WCO News – February 2012 Edition

WCONews Edition February 2012Herewith a link to the latest edition of WCO News, providing a wealth of customs news and developments from across the globe. This edition focuses almost entirely on regional initiatives involving C-2-C information exchange. On pages 20 to 22 you’ll read about new developments emerging on customs inter-connectivity and information exchange in the Southern African Region. At this time, a conference lead by the WCO, involving representatives from UNCTAD, SACU, SADC and COMESA and SARS is taking place in Pretoria to establish a firm framework for introduction of customs information exchange. I will devote a dedicated article on these developments shortly, as this has implications for the business community as well. Also, don’t miss the feature on South Africa’s modernisation developments, pages 29 and 30. Besides the usual editorials this edition includes –

  • WCO Secretary General launches Year of Connectivity.
  • Evolving technology landscape and its impact on Customs.
  • Latest developments in Latin America, Southern Africa and Europe.
  • West Africa implements airport task forces to fight drug trafficking.
  • South Africa to roll out mobile Customs controls.
  • Operation “Short Circuit” successes and challenges.
  • WCO Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate

SA truckers – fines for cross-border permit infractions

Assuming that the RSA government favours the drive for increased inter-Africa trade and free movement of goods and conveyances, perhaps its time for transport officials to look beyond the letter of the law and automate their process.

South African truckers have been warned not to travel without their cross-border permits as they could face hefty fines. According to the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA), trucks dispatched to the border ahead of a permit being issued could be fined as the permit has to be in the truck at all times. “According to the legislation anyone with the intent of crossing the border must be in the possession of these permits,” said CBRTA CEO Sipho Khumalo. “That means operators cannot dispatch their trucks to the border and then send the permit with a car once it has been issued later to catch up with the truck. That is against the law.” Source: FTW

Record Freight Traffic for Walvis Bay Corridors

Walvis Bay CorridorsVolumes along all the Walvis Bay Corridors have hit a record high of more than 63,000 tonnes for the month of January 2012, reports Namib Times. The report describes this as a significant growth of cargo volumes along the TransKalahari, TransCaprivi and TransCunene Corridors respectively. From a mere ten trucks a day that left the Port of Walvis Bay seven years ago to other SADC countries, more than 1,000 vehicles are now entering or leaving the Port of Walvis Bay on a monthly basis.

Although some markets such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and DRC have experienced stronger growth than the other markets, a growth factor has been seen with all the Corridor markets for the past six months. The Botswana and Gauteng (South Africa) markets are growing slowly, with the variety of commodities being expanded along these corridors. Imports and exports for Malawi via Walvis Bay are also on the increase, as this market also offers an immense possibility of attracting commodities such as tobacco to be transported via the Namibian port. The Angolan market also showed an increase during the past 6 months as more types of commodities are being transported via Walvis Bay destined for Southern Angola. Source: Namib Times

Financial pinch affects CBP’s modernisation and developmental capacity

The US Bureau for Customs and Border Protection  has money to run commercial trade processing system (ACE) but not expand it. Customs and Border Protection has US $140 million to operate and maintain a commercial trade processing system, but there’s no money in the 2012 budget to further develop the program. The lack of development money, particularly for the simplified entry process, has caused concern amongst business community members. Simplified entry is something that Customs and the trade community are looking for to further automate import processing and lower transaction costs. Source: USCBP

SAD Story – Part 2

What is clear in regard to modern day business is the fact that ‘harmonisation’ in the international supply chain is essentially built around ‘data’. E-commerce has been around for decades, plagued by incompatibilities in messaging standards, and computer software, network and hardware architecture. However, one of the key inhibitors has been organisations and administrations having to adhere to domestic ‘dated’ legislation and so-called standard operating procedures – seemingly difficult to change, and worst of all suggesting that law has to adapt!

A lot has had to do with the means of information presentation (format) and conveyance (physical versus electronic) rather than the actual information itself. Standards such as the UN Layout key sought to standardise or align international trade and customs documentation with the view to simplifying cross-border trade and regulatory requirements. In other words, each international trade document being a logical ‘copy and augmentation’ of a preceding document.  This argument is still indeed valid. The generally accepted principle of Customs Administrations is to maximise its leverage of latent information in the supply chain and augment this with national (domestic) regulatory requirements – within a structured format.

