Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is tasked with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations regarding trade and customs. Unfortunately, this means parts/orders coming into the U.S. from our manufacturing partners overseas could be held up by customs. There are some common reasons below on why shipments are withheld and ways to minimize that possibility. 

Reasons for Customs Interception and Delays

There are numerous reasons why a shipment may be scrutinized and held by CBP.  Some of the most common reasons shipments are withheld include:

  1. Production volume
  2. Size of shipment (100kg+)
  3. Value of shipment is too high or too low
  4. Insufficient documentation
  5. Commercial invoice too vague or missing information
  6. Material and manufacturing process
  7. End use
  8. Cost of each part
  9. Tariffs owed

Please note the changing tariffs may increase the likelihood of parts being held in customs.  Though Fictiv will assign a default HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) code to each line item, it is ultimately the importer of record (the customer) who is responsible for assigning the HTS code, which may dictate the tariff that will be imposed upon a shipment. If tariffs must be paid in order to unblock a shipment, the customer is responsible for that payment. 

Troubleshooting a Customs Delay

Due to their internal rules, CBP doesn’t have to inform our shipping partners about a reason why parts or orders are held up. They specify that a follow-up will be initiated from their end, which could take anywhere from 2-5 days. However, only the intended recipient will be able to have that dialogue. If the parts are being shipped to Fictiv HQ, our internal logistics team can troubleshoot the delay. Conversely, if the parts are being shipped directly to the customer, which is often the case, we can only provide the customer with the logistics information needed to troubleshoot. Customs will follow-up with the customer directly to release the shipment. 

Ways to Minimize Risk

If you would like to have your parts shipped to you directly, talk with your Account Executive before you place your order and request to have multiple shipments of 2-10kg crates and that the shipments to be labeled prototype, test, or lab.  

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