5 Aspects of a Perfect Import Business (Number 3 is a Gem!)

4-minute read

Our job is to cut costs and save time for importers and exporters. We would like to share some of the insider secrets with you.

Here are six key questions you should ask your freight forwarder to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.

1) Do you have back up support?

Experience tells us that NZ Customs or MPI can stop your shipment at the last minute when you least expect it. It is vital to have a customs broker who offers after-hours support on hand to resolve these problems quickly.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Keep in contact with at least two customs brokers so you don’t get caught out when one can’t fulfil an urgent order.

Probably 90 percent of service providers don’t work after hours which can be problematic for importers when a shipment has to be organised. It’s good business practise to have several customs brokers, so if one lets you down you have a back up plan.

Easy Freight works after hours and on weekends assisting you with urgent orders anytime.

2) Is your freight forwarder price competitive?

Ask yourself when was the last time you compared prices? Shippers often stay with the same freight forwarder for several years without comparing prices and during this time they could be losing money. It is wise to compare quotes at least once a year.

There are a lot of companies who get used to one broker and they don’t bother checking prices. It is not rare to see a $200 difference in price between freight forwarders for the same service.

It’s important to point out even though the saving may not be big for one shipment over a year, if you ship regularly, it will add up. We want to encourage businesses to compare quotes on a regular basis because they can make a substantial saving if they just check.

Having said that, Easy Freight always talks to various shipping lines and airlines therefore we adjust prices regularly in order to stay competitive.

3) Are you paying your customs charges correctly?

You don’t have to pay your customers broker for import and export customs taxes. In many cases NZ customs can give you an account and defer payment for up to 7 weeks. This is vital for your cash flow and means you are earning bank interest.

Contact NZ Customs and ask about the deferred payment scheme.

4) Is your freight forwarder getting the best shipping terms?

NZ freight forwarders can offer you more control of your shipment and save you money if you change from CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) to FOB (Free on board).

Shipper often don’t know it is beneficial for them to change shipping terms. They don’t take into account all charges that will be applicable when they ship goods from door to door.

Shipping on the CIF term means importers only see 50 percent of the overall cost because it only includes freight to NZ ports, excluding NZ port charges, import clearance and local transport.

Selecting FOB will save you money because it puts you in control of the freight and import charges. It will show all of the charges up front and you’ll have the ability to select your own freight forwarder.

5) Have you checked your new customs broker’s references?

Before you engage with a new service provider check their references.

In New Zealand it’s not common for people to ask for references, but you can and you should. It’s easy, just ask the customs broker for the contact details of three clients and give them a call.

Shippers need to make sure the customs broker they are working with is reliable, this is especially important if they are shipping expensive cargo.

Easy Freight is proud to be the highest-rated customs broker in New Zealand (4.9 / 5 stars on Google Maps)

BONUS TIP: 6) Do you really have to pay import duties?

Easy Freight saved $15,000 on import duties last year for one importer because they used the correct tariff customs code.

We are sure there is a percentage of importers that pay duties who don’t have to and they need to know there is a chance to save. NZ Customs often review the tariff codes and changes tariff codes that can qualify for duty free entry.

If customs brokers don’t keep up to date with these changes their clients can face paying unnecessary fees. Not all companies stay informed like we do.

We’d love to answer any other questions! Contact us anytime.

P.S. Do you know of other people that will find this article useful? Please share it on social media. Thank you!