Miami International Airport (MIA), which set-up an e-commerce pre-clearance program with Brazil, has announced plans to significantly expand the program to other countries in Latin America.
While speaking at the Air Cargo Americas event taking place in Miami this week, Emir Pineda Miami-Dade Aviation Department manager for the aviation, trade & logistics marketing said the pre-clearance programme had been a success and others are now interested in setting up a similar scheme.
“We recently had very interesting meetings with Mexico, for example, as another country that is looking at a pre-clearance process.
“Brazil can be a difficult country to do business in as there is a lot of bureaucracy and heavy customs procedures and if we can work it there, then it is very adaptable to countries in Latin America because many of the procedures are similar.”
Pineda claimed that the clearance system was very flexible meaning that it can be easily adapted to other countries, adding “The bigger challenge is acceptance from customs authorities in those countries because there is no inspector from Brazil in Miami.
“The system, the procedures, the process is what clears the products so the challenge for us is to get acceptance from Argentinian customs [for example] to allow the clearance to take place in Miami.”
The Brazilian pre-clearance programme allows a consumer to buy outside of their own country, for example from Amazon in the US, and that shipment then goes to a PO Box location in Miami where it is pre-cleared by Correios and then transported to Brazil as a domestic shipment within days, rather than the weeks or months that it used to take.
These PO Box style clearance set ups are growing in popularity as a way to assist cross-border e-commerce in countries with stricter clearance procedures
Emirates SkyCargo has since launched a similar scheme for its customers in the UAE.
Jaime Silva, vice president of Business development at International Bonded Couriers LATAM, said that under its programmes it keeps all the data for each shipment, and has an inhouse customs broker and can therefore facilitate returns if needed.
However, the panelists admitted that, in general, the returns process can prove difficult.