Our roots stem from the creation of ALB Consulting Group Inc, was created in 1998. Our offices are located in Beauharnois Quebec, a beautiful small town on the southern shores of the St-Lawrence river, just outside Montreal, Canada. For Many years, ALB Consulting Group was the customs consulting firm for many clients, and also contractors for Export Links Inc, Customs Intelligence Bureau, Comtax (a tax consultant), as well as numerous custom brokers who required the level of expertise ALB provides.
In 2003, to better serve our clientèle, our Logistic division, ALB Logistique was created.. At the beginning, offering land transport, to now include air and sea freight.
In 2005, we kept expanding our network to include US Customs clearances though our agents.
Finally, closing the loop by opening our own Canadian brokerage division, ALB Customs Management Inc., in 2010. As of today, we continue to serve those clients who chose us on our intial journey and continue to add clients to our roster.
Our goal is to provide our clientèle with a new perspective through the prism of our unique knowledge, creativity and tenacity.
We look at the bigger picture and bring our clients a great depth of knowledge and experience specifically focused on customs tariffs. Customs duty exposure is complicated and one needs to take into account many factors such as country of origin, dumping, free trade agreements and free trade zones. We start by looking at the big picture for our client and then look an each entity which can affect the client’s duty exposure.
Benjamin Disraeli wrote, “As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.” In this business it’s true. That is why we conduct research which is unprecedented to get information which is not readily available. We scour US decisions, European decisions and dig up unpublished decisions. If the customs agencies give unpublished favourable rulings to certain importers, we don’t mind going after the information via Access to Information in Canada or Freedom of Information in the USA. Once we get the information, we use it to argue for parity for our clients.
Customs consulting is a very specialized field requiring knowledge in the law, logistics, technology, and many other areas. We continually study the developments in these areas to ensure we understand them and what it means to our clients’ customs duty exposure.
Michelangelo ‘saw’ the image of David inside of a large block of marble and chipped away at all of the unwanted material to reveal the David he saw. We call this creativity. In a similar way, we look for and see duty relief opportunities which others don’t see and follow through to create them.
Here’s an example of how we used creative thinking years ago to generate duty relief and recoveries. In Canada there is a little known provision which permits low value items, which are subsequently given away, to be duty free. We put on our thinking caps and asked ourselves, what products are imported with duty paid and subsequently given away for free? Then came our “aha” moment – pharmaceuticals. At the time, pharmaceuticals were dutiable and drug companies often gave out free samples to doctors to launch a new drug. The duty they paid on the sample portion of their imports was refundable. Most of the importers, who were often sophisticated multinationals, had no idea that some of their product was duty free. Our clients were able to get refunds on the duty they paid on samples.
If we believe we are right regarding an interpretation and it is worth fighting for, we are not afraid to take the matter through administrative appeals all the way to the very top and the courts. We are advocates on behalf of our clients to ensure the customs tariffs are fairly applied to our clients’ imports and no duties are overpaid. Our reputation for tenacity has helped us win many out-of-court settlements and favourable rulings for our clients. Some are unpublished and set far reaching precedents. We’ve also won a number of court cases regarding tariff classification.