What is a Bonded Carrier: Your E-Commerce Shipping Heroes

Bonded carriers are essential in getting goods and products where needed

  • Written by Alex Dolce
  • Published on September 6, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes


In online selling, getting your products from one place to another can be like a complex puzzle. Luckily, there are solutions to help solve this. Enter the bonded carrier  – it’s like a super helper for your shipping needs. But how? That’s what we’re here to explain. In today’s blog, we discuss bonded carriers, why they matter, and how you can use them. By the end, you will have a better knowledge of bonded carriers and how using a variety of carriers can be a shipping advantage to you and your business!

What is a Bonded Carrier?

In the U.S., bonded carriers have special permission to move things around the country and across borders without paying all the taxes and fees initially. This permission is given by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. Overall, this is super handy, especially when dealing with products that cross borders or when you need to store things for a bit.

Breaking it Down

The advantages of using a bonded carrier are explained in a flow chart, these advantages include: moving goods easily across borders, paused payments, and accelerated customs checks.

Here’s a simple layout of how bonded carriers work:

  1. Special Card: Bonded carriers get a special card that says, “Hey, they can move things that need taxes and fees, but they don’t have to pay right away.”
  2. Moving Goods: These carriers can move goods coming into the country but haven’t finished all the customs checks yet. They’re helping things move while the official stuff gets sorted out.
  3. Pause on Payments: The cool part is that these carriers can move goods without paying the taxes and fees right when they pick them up. They get a little extra time to pay.
  4. Customs Check: When the goods they’re carrying reach where they’re supposed to go, or if they’re going through customs, the carriers must pay the taxes and fees they owe. Otherwise, there could be penalties.

So, What’s the Big Deal?

Bonded carriers are essential in getting goods and products where needed. They’re great for moving products that need storage or transportation before all the customs requirements are entirely done. This helps products keep moving while ensuring they follow the rules and pay the correct taxes later on.

A Lot of Uses

Bonded carriers can be a big help if you’re an online seller. Here’s when you might want to use them:

  1. Selling Across Borders: If you’re bringing in products from other countries to sell, bonded carriers can move them before you pay taxes and fees.
  2. Temporary Storage: Need to store things before selling them? Bonded carriers can help move them without immediately paying import fees.
  3. Trade Shows: If you go to events to show off your products, bonded carriers can move your stuff there without waiting for taxes.
  4. Quick Deliveries: For products that need to reach customers fast, bonded carriers can ensure they arrive quickly, bypassing long customs waits.
  5. Returning Goods: If you’re getting things temporarily and sending them back out, bonded carriers can make that easier.
  6. Global Selling: When selling to people in other countries, bonded carriers can help with shipping.

Taking Action

If you are planning to use a bonded carrier, then follow these steps:

  1. Figure Out Your Needs: Decide why you need these types of carriers. They can help with many things, like international shipping, quick deliveries, or other reasons.
  2. Pick a Reliable Carrier: Choose a bonded carrier to move goods between countries.
  3. Get Your Papers Ready: Have all the proper paperwork ready. This paperwork includes invoices and permits and helps customs go smoothly.
  4. Talk to the Carrier: Tell the carrier about your goods, where they’re going, and when they need to get there.
  5. Smooth Moves: Work out how the goods will be picked up and delivered.
  6. Pack Right: Follow the rules for packing and labeling.
  7. Share the Papers: Give the carrier all the documents they need. 
  8. Stay Legal: Make sure the carrier follows the rules for customs, including in both countries if you’re shipping internationally.
  9. Keep an Eye: Use tracking to know where your stuff is.
  10. Pay Taxes Later: Even though you’re using bonded carriers, you still need to pay taxes and fees when they’re due. Make sure to stay on top of when you pay them.
  11. Stay Updated: Watch for changes in customs rules and fees. This helps you be proactive when dealing with issues that could pop up because of these changes.
  12. Ask Experts: If unsure, talk to people who know about shipping and customs. They can help you make the right decisions when choosing a carrier or may have good tips for using bonded carriers.

Final Thoughts

Overall, in the dynamic world of e-commerce, bonded carriers emerge as reliable allies, ensuring your products reach their destination smoothly and efficiently. Their ability to transport goods before immediate tax payments simplifies cross-border logistics and accelerates the journey from production to customer. 

As an e-commerce merchant, understanding and utilizing bonded carriers can be vital to navigating international trade, storage, and speedy deliveries. By following the steps in this blog, you can confidently harness the power of bonded carriers, optimizing your shipping processes, and ensuring your products travel seamlessly across the global marketplace. Your journey as an e-commerce entrepreneur just got much smoother with these indispensable partners by your side.

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