Navigating Customs Clearance: Common Reasons Freight Gets Held

In the intricate dance of international logistics, navigating customs clearance is a crucial step. While most shipments move through smoothly, there are occasions when freight gets held up. Understanding the reasons behind these delays is essential for any business involved in global trade. In this article, we’ll shed light on the common factors that can lead to freight being held for customs clearance, and how partnering with a trusted logistics partner like Red Arrow Logistics can help mitigate these challenges.

Incorrect or Incomplete Documentation

One of the primary reasons for customs clearance delays is inaccurate or incomplete documentation. This can include missing or improperly filled-out forms, incorrect invoices, or insufficient information about the cargo’s contents. Working with a seasoned logistics provider like Red Arrow ensures that all documentation is meticulously prepared and aligned with international standards, reducing the risk of clearance hiccups.

Restricted or Prohibited Goods

Certain goods are subject to strict regulations or are outright prohibited in specific regions. Freight that includes items falling under these categories will be held for further inspection or require special permits. With extensive knowledge of global trade regulations, Red Arrow Logistics can help businesses navigate the complex landscape of restricted and prohibited goods.


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Customs Duties and Taxes

Customs duties and taxes are applied to imports and vary from country to country. Inaccurate or delayed payment of these fees can lead to hold-ups in the clearance process. Partnering with a logistics expert ensures that these charges are properly calculated and paid on time, avoiding unnecessary delays.

Random Inspections

Customs authorities may select shipments for random inspections as part of their security measures. While this is a routine practice, it can lead to temporary delays in the clearance process. Experienced logistics providers like Red Arrow have established relationships with customs authorities, which can facilitate smoother inspections.

Valuation Discrepancies

Determining the accurate value of goods for customs purposes is crucial. Any discrepancies between the declared value and the assessed value by customs officials can lead to hold-ups. Red Arrow Logistics employs valuation experts who ensure that accurate and compliant valuation practices are followed.

Regulatory Changes

International trade regulations can be subject to change, affecting the clearance process. Staying informed about these changes is crucial to prevent surprises at customs. Red Arrow’s team of experts keeps abreast of regulatory shifts and proactively adapts strategies to accommodate new requirements.

Your Trusted Partner

While customs clearance delays can be frustrating, understanding the reasons behind them is the first step toward a smoother logistics process. Partnering with a seasoned logistics provider like Red Arrow ensures that your shipments are handled with expertise, reducing the likelihood of hold-ups and ensuring timely delivery. With our extensive knowledge and global network, we’re committed to keeping your freight on the move. 

Red Arrow offers the scale and scope of services including air, ocean, and ground transportation to meet the budget and schedule requirements of the largest and smallest companies alike. If we can be of assistance, please email us at or give us a call at 425-747-7914.