Shipping to the United States of America

Get up-to-date local information about import procedures and restrictions, demurrage and detention, container pick-ups and more.

Customs House Brokerage

Learn more about the Customs Brokerage App

Core product

Import Customs Clearance Transit Documents
Standard full import customs clearance process

Full range of trade advisory services

Technical support on complex customs issues

  • ISF filing
  • Import entry declaration all modes across the USA
  • HTS classification
  • Arrangement of delivery
  • HTS review and validation
  • FTA certification
  • Post Entry Claims
  • Drawbacks

Custom House Brokerage services at a glance 

Service Description Additional notes
Global presence In house operations in most of the countries we serve  
Automated Systems API/EDI and streamlined processes which ensure fast and reliable customs clearance Flexible automation solutions - we use a variety of formats and structures and are actively exchanging data with most of the top-tier ERP and Trade Management solutions
Importer Security Filing Sophisticated ISF (10+2) solutions help you avoid customs penalties Broad selection of ISF filing options. 
Duty Deduction Innovative Duty Deduction program lets you save money on your dutiable goods Integrated service with our SCM solutions at origin to provide SKU level freight deductions that lower the amount of duties and taxes you pay at destination
Single Visibility Platform Customs Brokerage Services in the USA and Canada under a single visibility platform New way of looking at your supply chain and trade data. By using exception management method, CHB App provides you with ability to focus on important issues and use actionable intelligence to make informed decisions positively impacting your supply chain. Available on your desktop, tablet or mobile phone.
Reporting Customizable reporting to include landed costs, section 301 analysis, PGA releases and so much more Automated delivery of reporting based on event triggers.  Reports can contain virtually any retained database element.
Compliance Expertise in all matters of trade compliance International Trade experts ready to work for you and provide bottom line benefit to your organization by analyzing your supply chain compliance practices and suggesting improvements
Cost Mitigating Solutions Proven track record of implementing solutions to reduce and increase compliance Our clients save millions of dollars annually in duties and Customs fees
Post Entry We can perform post entry work as well as offer consultative services Post Entry solutions include reconciliation, drawback, protest. Consultative services include tariff engineering, Special Programs Management, Product Database Management and more.
CTPAT First Customs Broker to become CTPAT in 2002 We can also provide services to help importers obtain CTPAT status as well as manage requalification.
FTZ Foreign Trade Zone Specialists as well as bonded warehousing We are both an FTZ proprietor and offer FTZ entry filing solutions. 
Bonds Assistance with securing Continuous Bonds Assistance with government required customs bonds to ensure smooth entry clearance of your freight.
ACH Assistance with ACH set up for transactional or monthly payment options Electronic payment of government required duties and taxes for ease of transacting business.
Newsletter CHB.GURU provides updates on all your latest industry news around the world

What is required to complete Customs House Brokerage?

Customer set up US Resident Customer set up Non-resident importer Entry process
1. Signed Power of Attorney 1. Signed Power of Attorney 1. Commercial invoice and packing list
2. Signed rate sheet 2. Signed rate sheet 2. Bill of Lading
3. Valid US Tax ID or Social Security Number 3. Additional books and records may be required. 3. Free Trade certificates/certificate of origins
4. Completed CHB questionnaire 4. Completed CHB questionnaire 4. HTS if available 
5. Customer product database if available 5. Customer product database if available 5. Customer product database if available


Q:What is the Pricing / Cost of these services?
Answer :Please refer to the pricing schedule shared with you.

Q:What can hold up my Customs Clearance?
Answer : In the US, most cargo is processed and released before its arrival, however there are things that can cause delays; missing mandatory documents, Customs or other agency holds or exams, vessel delays are just some examples of potential delays.  Talk to your sales representative about how to prepare and mitigate risk additional costs related to delayed Customs release.

What do I need to import goods into the USA?
Answer : 
The USA allows commercial imports by individuals, by US companies and by foreign companies.    Goods may be entered by their owner, purchaser or a Customs Broker designated by such parties. To process Customs entries, a duly authorized Power of attorney must be collected before we can transact business on your behalf.    All entries must be accompanied by a surety bond, which provides guarantee that all duties, fees and charges will be paid.

Commercial documents, including a commercial invoice, a packing list, bill of lading or cargo receipt are required to be completed in English and contain detailed and specific information.  Additional documents may be required depending on the commodities imported.

Importers are expected to understand their obligations and responsibilities surrounding compliance with laws and regulations governing their products.  For more information follow the link to CBPs publication on import basics.

