Carramore International Limited
Carramore International Limited

Frequently Asked Questions: Customs Clearance and Delivery

What does customs clearance involve?

Each country will have legislation setting out the exact requirements, but in essence the process involves the preparation of documents and/or electronic submissions, the calculation (and usually the payment) on behalf of the customer of taxes, duties and excise taxes, and facilitating communication between the importer/exporter and governmental authorities.

Clearing agents/customs brokers will often prepare and submit documentation to notify or obtain the clearance from other government agencies. Clearing agents need to be familiar with the Tariff Schedule (see Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS)), a listing of duty rates for imported items, and the regulations governing imports.


Who manages the clearance process?

The clearing agent. If your Carramore contract is DDU or DDP then Carramore will arrange the customs clearance, if your contract is CIP then your own agent will need to manage this process.


Our contract is CIP but our institution has more than one specified clearing agent, how does that work?

If you confirm the name of your preferred clearing agent then we will include their name on the Air Waybill or Bill of Lading as the notify party.

In many countries the notify party is the only party allowed to clear the goods unless written authority is received transferring this right to another clearing agent. The clearing agent may also require a standing letter of authorisation, from your institute, to the customs authority.


How does Carramore manage the clearing process when they are based in the UK?

In Kenya we have our own office, and are a registered clearing agent, so carry out the work ourselves.

In other countries we have built up a network of trusted partners, who are registered to clear in their country. In countries with multiple international entry points we often have different partner companies in different locations.


Why do you usually include clearance and delivery within your contract?

The nature of the products require that they be managed throughout the journey: 

  • Time sensitive.
  • Short expiry times.
  • Cold chain.
  • Subject to regulatory control.
  • Potentially exempt from taxes and duties. 

The risk of delay by the use of ill-informed or ill-trained clearing agents can negatively impact all of these areas.


Who pays the extra costs if our product is delayed in the airport?

If your Carramore contract is DDU or DDP then we pay all the airport incurred costs, so Carramore has a vested interest ensuring the process is carried out in a timely manner. Nevertheless, by managing the customs and sometimes exemption process Carramore goes further than Incoterms require.

If your contract is CIP then the costs are for your account, and your appointed clearing agent will merely bill you for the charges incurred, so has much less incentive to move the process along.


Why can you not provide a DDU or DDP contract to us/our country?

In order to be able to carry out this process effectively we need to have good partners on the ground. In some countries we do not yet have such partners, so offer CIP contracts, but are always in interested in developing partners so we can change to DDU/DDP contracts.

In some cases the consignee has an effective mechanism for the exemption and clearance and process so we work with that process.


Carramore's contract is DDU but our institute is obtaining the exemption from taxes. How will that work?

Contractually the consignee is always responsible for the exemption from duty and taxes. Nevertheless, we often takes on that responsibility in order to quicken the process and avoid delays. Carramore, or our in-country partners, usually need a general written authority from the consignee allowing us to progress the exemption/s with the relevant Ministries.

However, when the exemption being granted is of a diplomatic type, such a letter is not usually sufficient, and staff from the institute must progress such exemptions with their Foreign Ministry. In such cases we would typically create the shipping documents, Air Waybill and Commercial Invoice, and email these to the users and staff processing the exemption. The exemption is processed, and in such cases the process is usually quite short and quick, and when it is forthcoming we then ship, clear and deliver using the exemption, so the contract is still DDU. Any costs caused by incorrect paperwork supplied to us, or other institute issues may incur additional costs for the buyer or consignee.


Can you clear and deliver cargo shipped by one of our suppliers to the consignee?

Yes, only if you are already a customer of Carramore and are shipping to Kenya, where we have our own staff and office and are a registered clearing agent.


When should we let you know about such a third party shipment?

Before placing your order with the supplier:

• We may be able to supply the same or a suitable alternative at less overall cost.
• We will provide detailed instructions for you as the consignee and to supply to your shipper, to ensure that the documents are drawn up correctly by the shipper and timely communications are made. Failure to do so will probably lead to extra cost and delay.


Our institute/country does not have a tax exemption process?

If there is no means of exempting your products from import taxes – IDF, duty and/or VAT then these taxes will be charged if our contract includes customs clearance (and delivery).

In most countries and in most institutions there is a means by which tax exemption can be obtained, and in these cases we will assist with or pursue the exemption on your behalf, and the taxes will be not be applicable. However, it is sometimes the case that full knowledge of the whole process is not understood, so difficulties may have been incurred in the past.

Exemption is in most cases done on a shipment by shipment basis.


What do we need to do on receipt of the shipment?

The carrier’s delivery note should be carefully read to check that it covers your goods, and the number of pieces. The pieces should be counted, labels checked to ensure they are all for you, and that no damage is apparent. If any pieces are not for you they should be refused, this and any damage should be noted on the delivery note, and if no copy is provided a copy should be taken. 

Check the consignment for temperature sensitive products and put them to the appropriate storage conditions, even if checking off is to happen the following day.


What sort of damage should be noted?

Physical damage to a carton, leaking liquids etc.


What do we do next?

Open up the boxes and carry out your usual goods received checking, it may well be that some external damage has not translated into product damage. If product is damaged, set out the details in an email to your Carramore order administrator, including any documentation you have.


Can I get a replacement for broken and/or damaged goods?

Yes, when goods arrive damaged or broken we will replace them, and seek redress from the supply chain if possible.