Avoid Common SED Compliance Nightmares
If you’ve ever exported items overseas, you’re likely familiar with the need for a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED). Required by the U.S. Census Bureau for exports valued at more than $2,500, it’s a compilation of SED data that allows the Department of Commerce to provide key statistics, such as the United States’ average $39.1 billion trade deficit.
Companies not filing SEDs risk cargo being halted at ports for lack of compliance. How can you avoid issues with SEDs? Consider the following areas where shippers commonly run into problems.
- Hesitating to provide information to freight forwarders. Many shippers who are unaware of their compliance obligations avoid furnishing their TAX ID or other key details when a freight forwarder requests such information. SEDs require things like customer/consignee details, contact information and Schedule B #’s, so don’t be afraid to share.
- Leaving freight forwarders out of the loop. If a shipper doesn’t inform their freight forwarder about special government licenses, or terms and conditions of sale, incorrect filings can result. For example, technologically sensitive goods may require a special export license. It is necessary for shippers to work closely with their forwarders on any special conditions in order to avoid penalties.
- Providing incorrect information. The wrong port details, shipper contacts or Schedule B numbers can result in an incorrect SED filing. A common example is a misstated port of export, where shippers declare the city of origin as the port of sailing for a shipment, but there is no ocean port in that city. An easy oversight to make, it can result in fines and penalties.
It’s not impossible to stay SED compliant. The U.S. Census Bureau offers a host of export compliance resources for shippers. Additionally, by working closely with your freight forwarder, making sure they understand the specific requirements for your goods and reviewing filing records in detail, you can avoid any easily correctable problems before they become costly. You don’t have to go it alone, and by working with a freight forwarder with extensive knowledge of the export process, SED compliance can be easily handled.