Q: Is CBP the only agency concerned with my imports?
Answer : Depending on the commodity there are many other agencies that govern and monitor the import of cargo into the US with an aim of protecting the American consumer.  Agencies like FDA, NHTSA, Fish & Wildlife, FCC and more access data collected at the time an entry is filed to review before release can be obtained.  The Maersk team is knowledgeable in all types of imports and can help you navigate other agency requirements. 

Q: Will I have to pay duties and taxes on my imports?
Answer : Unless exempt, all imported goods are subject to duties and taxes based on their tariff classification according to the Harmonized Classification Number. Certain commodities can be assessed with other taxes – including anti-dumping and excise duties.  In the US, CBP assesses various fees which are also paid at the time of entry.  Fees can be driven by commodity (e.g. cotton fee, beef fee), by mode of transportation, or by other importing conditions.

Q: I believe I've been paying too much in duties and/or taxes. Do I have any recourse to recover the funds?
Answer : The rate of duties and taxes payable on any given product is entirely dependent on the type of goods imported and the Customs Tariff. Origin and end use can also affect the duty rate assigned to your product line. It is important to ensure that the description of your merchandise is clear and accurate to ascertain the correct tariff number.  Our team of consultants can help provide classification assistance in advance of importation at your request.  Should an error occur and duties be overpaid, there are methods to correct entries after they are filed; certain limitations and time-constraints may apply. 

Q: Can you help us educate our staff regarding Customs?
Answer : Yes. We provide a variety of training solutions for your teams; seminars, webinars, or individual training classes can be provided at your request.

Q: CPB are performing an audit. What support can you provide?
Answer : We can assist with the document preparation and collection as well as review both your transactions and internal procedures in preparation for your audit.  As well, we can provide in-person representation and guidance throughout the audit process.

Q: I am not sure how to classify new products. Can you help?
Answer :We can provide product classification as an ad-hoc solution or as an ongoing project.  Detailed product descriptions along with supporting details like ingredients or content listings, construction, packaging details and more may be required depending on the commodity. 

Q: How do I set up an account ?
Answer : The following documents are required to set up an account:

  1. POA (Power of Attorney) – this legal document assigns the ability to sign entry declarations on your behalf.  Please follow the instructions carefully; the document must be executed by a duly authorized individual and must include identity validation.  Additional details may be required for foreign importers.
  2. A surety bond.  Surety bonds are a guarantee that the importer will comply with all import rules and regulations and that all duties and charges will be paid.  We will help you obtain a bond if you do not already have one.
  3. A signed rate agreement.  As a part of our onboarding discussions, we will provide you with a written explanation of our charges.  Simply return a signed copy acknowledging the rates quoted.

Abbreviations & Explanations

CHB = Customs House Brokerage
CTPAT = Customs and Trade Partnership Against Terrorism
HTS = Harmonized Tariff Schedule
MPF = Merchandise Processing Fee – this fee is charged by CBP on every entry processed.
HMF = Harbor Maintenance Fee – this fee is charged by CBP on every shipment moving via a waterway.
ISF = Import Security Filing – this is a security screening filed in advance of the export of any cargo destined for a US port.  Failure to file ISF can result in fines and/or trigger physical examination of the cargo at the time arrival.
CBP = US Customs and Border Protection

Submission of Release Request Instruction for Store Door Delivery

Click here to download, Submission of Release Request Instructions.