The Single Administrative Document (SAD) was itself borne out of this need. The layout found acceptance with UNCTAD’s ASYCUDA which used it as a marketing tool (in the 1990’s) in promoting ‘What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get’ (WYSIWYG). It certainly provided a compelling argument for under-developed countries seeking first-time customs automation. Yet, the promise of compatibility with other systems and neighbouring customs administrations has not lived up to this promise.

Simultaneous to document harmonisation, we find development of the Customs data model, initially the work of the Group of 7 (G7) nations at the United Nations. Its mandate was to simplify and standardize Customs procedures Customs procedures. In 2002, the WCO took over this responsibility and after further refinement the G7 version became version 1 of the WCO Customs Data Model. Once more a logical progression lead to the inclusion of security and other government regulatory requirements. This has culminated in the recent release of WCO Data Model 3. Take note the word “Customs” is missing from the title, indicating that Version 3 gives effect to its culminating EDI message standard – Government Cross Border Regulatory (GOVCBR) message – an all inclusive message standard which proposes to accommodate ALL government regulatory reporting requirements.

Big deal! So what does this mean? The WCO’s intent behind GOVCBR is as follows –

  • Promoting safe and secure borders by establishing a common platform for regulatory data exchange enabling early sharing of information.
  • Helping co-operating export and import Customs to offer authorized traders end end-to to- end premium procedures and simple integrated treatment of the total transaction.
  • Contributing to rapid release.
  • Elimination redundant and repetitive data submitted by the carrier and the importer.
  • Reducing the amount of data required to be presented at time of release.
  • Reducing compliance costs.
  • Promoting greater Customs Co-operation.

Undertaking such development is no simple matter, although a decision in this direction is a no brainer! Over a decade’s work in the EDI space in South Africa is certainly not lost. Most of the trade’s electronic goods declaration and cargo reporting requirements remain intact, all be they require re-alignment to meet Data Model 3 standard. Over and above this, the matter of government regulatory requirements (permits, certificates, prohibitions and restrictions, letters of authority, etc.) will require more ‘political will’ to ensure that all authorities administering regulations over the importation and exportation of goods are brought into the ‘electronic space’. Some traction is already evident here largely thanks to ITAC and SA Reserve Bank willingness and capability to collaborate. In time all remaining authorities will be brought on board to ensure a true ‘paperless’ clearance process.

So, I digress somewhat from the discussion on the SAD. However, the bottom line for all customs and border authorities, traders and intermediaries is that ‘harmonisation’ of the supply chain operation follows the principal and secondary data required to administer ALL controls via a process of risk assessment, to facilitate release including any intervention required to ensure the compliance of import and export goods. As such even legislative requirements need to enable ‘harmonisation’ to occur otherwise we end up with a non-tariff barrier, uncertainty in decision-making, and a business community unable to capitalise on regional and international market opportunities. Positively, the draft SA Customs Control Bill makes abundant reference to reporting – of the electronic kind.

In Part 3, I will discuss regional ‘integration’ and the desire for end-to-end transit clearance harmonisation.

World’s fastest train scanner – Rapiscan

Rail Scanner, Port of RotterdamYesterday, 15 February, the world’s fastest train scanner was opened in the port of Rotterdam with the installation and commissioning of a Rapiscan Eagle® R60 rail scanner, on behalf of Dutch Customs. It produces images of a good quality while the train is running up to 60 kilometres per hour. The Eagle R60’s 6 MeV X-ray imaging system penetrates dense and densely-packed cargo. Installations in other countries operate at a train speed of 30 kilometres. Dutch Customs selects containers on the basis of a risk analysis. The scanner checks trains out of the European hinterland into the port of Rotterdam. Here, the containers are loaded on vessels for export outside the European Union. The scanning installation is located at the Maasvlakte area, near to the N15 motorway on one side and the Steinweg Steel Terminal on the other. Capable of detecting and identifying a wide range of threats and suspect materials, including contraband goods, drugs, weapons and explosives, as well as radioactive material, the Eagle R60 is a high energy rail inspection system, which can efficiently scan cargo containers as they travel at speeds of up to sixty kilometers per hour. When the train scanner is fully integrated in Custom’s processes, a container will only be taken out of the logistic process if the scanning image provides ground for it.  Source: Ministry of Finance /Customs, Netherlands.

SAD story – Part 1

Die-hard SAD fan! (Tammy Joubert)We all suffer a little nostalgia at one or other point in our lives. Those die-hard legacy officials – the kind who have more than 20 years service – will most definitely have suffered, recoiled, and even repelled mass change which has occurred in the last 10-15 years in South Africa.  In the mid-2000’s the advent and replacement of the tried and tested DA500/600 series customs declaration forms by the Single Administrative Document – better known as the SAD – was unpopular to most customs officers although it was possibly welcomed by SACU cross-border traders.

