Global Supply Chain

Who wants to save up to 75 percent on their brokerage costs?

Ned Blinick

Co-Founder, 3rdwave

If you are an importer, there are two things that I know about you:

  1. You likely fall into the 97 percent of companies that file their ISFs, customs entries, and post-entry activity through one or more customs brokers
  2. You are paying $90-150 to your broker per entry, depending on the complexity of your entries, your volumes, and your powers of negotiation.

Have you ever thought about how or why the cost of filing your entries is around $100?There are really two things you are paying your customs broker for. The first is expertise. Customs brokers are highly knowledgable, specialized, and regulated professionals that are allowed to act on behalf of customers to file documentation with CBP and PGAs. If your company is not self-filing their own customs entries, the customs brokers are the only professionals that can do it. And so, for their expertise and knowledge, you pay them a fee.

Have you ever thought about how or why the cost of filing your entries is around $100?

The second thing you pay them for is for clerical, manual work. In order to file entries on behalf of its customers, a customs broker need to input the pertinent information into their software system, called an ABI, that will allow them to send their customers' information down to CBP. The broker will do everything they can to make this process less work. The more a broker needs to handle data, the higher the chance of error, and the more it will cost. The more complicated the entry is, the more it will cost. The less automated the broker is able to be, the more it will cost.How much are you playing for their expertise, and how much are you paying for clerical work?It might surprise you to learn that you are paying up to 75 percent for the clerical work. If a standard customs entry costs $100, then up to $75 of that is being spent on data entry. The remaining $25 is the cost of having a licensed customs broker on staff to review the file and ensure that it is complies with the rules and regulations.Since we are putting some number around this, let's imagine that you are a mid-sized importer that makes approximately 1,000 entries a year. Your annual brokerage cost is somewhere in the ballpark of $100,000. Is your company interested in saving $75,000?In order to achieve this savings, all you need to do is provide your broker a digital feed of your entry data, properly formatted and validated. While you might think that sounds complicated and unachievable, it is actually quite straightforward. In addition to saving money, you actually gain more control of your data and work process, gain visibility into your supply chain, and are able to flexibly deal with issues that arise throughout the import process.Interested in learning more? Contact me to set up a quick 15 minute discussion to learn how your company can save up to 75 percent on your brokerage costs.

Grant Sernick is the Director of Sales for 3rdwave. He has extensive experience in Retail, Manufacturing, Aerospace, and HiTech verticals, specifically with managing risk and improving efficiencies. His biggest passion is helping companies increase the agility of their supply chain while reducing cost and overhead. He loves speaking with people that have a desire to improve their process but can't figure out how to sell it into their organization. Drop him a line at to connect with him.