Supply chain security in the maritime environment is underpinned by the need for seal integrity. The road to paperless trade eliminates much of the paperwork traditionally required for customs clearance and cargo reporting. The movement of ‘containerised’ import and export cargo does, however, require physical validation of the ‘integrity’ of cargo from its point of dispatch to point of delivery at destination. This is not wholly a customs requirement but at the same time one which any legitimate trader would expect in respect of the safe and secure transportation of his/her cargo.
Technology developments in the logistics industry see many forms of automated gate controls and inventory management. However, if this technology does not support a mechanism to ensure the validity of means of transport, conveyance equipment and seal, then there exists a risk of a breach in the movement of such goods.
From a customs perspective, all parties in the supply chain are both vulnerable and responsible for maintaining such integrity. For this reason, the introduction of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programmes and security programmes require a customs administration to implement seal integrity. SARS already contemplated the need for this through provision in the Revenue Laws Amendment Act, introducing Section 11A – Seals and sealing of containers and sealing of packages and vehicles. Formal promulgation of this has not occurred due to the fact that it is dependent on the licensing of logistics operators, its self a modernisation deliverable.
To illustrate at a practical and operational level the import of seal integrity, please refer to an article, authored by Andre Landman (SARS), place under “Downloads”, titled “Seal Reporting Requirements for Containerised Goods“.
- Where Does the Chain of Custody Begin? (mpoverello.com)