A political coup had been won by some BLNS states compelling South Africa to harmonise its declaration requirements with those of fellow members, especially those operating ASYCUDA. At the time, SARS saw this compromise necessary to bring about alignment with Namibia and Botswana to facilitate the implementation of a new customs clearance dispensation for the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC).

The SAD is almost universally accepted by virtue of its design according to the UN Layout Key. However, why the fuss. A form is a form. Allied industry in RSA were used to the three decade old DA500/600 declaration forms which were designed infinitely better and more logical than the SAD.

None-the-less, South Africans are adaptable and accommodating to change. Following on from my recent post “SACU now a liability” it is now the SAD’s turn to stare death in the face. As it turns out, through wave upon wave of technological advances, we no longer need the SAD. At least in its paper form. In SARS case it no longer needs the SAD – period. A newer derivative (strangely not too dissimilar to the DA500/600) has now gained favour. It is known as the Customs Declaration 1 (Form CD1). However, unlike the DA and SAD forms, the CD1 will most likely never be required in printed format owing to SARS Customs preference for digitized information. Needless to say, if nothing else, the CD1 will provide a graphic representation of the EDI CUSDEC data for the customs officer. Next time, I’ll discuss the rationale behind ‘customs harmonisation’ and its non-dependency on document format. I feel for the die-hard SAD fan!

SACU now a liability – telling it as it is

Windhoek:  The century-old five-member Southern African Customs Union is a stumbling block to the region’s economic integration agenda and has become a liability whose continued existence is no longer sustainable, analysts say.  They add that SACU, which comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa (the major contributor to the revenue pool), can best serve the region if it is integrated into the Southern African Development Community.

The Southern Times understands that the dominant feeling in the South Africa and BLNS governments is that SACU’s structural weaknesses prohibit it from advancing long-term regional strategic interests.  South Africa doles out billions of rand to BLNS under a revenue sharing agreement.

However, authorities in South Africa realise that the wider SADC market offers greater economic and strategic interests than the SACU enclave. South Africa has also apparently realised that economically and politically, its interests are better advanced through SADC than SACU. 

These are some of the findings of a study by Dr Sehlare Makgetlaneng, the head of governance and democracy research at Pretoria-based think-tank, Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA).

The Southern Times is in possession of an advance copy of the 2011 study in which key decision-makers in member states voiced their opinions on the usefulness of SACU to regional integration, economic development within the BLNS and South Africa’s weakening interest in the customs union.

The AISA study raises pertinent questions on what BLNS would do if SACU were disbanded. The over-dependence on SACU revenue ‑ vis-à-vis BLNS’s failure to come up with viable alternative revenue sources, lack of manufacturing capacity and a captive market for South African products ‑ also raises pertinent questions on BLNS’s future economic strategies.

That SACU has failed to address strategic economic interests of BLNS is bluntly captured by Namibia’s deputy Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Tjekero Tweya.  He says, “Namibia has been insane for 21 years of independence without a production capacity to produce even a toothpick. The same reason why we import toothpicks from China is because we need them, so we need to work on our production capacity and improve ways of collecting revenue.”

AISA lauds Namibia for establishing strategic partnerships within SADC to advance its economic and political interests.

According to the study, South Africa’s view is that SACU does not serve the regional economic powerhouse’s interests and even without the arrangement, trade with BLNS will continue under the aegis of SADC. Pretoria regards Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, the DRC and Angola as more strategic to its economic goals.

“SACU may become a liability in the advancement of South Africa’s interests in the region and the continent particularly if South Africa is not able to effectively and structurally transform it to serve the popular interests of the region,” the AISA study says.

SACU’s mission is to “serve as an engine for regional integration and development, industrial and economic diversification and expansion of intra-regional trade and investment” among other things. For SACU, the issue is its transformation into SADC. South Africa’s contribution to Southern African regional integration is best and effective through SADC, not SACU. SACU is largely a revenue sharing and trade facilitation organisation. It is not the organisation through which to advance Southern African regional integration,” the research says.

AISA dismisses long-held suggestions that SACU could be used as a platform to establish a SADC customs union.  The customs union’s structural weaknesses make it an undesirable model for regional integration.  The research points out that if other SADC members want to join SACU, they have to address their tariff schedules and international obligations under the World Trade Organisation.

