle all of your shipping, clearing and transloading at your receiving port. Agents can arrange delivery of your cargo through shipping companies once your imports have arrived at their destination port.

Remember to ask the same questions about your agent that you asked of your supplier. Having a reliable agent is as important as having a reliable supplier. You should be able to use the questions above to do similar research on your agent.

A good starting point for identifying an agent is to check out what information that they have on their website. You can look for personal recommendations for agents and look in local trade publications for reviews or recommendations regarding their work.

Cratex offers transloading, warehousing and industrial packing services that could be of use in your importing business. Contact us today with any questions about using Cratex Group as an agent.