The return process can be facilitated by a shipping coordinator/department and/or transportation coordinator/department. The following recommended procedures have proven most effective for all those concerned.
1) The designated rep from each department submits their return forms to the shipping office once a truck is loaded or equipment is set aside for return. This package includes:
1.1) a completed Return Form.2) Original manifest (pro-forma) number.
1.2) a copy of the pro-forma shipping invoice the returning item(s) came into México on with those items highlighted or circled.
1.3) An Equipment/Property Removal Clearance form signed by the department head, granting permission for item(s) to be driven off the studio lot.
1.4) Completed Loss/Damage reports on anything that has been destroyed or stolen, with corresponding photos and back-up.
2) The Shipping Department goes through each packet to make sure it contains all necessary information and should then assign each request packet an identification number. A simple R-1, R-2, R-3, etc. (in chronological order as they are submitted) works just fine. Keep a log of requests.
3) A representative from the shipping or transportation department spot-checks the load to confirm the number of bultos, make sure it matches the corresponding paperwork, it is packed and labeled correctly and nothing has been included that should not be there (such as personal items). If items not already loaded onto a truck check-out, they should be encircled with shrink wrap to ensure that nothing further is added or taken away. The person doing the spot-checking should sign off on a Spot-Check Status form and attach it to the shrink-wrap or loaded truck. This form indicates if it is okay to proceed or if there is a problem that needs to be addressed before proceeding.
4) After loads are spot-checked and cleared, Transportation determines which returns (identified by their “R”-numbers) are going back on which truck. The shipping office is then informed of the truck number, license number and driver (if possible).
5) Once the shipping office has received the truck identification numbers and can confirm the number of bultos associated with each request, it will fax all pertinent return information to the border for processing. Your U.S. broker uses the information to prepare a letter to U.S. Customs certifying that these items had been exported into México for use on your film, they originated from the U.S. and are being returned to the appropriate vendors. The letter is faxed to the Mexican Customs agency along with any additional backup, such as corresponding Shipper Export Documents.
6) The agency issues a return pedimento, a copy of which will be faxed back to the shipping office.
7) Once all the documentation has been processed and a copy of the return pedimento is received, the shipping office informs Transportation as to when each truck can leave for the border. Given the go-ahead after noon, they should depart the next morning. Because of the volume of commercial vehicles leaving México, trucks leaving after noon run a high risk of not being able to cross back into the U.S. that day.
8) The shipping office contacts the vendors of the returning items to let them know what is coming back; approximately when it is due to arrive; and verify where it is to be delivered, the hours it can be delivered and a contact and phone number to give the driver.
9) The shipping office will make special arrangements for:
9.1) the return of shipments that had entered México in-bond
9.2) Shipments that need to be returned long-distances by outside carriers
9.3) the return of firearms or ammunition (which needs to be escorted by the Mexican military)
9.4) the return of items that had entered México without the proper documentation
10) Transportation must make sure each departing truck does not exceed proper weight restrictions and that it carries any necessary permits. When trucks cross the border into Otay Mesa, they are on City of San Diego roads (which are not governed by the state of California) and require City of San Diego permits. (The production must submit a certificate of insurance in advance to the City of San Diego naming them as additional insured.)
11) Each evening, a report should be generated listing the returns to leave the following morning. This report documents specific routing and delivery instructions for Transportation and allows them to assess their needs on the other side of the border; it informs your custom broker as to which loads/trucks to expect; it informs your production department of which items are being returned and will soon be off rental; and it provides a permanent record of when items are returned and which trucks they were transported by should any questions or problems arise regarding rental stop dates, lost, damaged or misplaced items.
12) Each morning, the departing trucks are spot-checked once again to make sure nothing has been altered and the paperwork still matches the load. The last person to spot-check the load should sign off on the Equipment/Property Removal Clearance form, and the truck should be sealed.
The driver is given a complete package of return documentation and will be directed to the agency in Tijuana to pick-up the original pedimento, the letter to U.S. Customs and any additional backup materials. They will then be directed into Mexican Customs, and from there, U.S. Customs. No one is allowed to accompany the truck through U.S. Customs other than the driver. An additional passenger in the cab would be required to walk through the border. If there is a problem with any of your loads, your custom broker would be called upon to help.