SACU’s present revenue-sharing formula also presents a challenge to admitting new members.

AISA says the formula is structured for a win-win situation among members but does not encourage a win-win solution to problems inherent in the contribution to the revenue pool and the way the pool is shared.

“It is a zero sum game in terms of the way it is shared. It is a definite pool. If one member gets more, another member gets less. If two SADC members who trade more with other SACU members are admitted, their membership will have a significant revenue change within SACU. The revenue sharing formula is determined on the basis of SACU intra-trade,” AISA’s Makgetlaneng says.

The revenue sharing formula is the obstacle to admitting other SADC members into the bloc.  South Africa contributes 98 percent to the revenue pool, which is then shared according to intra-SACU trade or imports.  The more South Africa trades with its partners in the region and beyond, the more the revenue pool grows.

“BLNS import more from South Africa and when the distribution formula is applied these countries get the average of 90 percent of customs revenue. In other words, South Africa compensates them for buying more from itself.”

His sentiments dovetail with previous suggestions from South Africa to establish a development fund in which revenue is ring-fenced and used to finance infrastructural projects that benefit SADC.  The study says that this view is strongly opposed by Botswana and Namibia, which claim entitlement to SACU revenue and have argued that as independent nations, they should spend it as they wish.

But AISA argues that since South Africa has a trade surplus with BLNS, it sets the tariffs within the customs bloc, clearly depriving the BLNS policy room to determine tariffs.

“This study has proved that SACU currently serves as a stumbling block to Southern African regional integration. Its revenue-sharing formula is the obstacle to the admission of other SADC countries as its members. The position that it is bound to absorb other SADC countries and even COMESA countries as its members is opposed by SACU officials, scholars and researchers interviewed by the author.

“They maintain that it is not possible for SACU to absorb other SADC countries as its members. Their position is that BLNS are structurally opposed to the admission of other countries as SACU members. As SACU revenue sharing is currently structured, they (BLNS) have no material interests to see other countries joining SACU as members,” Makgetlaneng says.

AISA maintains that SACU’s interests do not serve the region’s long-term socio-political, economic and security interests and implores South Africa to oversee integration of the union into SADC.

“The reality that SADC takes primacy in terms of importance in Southern Africa is such that SACU cannot be sustained in the long-term. Preparations should be made for it to no longer serve as a sub-group within SADC. It should be integrated into SADC. South Africa should prepare itself for SACU’s integration into SADC. It should strategically and tactically ensure that SACU is integrated into SADC. This will be the qualitative step forward towards the reduction and elimination of the weak links in SADC’s chain driving regional integration,” AISA’s chief researcher, Makgetlaneng, suggests. Original source: Southern Times

Customs Modernisation Release 3 – SACU

Saturday 11 February 2012 sees the implementation of new modernised customs procedures and formalities at South Africa’s first SACU land frontier office – Kopfontein – border between South Africa and Botswana.  While enhancements are slanted more in terms of internal SARS customs procedure, SACU traders will no doubt experience some anxiety with the transition. For the first time SARS Customs Modernisation impacts directly on traders and neighbouring Botswana Customs operational procedures in a significant way, which will fashion operations at all remaining inland border posts of the Customs Union. Over the last few months SARS has worked with trade, the Botswana customs authority as well as the business chamber in Botswana concerning the intended changes and their impact on stakeholders. The implementation ushers in cross-cutting changes for customs staff operationally, new technology as well as legal and policy changes. In the case of the latter, a further element of the draft Customs Control Bill is introduced whereby foreign business operators (importers, exporters and road carriers) must be registered with SARS to perform customs transactions in South Africa. This is perhaps the single issue which has had ramifications for parties who regularly cross the border between Botswana and South Africa. Hopefully recent iterations of notices and explanations have helped clarify the SARS requirements. (See the SARS Customs Modernisation webpage).

Other modifications and changes include –

Elimination of paper clearance documents – this is a significant departure from traditional SACU processing where all member countries have relied on the Single Administrative Document (SAD) to facilitate intra-SACU clearance. With the bulk of clearances expected to be electronic, SARS will now only print a customs notification (CN1) which will specify the status and outcome for each clearance. This the trader will use in support of customs clearance in Botswana. SARS will therefore no longer stamp and authorise hardcopy SAD500 clearance documents. Of course, there is nothing which stops a trader printing the SAD500 for cross border purposes, only SARS will no longer attest these. As concerns SARS VAT requirements, arrangements will be made for traders to submit the CN1 for purposes of VAT returns. Details on this to follow.

