Fresh produce travels the globe, and many items are imported into the US from numerous sourcing countries. Being aware of the rules and regulations from both importers and exporters perspective can be quite challenging. “With over 30 years of experience in helping clear fresh produce, we’ve been able to solve many issues,” says Pat Compres, Co-owner of Advance Customs Brokers in Miami, Florida. “We dedicate ourselves to the import side of the business only and work with all US ports,” she added. “There are so many problems that can occur in transit or before produce is being cleared in the US that we are available 24/7, 365 days/year to assist our clients. We support them in getting their produce from the country of origin to the United States in the most efficient way and shortest amount of time.”
“Our role is to advise our clients on US import requirements. In addition, we also provide them with recommendations on carriers to use, types of packaging, and we help them get through the inspection process.” All product that enters the US must be inspected and not only does Advance Customs Brokers help with the documentation process for clearing customs, the team also personally helps perform the inspections with airport arrivals.
Connections at US ports
“The business we are in is all about relationships and knowing the right people.” Over the years, Advance Customs Brokers has traveled to all main fresh produce ports in the US to meet with key people and understand their way of working. “If there is an issue, we usually know the go-to person at the port, which helps in finding a solution quickly.” This is beneficial to both the importer as well as the port. The main US ports the brokerage firm works with include the Port of Long Beach (CA), Port of Houston (TX), Port of New York and New Jersey, Port of Philadelphia (PA), Port of Wilmington (DE), Port of New Orleans (LA), Port of Savannah (GA), Port Everglades (FL), Port of Miami (FL), and Port Manatee & Tampa.
Working with customers we know
Outside the US, Compres and her team pretty much travel the world to look at farms. “We like to know who the shipper is and understand their process,” she commented. “Knowing our customers makes the probability of problems much lower and in case there is a problem upon arrival, it helps with advocating for our clients.” Another reason Compres travels the globe is the reputation of her business. “We pick and choose our customers very carefully”
With the shutdown in travel due to the global pandemic, the company has shifted to explore more opportunities with current customers. “We are finding new ways to better serve our existing customers. This includes looking at cost-saving areas for them.”
Although Advance Customs Brokers works with product grown anywhere on the globe, Peru and Chile, South Africa, Morocco, and Spain are some of the main sourcing countries. “We are based in Florida and because Florida is the gateway for fresh produce from South America and Central America, we naturally work a lot with produce from these areas,” Compres shared. Citrus, mangos, avocados, berries, asparagus, and grapes are some of the main items.