Avoiding Customs Delays When Shipping to Spain
9 April 2024

Avoiding Customs Delays When Shipping to Spain

Exporting products to Spain can represent an enticing growth opportunity for many businesses. As the second largest country in the EU, access to its 47 million consumers can significantly boost sales and expand market share. However, reaping these rewards requires successfully running the gauntlet of Spanish customs procedures.

With complex and frequently changing regulations administered by 17 different customs offices across Spain, clearing shipments can be frustratingly difficult, time-consuming, and unpredictable. It’s estimated over 25% of shipments to Spain encounter issues at some point in the customs clearance processes resulting in costly delays ranging from a few days to over three weeks.

For time-sensitive deliveries or companies operating on a just-in-time inventory models, these customs delays in Spain can be devastating:

➤ Late deliveries erode customer trust and loyalty in the Spanish market

➤ Storage fees rapidly accrue while goods stall in ports and warehouses

➤ Manufacturing outputs slow or cease awaiting delayed raw materials or components

➤ Rush shipping charges must be incurred to meet delivery deadlines

➤ Expired or obsolete products and materials must be discarded

➤ In the worst cases, customs delays can completely erase profit margins from selling into the Spanish market. So what proactive steps can you take to avoid becoming another statistic?

Securing an In-Country Customs Broker Should Be the Priority

Simply put, attempting to handle Spanish customs filings in-house is a recipe for trouble. Regulations shift so frequently that even native corporations partner with customs brokers for compliance support. A brokerage located in Spain offers ideal positioning to:

➤ Maintain close relationships with each unique customs office

➤ Receive real-time regulation updates and policy guidance

➤ Get advanced notice when documentation rules change

➤ Tap into a formal appeal processes to contest unjustified shipment delays

This local presence and expertise makes missteps less likely to happen. But more importantly, when issues inevitably still crop up, they have the connections to quickly resolve most holds ups. Having a Spanish broker in your corner can convert week-long delays into minor two-day inconveniences.

The ideal partner for avoiding Spanish customs debacles is a logistics provider with integrated in-house brokerage services located in-country. The seamless information exchange and aligned incentives ensure customs needs are prioritised. As an extension of the logistics company itself, they take responsibility for proactively securing timely releases.

Advanced Technology Solutions Also Offer Promise

In addition to a local customs broker, evaluating carriers and logistics providers capable of supplying enhanced shipment visibility and process automation merits strong consideration.

Integrations providing real-time status updates, documentation management tools, and inventory tracking visibility empower you to spot potential bottlenecks as they emerge. Access to digital freight platforms and collaborative portals also streamlines communicating critical information to key players the second it’s needed – reducing delays.

While technology alone won’t eliminate customs issues, when paired with an engaged in-country customs broker, it can certainly chip away at unnecessary stagnation. Every minute saved counts when operating on today’s lean supply chains.

Successfully competing in Spain requires overcoming the obstacle of cumbersome customs procedures. The optimal solution is partnering with a vested logistics provider or freight forwarder that also maintains an experienced in-house customs brokerage staff inside Spain. Augmenting that setup with technologies capable of enhancing visibility and documentation workflows will also pay dividends.

Hopefully, putting a structure like this in place will allow your company to realise the full growth potential of selling into Spain without customs serving as an anchor dragging down operations and profitability.