Custom Clearance

man filling up a document

Custom Clearance

Custom clearance is a document issued to a shipper by a national customs authority. It serves as proof that the shipment has been authorised and all customs duties have been paid for.

This legal instrument grants permission for goods to enter or leave the country.

If you are looking to ship items across borders, you would need custom clearance for your goods.

Custom clearance can be a hassle-free and cost-efficient affair when handled by professionals. Contact us to learn more about our services.

Who provides custom clearance services?

Custom clearance services are provided by custom clearance brokers and freight forwarders.

Custom Clearance Brokers

Custom clearance brokers are private individuals or associations that are licensed to act as a middleman between exporters or importers and a government’s customs agency.

Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders are mainly involved in the shipping of goods on behalf of the cargo owner. In some cases, freight forwarders can also be licensed to provide custom clearance services as well.

What does custom clearance comprise of?

Seeking approval from external agencies

Approval from the relevant authorities at the import country must be sought when shipping certain kinds of goods.

For example, the import of all food-related goods into Australia must first be approved by the New South Wales Food Authority; an Australian government statutory board.

Applying for a binding ruling

A binding classification enables importers to establish the country of origin, classification and valuation of their merchandise.

This helps the import country determine the tariffs and duties to be imposed on imported products in advance.

Completing clearance documents

Cargo can only be shipped out after all applicable custom clearance documents have been provided and accepted by customs authorities.

The list of clearance documents include (but are not limited to):

  • Commercial invoice
  • Customs value declaration
  • Bill of lading
  • Packing list
  • Transport documentation
  • Freight insurance
  • Import and export licenses

Signing a customs bond contract

A customs bond contract must be signed by the customs authorities, the shipper and the customs clearance service provider if the cargo being transported is estimated to be worth more than a certain value.

The customs clearance service provider acts as a guarantor for the shipper, and ensures that all import duties and taxes are paid for.

Customs clearance procedure

Checking of shipment paperwork

A customs officer will do a thorough inspection of all your paperwork to ensure they are error-free.

Checking of tariffs and taxes

Once the checking of the paperwork has been completed, the customs officer will proceed to verify what duties are imposed on your cargo.

Payment of taxes and duties

If taxes and duties have not been paid for yet, the customs officer will redirect your cargo to an individual customs service provider to collect payment.

This can get very expensive, so it’s best to pay your duties with your own custom clearance service provider beforehand.

Release of shipment

After all outstanding duties have been settled, your shipment will be allowed to pass through customs for delivery.

Benefits of engaging a custom clearance service

Fast and hassle-free

Customs clearance can be a confusing and frustrating process for those without prior experience as there are many rules and regulations to follow.

Having your paperwork handed by professionals would help to shorten the clearance process. Furthermore, it could also reduce the delivery duration of your cargo.


Engaging custom clearance services can be cost-efficient as professionals will be on hand to guide you through the entire process.

This means you can avoid spending unnecessary time and effort on documents that are not essential.

Expert Advice

Custom clearance service providers are experts in the field of import and export clearance. They are able to streamline the entire custom clearance process for you and further advise you on common mistakes to avoid.

Their knowledge and experience will certainly give you confidence and set your mind at ease.

Unsure about all the documents needed to clear customs? Consult our customer service team at M&P to learn more about our services.

Why choose M&P International Freights?

We are recognised by customs authorities as we hold the relevant licensing to carry out custom clearance services.

We place a great deal of importance on customer service and strive to satisfy all our clients’ needs. You can expect all your queries and concerns to be answered within 3 working hours.

M&P International Freights has been providing freight forwarding and custom clearance services for over a decade. We have a team of experienced professionals who are reliable and can be trusted to do things competently.