Electronic supporting documents – already tried and tested at sea and airports across South Africa, traders no longer need to carry on their person hard copy clearance supporting documentation , i.e. invoices, worksheets and packing lists. These are only required should SARS indicate via electronic message that a consignment requires further scrutiny. Customs brokers and traders using EDI will in most cases have the SARS e@syScan facility available on their computer systems which makes it relatively simple and easy to scan, package and submit to SARS. In the event a trader cannot perform this electronically, he may approach any of the 4 Customs Hubs (Alberton, Cape Town, Durban, and Doringkloof) across the country, to have these scanned and uploaded by SARS. Alternatively, these can of course be delivered to the border post for manual processing and finalisation of a customs intervention. Supporting documents are linked to a unique case number which SARS notifies to the trader in the event of a risk.

Clearance processing – SARS has centralised its backend processing of clearances where goods declarations are now processed off-site at one of the 4 Hubs. No longer are clearances processed at customs branch office. All goods declarations – whether electronically submitted or manually captured – are routed to a central pool for validation, verification and assessment if flagged by the risk engine. In the case of land borders all clearances once successfully processed will receive a ‘Proceed-to-border’ message implying that the road carrier may commence delivery to the border. A key feature of the new clearance process is the availability of Customs Status Codes. These codes are initiated by the customs system at specified points in the process to alert the declarant of the status of his/her transaction. These status’s also indicate the follow-up required of the declarant to bring the transaction to a state of finality.

Automated Cargo Management (ACM) – All road carriers are now required to submit their road manifests electronically, via EDI, to the Customs ACM system. For now, SARS will not electronically match the manifest against the declaration, but will monitor compliance and data quality of electronic manifest  for a period of time before initiating real-time matching and acquittal. This will invoke a significant responsibility on both trader and road remover to ensure that they both provide credible data to customs otherwise delays will occur. Upon arrival of the cargo at the border, the driver presents a printout of his electronic manifest. The manifest number is ‘checked in’ by a customs official which in seconds brings up all associated goods declarations linked to the manifest number on the system. The customs officer is able to determine the overall risk status of the vehicle. Where no risks are present a status notification (CN1) is printed for each goods declaration, and a gate pass (CN2) is handed to the driver permitting him to exit the customs controlled area. The future real-time matching will comprise a combined risk assessment of both manifest and declaration information that will result in a single risk outcome. Such risk assessment will include both fiscal and security compliance features thereby bringing SARS in line with international supply chain security standards. Going forward, risk assessment will accommodate ‘all-of-government’ requirements ensuring that all regulatory measures and associated risks are administered in a single instance obviating the need for successive, time-consuming inspections and costly delays.

Automated Customs Inspection – Following its recent introduction at the Beit Bridge border post, the new hand-held inspection tool, conveniently developed on an iPod, allows the customs border control official to electronically access, capture and upload an inspection outcome to the central customs system. This significantly improves the efficiency for this time-intensive activity where the officer can initiate a status up date electronically at the inspection site, where previously the declarant would have to wait for the outcome of the manual inspection report and release note. What’s more, the customs officer has access to the underlying clearance data and can even activate the camera function and capture visuals of suspect cargo which can be appended to an inspection case for verification by higher authority or historical reference value.

There are additional features and functionality to be introduced at Kopfontein and all remaining border posts over the next few months. These relate to improved revenue accounting, new trader registration and licensing system offering online application and approval, and a new traveller and temporary import/export processing. More about this in a future post.  For traders, the benefits of the new solution at SACU land borders aim to remove random and unwarranted intervention by customs. All activities are risk driven via a secure ‘get next’ selection function ensuring that internal integrity is maintained and only ‘risk-related’ consignments/transactions are dealt with. Please visit the SARS Modernisation webpage for all the latest updates and notices on modernisation releases.

Adoption of container tracking will accelerate in the coming years

According to a new research report from Berg Insight, the number of active remote container tracking units deployed on inter-modal shipping containers was 77,000 in Q4-2011. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66.9 percent, this number is expected to reach 1.0 million by 2016. The penetration rate of remote tracking systems in the total population of containers is estimated to increase from 0.4 percent in 2011 to 3.6 percent in 2016. Berg Insight’s definition of a real-time container tracking solution is a system that incorporates data logging, satellite positioning and data communication to a back-office application.

