On Sunday, 31 July 2011, SARS will implement a stepping stone towards full cargo/declaration matching and acquittal. All goods declarations must reflect a valid cargo carrier code as part of the house waybill number data field. The requirement was implemented successfully in the sea cargo environment some years ago with the launch of the old Manifest Acquittal System; the challenge now lies largely within the air cargo community.
The ‘House Waybill” data field comprises two parts – The first part must reflect the Cargo Carrier Code (Eight-digit Alpha Numeric Code). This is the code assigned by the Automated Cargo Management (ACM) system to the entity who issued the House Bill of Lading e.g. the Groupage Operator or his appointed agent in the Republic. The second part must reflect the actual number of the transport document.
By way of faciliatory gesture to legitimate importers who may be blissfully unaware of the non-compliance of their forwarding agent / carrier, SARS will allow the insertion of a specific code “ZZZ99999” for non-compliant cargo reporters. This code must only be used in the event the cargo reporter is not registered with SARS for submission of cargo reports to ACM. The facility is a temporary measure which will be withdrawn after a short period.
In the event a declarant inserts the aforementioned code, the associated declaration will be selected by the customs system for scrutiny by a customs official. In order to remedy any delay to an otherwise legitimate import, the unregistered cargo reporter must immediately identify themselves to SARS by way of disclosing their company name and contact details to enable SARS to expedite registration of the entity for ACM compliance. The sooner this is accomplished the quicker the importer can obtain release if there is no further outstanding impediment.
Subsequent registration of the non-compliant carrier could also result in the imposition of a penalty against the entity concerned. Therefore as of 31 July 2011, declarants will need to be more vigilant concerning the status/standing of their local forwarding agent in regard to compliance with SARS reporting requirements. Once the temporary dispensation above is withdrawn, the effect of a customs intervention will directly impact on the release of an importer’s goods.
Freight forwarders, Customs Brokers and Service Providers are urged to make their clients and business partners aware of the new developments to mitigate disappointment. For more information refer to the SARS Modernisation webpage.
- Penalties for non-compliant Cargo Reporters (mpoverello.wordpress.com)