Street Turn/Container Re-Use

 Register with Avantida at




  • Freetime will commence on the first 0800, the first business day following discharge of the container at an ocean terminal, or arrival of a container at an inland CY or rail ramp. If a container discharges prior to 0800 on a business day, freetime will begin that day. If a container discharges after 0800, freetime begins 0800 the next business day. The exception to this is in Philadelphia, Seattle, and Baltimore where free time commences on day of vessel departure if before 8:00 AM, the following day if after 8:00 AM. 
  • Business days are defined as Monday – Friday, excluding holidays at ocean terminals, and Monday – Saturday, excluding holidays at rail ramps.
  • At rail ramp locations, all storage is settled directly with the rail provider according to the ramps terms and conditions, except at Florida East Coast rail ramps and Kansas City Southern rail ramps where storage is settled as part of the demurrage charge with Maersk after the rail carrier’s freetime expires.
  • At Inland Port locations including Greer, SC and Front Royal, VA, freetime and demurrage charges are according to Maersk’s tariff levels for ocean terminals.  
  • In addition, for CY deliveries at rail ramps collecting storage according to the ramps terms and conditions, demurrage will be assessed by Maersk for equipment use only after the freetime as indicated below.
  • BNSF Rail ramp Business days are defined as Monday – Sunday, excluding holidays.
Freetime for Dry Cargo, Shipper Owned Equipment & Non Operating Reefer Equipment
Ocean Terminals & Container Yards (CY’s) 4 Business Days
CSX Rail ramps where rail provider assesses storage (CY moves only)  4 Business Days 
Non-CSX Rail ramps where rail provider assesses storage (CY moves only)  3 Business Days 
Freetime for Reefer cargo and special equipment
Ocean Terminals & Container Yard (CY’s) 2 Business Days
CSX Rail ramps where rail provider assesses storage (CY moves only)  4 Business Days 
Non-CSX Rail ramps where rail provider assesses storage (CY moves only)  3 Business Days 
Charges per calendar day after free-time (excluding Newark)  
Dry equipment and non-operating refrigerated containers Days 1-4 235 USD per day
Days 5-9 285 USD per day
Days 10+ 335 USD per day
Operating refrigerated containers, tank equipment, flat beds, flat racks, open tops, any other specialized equipment Days 1-3 410 USD per day
Days 4-7 510 USD per day
Days 8+ 560 USD per day
Shipper Owned Equipment Days 1-4  185 USD per day
Days 5-9  235 USD per day
Days 10+  285 USD per day
Charges per calendar day after freetime (Newark): APM Terminal in Port Elizabeth New Jersey, PNCT (Port Newark Container Terminal), Global Terminal Jersey City, Maher Newark Terminal, Global Container Terminal, Bayonne, New Jersey and Howland Hook, Staten Island, New York.
Dry Equipment, including shipper owned equipment and non-operating refrigerated containers: Days 1-4 295 USD per day
Days 5-9 400 USD per day
Days 10 + 465USD per day
Operating refrigerated containers Days 1-3 535 USD per day
Days 4-7 685 USD per day
Day 8+ 770 USD per day
Tank equipment, flat beds, flat racks, open tops, any other specialized equipment Days 1-3 515 USD per day
Days 4-7 670 USD per day
Day 8+ 770 USD per day
Charges per calendar day for use of equipment at rail ramps, applicable to CY delivery cargo, where the rail provider collects storage directly from the customer according to their tariff:
Dry and Non-operating refrigerated containers  
Days 1-4 140 USD Per Day
Days 5-8 200 USD Per Day
Days 9+ 230 USD Per Day
Operating refrigerated and special equipment  
Days 1-3 310 USD Per Day
Days 4+ 415 USD Per Day

Exception to Above:

4 working days freetime

Applicable to operating reefer cargo for the commodity meat at all U.S. ocean terminals except: Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Jacksonville, FL,  Mobile, AL,  Newark, NJ, Port Everglades, FL, Staten Island, NY 


  • Free time for carrier’s equipment commences on the day equipment departs from carrier’s container yard.
  • Business days are defined as Monday – Friday, excluding holidays at ocean terminals, and Monday – Saturday, excluding holidays at rail ramps.
Detention Freetime
Dry Four (4) business days
Reefer, Non-Operating Reefer and Special Equipment Three (3) business days
Detention charges per calendar day after freetime
Dry & non-operating reefer equipment Days 1-4 125 USD per day
Days 5-8 170 USD per day
Days 9+ 200 USD per day
Operating reefer and special equipment Days 1-3 320 USD per day
Days 4+ 425 USD per day

Exception to Above

5 working days freetime

Applicable to operating reefer cargo for the commodity meat at all U.S. ocean terminals except: Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Jacksonville, FL,  Mobile, AL,  Newark, NJ, Port Everglades, FL, Staten Island, NY

Demurrage & Detention Disputes

  • Demurrage and Detention disputes for U.S. shipments can be raised through our website in the MyFinance section. In the event you wish to change the party invoiced, please e-mail for assistance.
  • When registering a dispute, please include the shipment number, container number, and a detailed description of the dispute including the applicable service contract number if pertinent to the claim. For disputes involving a change of paying party, written confirmation from the party who will pay is needed.
  • Disputes must be submitted to Maersk within 30 days of the invoice date. We will provide feedback on your dispute within 5 business days of receipt. 

Empty notification site for Store Door Deliveries

Empty Container Return Locations site

Contact us

If you want to speak to a sales person about a new shipment or if you have a question about your existing shipment, you can email us and we will respond within the next two days. If you have a more immediate question, you can search for help online.