The market for container tracking solutions is still in its early stage. Aftermarket solutions mounted on high value cargo and refrigerated containers will be the first use cases to adopt container tracking. Orbcomm has after recent acquisitions of Startrak and PAR LMS emerged as the largest vendor of wireless container tracking devices with solutions targeting refrigerated containers. Qualcomm, ID Systems and Telular are prominent vendors focusing on inland transportation in North America, which is so far the most mature market for container tracking solutions. PearTrack Systems, Honeywell Global Tracking, EPSa and Kirsen Global Security are examples of companies offering dedicated solutions targeting the global end-to-end container transport chain.

Ever since the events of 9/11, there have been a lot of activities to bring container tracking solutions to the market according to the report. Only now technology advancement, declining hardware prices and market awareness are starting to come together to make remote container tracking solutions attractive. Container telematics can help supply chain operators to comply with regulations and meet the high demands on security, information visibility and transportation efficiency that comes with global supply chains. Source: Berg Insight

Next Generation High-Energy X-ray System for Rapid Cargo and Vehicle Screening

Smiths Detection HCVportalSmiths Detection has unveiled its next-generation high-energy X-ray scanner, the first pass-through cargo system to offer steel penetration of 30cm combined with three-colour material discrimination. The HCVP 6030 viZual, based on Smiths Detection ABRATM technology, is designed primarily for high-volume cargo screening. It can inspect up to 100 trucks or container loads per hour. The new system is a combination of proven high-energy X-ray technology and advanced material discrimination provides best-in-class performance at the lowest total cost of ownership. It is ideal for rapid cargo throughput with high safety standards for truck drivers and operators alike allowing customs quick and effective enforcement of tax, revenue and fraud laws.

Customer interest in the new cargo screener is already significant and a series of orders has been placed with Smiths Detection even before official market entry.

The HCVP 6030 viZual is based on the most powerful HCV technology platform, incorporating Optical Character Recognition, Automatic Radiation Detection, Electronic Data Interchange and Remote Service maintenance.

The HCVP series systems offer accelerators delivering energy levels from 4MeV to 6MeV, allowing for steel penetration ranging from 230mm (9”) to 300mm (11.8”) while providing a high throughput of up to 195 trucks per hour with a scanning speed of 7 km/4 mph. This innovative automatic free-flow scanning procedure will guarantee a constant vehicle flow on site.

The system’s high performance imaging capability, known as viZual technology (optional), provides the operator with detailed radioscopic images of the container or vehicle and its contents with organic and inorganic material discrimination and colorization based on atomic number for the assisted recognition of threats. The viZual feature allows for reliable results in a single scan.

The modular compact design of the HCVP provides the ability for the system to be relocated, adapting to the customer’s specific needs. The HCVP is a standalone unit which requires limited external infrastructure. The system is designed for ease of operation with a minimal footprint, while still integrating the most demanding international security screening requirements.

The HCVP system’s automated scanning procedure allows the vehicle or container to pass through the x-ray system. The scanning process starts when the end of the driver’s cabin has been detected. The driver and driver’s cabin are not scanned. When equipped with the automatic radioactive material detection – ARD (optional), the HCVP simultaneously carries out both the X-ray inspection and an analysis to detect the presence of radioactive gamma and/or neutron materials within the container or vehicle. The system requires 1 traffic receptionist, 1 system operator, an up to 8 image analysts depending on need. Source: Smiths Detection

CBP – An ode in modesty

There’s nothing like beating the breast and extolling the homeland’s unselfish generosity for the benefit of mankind, or am I being facetious? Today’s post on the US Customs and Border Protection‘s website titled “CBP Leads World Customs Organization on Natural Disaster Responsiveness” , is a case in point. The reader is left in no doubt as to who was responsible for recent developments that provide for a Customs role in natural disasters. I read with interest New Zealand Customs‘ role in the Christchurch earthquakes last year – very understated and with empathy for the survivors. The WCO consists over 177 affiliated customs administrations / border agencies each of whom make some form of contribution to it’s various committees and resulting accords or standards. So what if CBP made a major contribution, its a cheap shot to boast at the expense of others who might also have contributed, if not to the same extent. Read the article here!

China leads shake-up in distribution methods

Out of respect for copyright, I would encourage all logistics followers to visit this link to learn more about a significant shift occurring in the distribution of containerized goods. Some food for thought considering local conditions in South Africa which currently appear to marginalize (if not discourage) inland localisation and multi-modal distribution of goods between the hinterland and major air and sea ports in Southern Africa. Source: FT.com

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