Cruising through customs

Customs regulations affect all companies involved in international trade. Regulations, costs and delays are just some of the issues…

Logistics service provider Dachser has, therefore, designed processes that streamline operational functions within its customs team; which is made up of specialist personnel who are able to analyse and assess client requirements.

“As the costs associated with bringing goods into South Africa are becoming more prohibitive – especially when importing from Europe and the United States – clients want reassurance that they aren’t going to experience any unnecessary costs, or unanticipated time delays,” says MD of Dachser South Africa, Detlev Duve.

“It is crucial that our dedicated teams understand what our clients are importing or exporting, and the expected end process of these products. Certain end processes could entitle an importer or exporter to claim back a percentage of duties paid to customs,” says Duve.

While avoiding delays and storage during the customs process cannot be guaranteed, there are certain guidelines that can be followed to reduce them.

Duve explains that a key criterion is to ensure rigorous compliance with customs requirements. This includes making sure that the product is correctly classified, declared and accurately valued, and that all the necessary documentation is on hand at the time of clearance.

Most delays occur when importers provide the incorrect tariff headings, or do not have the sales agreement, proof of payment, or correct literature available. Delays can also be experienced when the importer does not have the necessary permission to import the product and for which a permit or a Letter of Authority cannot be produced.

Duve says: “Prior to beginning any process, we advise our clients thoroughly on the necessary requirements. We then closely monitor our clients’ entries and if a potential delay is noticed, we act upon it immediately through the various channels. Our teams endeavour to follow up frequently and escalate issues as required, until release of the goods is obtained.”

Duve says that the value derived from using an experienced logistics provider can lead to significant cost savings for the client. For example, bonded storage enables the importer to store cargo for up to two years, allowing for a better cash flow given that the goods are removed only as and when required.

“In doing so, the importer is required to pay VAT and customs duties only on those items extracted. Additionally, the importer can also transfer ownership of the goods, making the new owner liable for any VAT and duties payable.”

“We consider ourselves as an extension of our clients’ businesses and are committed to providing them with a holistic and seamless solution. This means that we take care of all aspects of the transportation, storing, handling and safe delivery of goods from origin to destination,” Duve says.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
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