Common problems that can occur in an import and how the freight forwarder can avoid them.

Import operations comprise a complexity of factors that require those involved to carefully manage the risks that may occur.

Importing requires fiscal, customs, commercial, financial, and legal care.

However, the aspect that usually involves the highest costs is international and internal logistics.

In today’s article, we are going to learns a little more about the most common problems of import operations and how freight forwarders can help to prevent them from happening.



As we have already said, foreign trade itself involves many areas of activity and each of these has its particularities and requirements.

As a result, what you see daily are a series of deadlines to be met so that there is no blockage in the flow of the import operation.

Failure to meet deadlines is a problem that keeps many people awake at foreign trade, hence the need to find ways to avoid it.

The main tip for this is logistical planning and monitoring of deadlines.

A freight forwarder needs to know in real time what are the deadlines for boarding, sending documents, unloading, removing the cargo, etc.

When starting a new import, the first step needs to be to register the deadlines of that new process and create ways for the professionals involved to be proactively alerted about the proximity of such deadlines.

Technology can be an important ally in this regard through operations management platforms where deadlines are highlighted.

In summary, to avoid missing deadlines: planning and monitoring, okay?



A very common headache when importing is the divergence of information filled in the required documents.

Most of the time, there is even good logistical planning, and everything goes well, however, due to an error in some documental record, the entire operation can be affected.

How can a freight forwarder avoid this?

The first point is that the documents related to import are mostly under the customs brokers of each process responsibility.

A way that helps to mitigate the risk of documental problems is the integration and efficient communication between the cargo agent and the customs broker.

Many problems are caused by the lack and/or noise in the communication between the parties, a joint force would certainly mitigate the risks.

With regard to the documents that are the agent’s liability, establishing a double-check procedure in foreign trade records is an example of an action taken to reduce risks.



An important factor in logistical planning is knowing what equipment and types of vehicles are needed to carry out the operation.

It may sound like amateurism, but unfortunately this is a common problem seen in the course of international logistics operations, especially in the national transport phase.

The tip is to study the product, the route used and every unloading location so that the best possible decision can be made in choosing the vehicles and equipment used in the process.

Think about the situation: the entire import operation taking place normally and, when arriving in Brazil, the cargo agent collects the cargo and takes it to the destination hired by the importer, when arriving at the place of unloading, it notices that it is only possible to enter the unloading dock with a box truck, and the vehicle used was a trailer truck.

In this example, there is a whole inconvenience with rescheduling, volume movements, customer distress, not to mention the extra costs involved.

Therefore, keep in mind: particularities regarding the movement of the product, the route used and the loading and unloading locations need to be well studied in advance.



Demurrage is the bogeyman of the costs involved in an import operation.

This happens because the values ​​of this type of charge are very high and charged in dollars by the shipowners.

This type of problem can make an import so expensive that the loss scenario is, in some cases, irreversible.

Remembering that demurrage is the cost charged for using the containers in addition to the contracted free time.

The tip is to actively monitor the deadlines that involve the free time of the container rented so that no surprises occur.

However, even with active monitoring, it is possible that unforeseen events may arise causing the deadline to be exceeded. In this case, the main tip is to keep the importer duly alerted of the events and the possibility of extra charges, these alerts help supporting so that the damage caused is not unduly directed to the cargo agent or other actor involved, for example.



The movement of loads from its origin to the defined destination demands specific care due to the possible damages that the volumes may suffer.

Sometimes, due to a lack of care at the airport, or by the unloading team, a whole well-executed international cargo operation ends up being ruined by customer dissatisfaction when facing the damage or loss of its product.

Therefore, it is important to keep in mind the risk mapping of this type of accident, knowing clearly at which stage and location the damage/loss may occur.

Usually, this type of problem occurs at the following points: loading the vehicle at origin, loading cargo, unloading cargo, handling at ports and airports, unloading the goods, and delivering.

There are at least two important tips so that this kind of headache does not arise during your import processes.

The first tip is to always choose to use terminals and warehouses of trust and recognized credibility.

Most cargo movements, where claims generally occur, take place in these specialized handling and storage locations.

In this way, freight forwarders who have well-established partnerships with trusted terminals and warehouses are usually the ones who suffer the least from this type of risk.

The second tip on how cargo agents can collaborate to resolve damages and losses is by contracting cargo insurance.

Even if all the necessary precautions are taken, there is still the possibility of eventual accidents in the cargo.

At this time, contracting international insurance over the cargo protects importers and agents from greater losses and liability for the damage caused.

It is scary how many importers and agents are still seen in the market carrying out imports without insurance coverage for their cargo. The risk is very high, and the damage can be very difficult to repair.

That’s why here’s a word of advice for cargo agents: convince your customers about the importance of insurance, in the end, you will be one of the main beneficiaries of it.



Did you like the tips?

In addition to these, there are many other precautions that can be taken to avoid problems when importing.

So, keep following us and our periodic content because we are certain the subjects will help you in your day to day.

If you want to know even more or need help with your operation, talk to one of our experts.

We will be delighted to help make your operation even safer and more prepared!