Bonded Warehouse

Cleveland bonded warehouse

If your business relies on international imports, a bonded warehouse may be central to a smooth supply chain.

Also known as a "customs bonded warehouse,” this is a facility where imported goods to the U.S. can be securely stored, organized, labeled, or undergo manufacturing/manipulation - free of import fees for a full 5 years. Bonded warehouses must adhere to stringent federal regulations and run a tight ship in terms of security, quality control, and customs compliance. 

On Time Delivery & Warehouse is a Cleveland bonded warehouse trusted for more than 40 years. Additional credentialing as a centralized examination station (CES) and container freight station (CFS), as well as ample capacity for distribution, delivery, and many add-on services make our Ohio bonded warehouse a top choice - particularly for businesses tapping into Midwest markets. 

Purpose of Bonded Warehousing

Global markets thrive on robust trade among countries. The U.S. alone imports trillions of dollars worth of foreign goods each year. Like pretty much every other country, the U.S. imposes import regulations to ensure safety, quality, and conformity of those goods. It also sets import tariffs, largely intended to protect domestic producers.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the agency tasked with overseeing the process, ensuring imports are properly inspected, counted, taxed, and tracked before distribution.

If all this had to be done in port immediately upon arrival, it would be a logistical nightmare with indefinite bottlenecks and backlogs. Upfront payment of duties and fees would be especially rough on companies that import goods long before they're actually needed to avoid sudden shortfalls.

The solution is bonded warehousing.

A bonded warehouse allows businesses to meet strict customs compliance rules while also leveraging flexibility in storage, tax payments, and distribution timing. Plus, imported goods get closer to their final destination, reducing last mile delivery costs. Duties are only due when imports are released for distribution.

Rules for Customs Bonded Warehouses

Bonded warehouses are held to high standards. All are expected per 19 U.S.C. 1555 to meet certain criteria for:

  • Security. There must be sufficient on-site security and supervision to minimize the risk of theft, unauthorized intrusion, or inadvertent movement of goods into non-bonded areas. They're subject to 24/7 monitoring and strict access limits. Any bonded warehouse deemed deficient in security must correct it immediately to keep bonded status.
  • Employees. Warehouse employees must undergo thorough background checks.
  • Record-keeping. Meticulous record-keeping of accounting and inventory for imported goods - including bills of lading, physical inventory reports, gate logs, storage contracts, billing receipts, pickup orders and delivery notices, etc.
  • Storage conditions. The conditions in which goods are stored must be safe and sanitary for warehouse workers and meet all applicable standards - federal, state and local - for the keeping of such goods.
  • Organization. Separate storage areas for bonded and non-bonded items.
  • Inspections. Bonded warehouses must provide regular and on-demand access to customs officials for inspections.

Exact operational guidelines depend on how the warehouse is classified. There are 11 classes of bonded warehouses, which include government-owned/leased warehouses, private bonded warehouses, public bonded warehouses, bonded warehouses that allow product manipulation and/or manufacturing, general order warehouses and duty-free stores.

On Time Delivery & Warehouse is a public bonded warehouse in Ohio that also provides cleaning, repacking, sorting, manipulation, and storage (both short and long-term).

Benefits of Using a Bonded Warehouse

Lots of operations benefit from contracting with a bonded warehouse, but the most "frequent fliers" tend to be forwarders, importers/exporters, manufacturers, and wholesalers.

Their ROI includes:

  • Easier, faster customs clearance. Customs regulations can be complicated. A bonded warehouse partner helps cut through the red tape while keeping you compliant.
  • Tight security. Even businesses not specifically seeking bonded warehousing sometimes prefer to contract with one qualified for it - because they know the proprietor has passed the CBP's rigid security and quality control checklist.
  • Reduced liability. Bonded warehouse goods are in the joint custody of CBP and the warehouse proprietor. The latter assumes liability for securing that cargo until customs clears it. If there is ever a compliance issue, the warehouse picks up the tab. Insurers offer large discounts to cover goods in bonded warehouses because of  established controls.
  • Customer satisfaction. When import inventory can be kept on-hand and ready-to-go, orders can be filled more quickly, with less risk of stockouts or delays. That boosts brand loyalty and reputation.
  • Low risk on unmoved inventory. If goods stored at a bonded warehouse aren't sold (or for whatever reason must be returned, shipped to a different country, or destroyed), the shipper avoids paying import duties/taxes altogether.

If you're looking for a reliable bonded warehouse in Ohio, make sure to consider not only pricing structure, but location and accessibility (close to ports, airports, and other transport hubs but also near the final delivery destination), storage capacity, and reputation.

On Time Delivery & Warehouse is dedicated to providing bonded warehouse services that are always secure, expedient, transparent, responsive, and cost-effective.

We Coordinate With Ports Around the World

Ensuring Your Imports Arrive Intact, On Time, Every Time.

Our Cleveland bonded warehouse customers trust us with customs compliance and expert processing of international imports from around the world. We routinely coordinate to manage imports shipped through: Port of Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, Port of Shenzhen, Port of Qingdao, Port of Tianjin, Port of Guanzhou Harbor, Port of Singapore, Singapore, Port of Busan, South Korea, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Jebel Ali, Port Klang, Malaysia, Port of Antwerp, Belgium, Port of Los Angeles, U.S., Port of Long Beach, U.S., Port of Seattle and Tacoma – Northwest Seaport Alliance, Port of New York/New Jersey, Port of Savannah, and Port of Houston.