SARS Customs to introduce 24-hour Advance Rule and other Supply Chain reporting


Enter SARS RCG Webpage here!

This Friday, 20 April 2018, SARS Customs will implement its new Cargo, Conveyance and Goods Accounting solution – otherwise known as the Cargo Processing System (CPS). In recent years SARS has introduced several e-initiatives to bolster cargo reporting in support  its electronic Customs Clearance Processing System (iCBS), introduced in August 2013.

Followers of SARS’ New Customs Acts Programme (NCAP) will recognise that the CPS forms part of one of the three core pillars of the new legislative programme, better known as Reporting of Conveyances and Goods (RCG). The other two pillars are, Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) and Declaration Processing (DPR). More about these in future articles.  In order to expedite the implementation of the new Acts, SARS deemed it necessary to introduce elements of the new functionality via a transitional manner under the current Customs and Excise (1964) Act.

Proper revenue accounting and goods statistical reporting, can only be adequately achieved if Customs knows what goods ‘actually’ arrive, transit and exit it’s borders. Many countries, since the era of heightened security (post 9/11), have invested heavily in the re-engineering of policies and systems to address the threat of terrorism. This lead to a re-focus of resources and energies to develop risk management systems based on ‘advanced information’. SARS has invested significantly in automated systems in the last decade. Shortly, SARS it will also introduce a new automated risk engine with enhanced capabilities to include post clearance audit activities.

It should also not come as a surprise to anyone conversant with Customs practice, that international Customs standards such as the WCO’s SAFE Framework of Standards, the RKC and the Data Model are prevalent in the new Customs legal dispensation and its operational business systems.

South Africa will now follow several of its trading partners with the introduction of ‘advance reporting of containerised cargo’ destined for South African sea ports. This reporting requires carriers and forwarders to submit ‘advance loading notices’ to SARS Customs at both master and house bill of lading levels, 24 hours prior to vessel departure.

The implementation of CPS is significant in terms of its scope. It comprises some 30 odd electronic cargo notices and reports across the sea, air, rail and road modalities. These reports form the ‘pipeline’ of information deemed necessary to ensure that the ‘chain of custody’ is visible and secure from point of departure to final destination. For the first time, South Africa will also require cargo reporting in the export domain.

SARS_RCG_ Message_Schema 2018

Download a high resolution map of SARS Cargo Report Messages here!

It is no understatement that the CPS initiative is a challenge in particular to new supply chain entities who have not been required in the past to submit electronic reports. In order to meet these reporting requirements, a significant investment in systems development and training is required on the part of SARS and external trade participants. To this end, SARS intends to focus on ramping up compliance amongst all cargo reporters across all transport modalities. The first modality will be road, which is the most significantly developed and supported modality by trade since the inception of manifest reporting under the Customs Modernisation Programme. The remaining transport modalities will receive attention once road is stabilised. 




  1. Hi Michael, just to clarify, apart from information that Customs will glean from this RCG requirement, basically the process is that the shipping line has to file the INBOUND manifest details of all cargo coming into SA, in advance before the container is loaded at the load port..

    If there are any issues with any container/cargo, the line will receive a NO LOAD message, otherwise it is clear to load..

    Does this apply to exports out of SA as well..?? If applicable, how will Exports work..?? There still seems to be some ambiguity around this..

    Can you clarify..


    1. Hi Hariesh,

      Correct. The line normally does this at master level, but can, in terms of SARS requirements, also file the ‘house’ level information, if requested to do so by the forwarder. Otherwise the forwarder will file the information themselves.

      The advance reporting of ‘load notices’ only pertains to containerised imports. As you are no doubt aware, South African carriers and shippers are required to meet similar reporting requirements for the US, EU and elsewhere, however this is in terms of the destination country’s Customs legal requirement.

      The LOAD/NO LOAD message will not be activated in the short term to allow carriers and forwarders (Customs clearing agents) time to ramp ip compliance.



    1. Hi Joseph,

      Currently, Blockchain technology is in its infancy. SARS, like many other Customs administrations and international logistics companies are looking at its potential. The technology also forms part of the WCO’s current research into e-commerce. Once technologies such as Block chain demonstrate more robustness and maturity you will find that new standards will also emerge to support specific environments such as Customs. It is also important to remember that companies and governments have invested huge amounts into their current tech systems and would need to demonstrate significant benefits in order to undertake a new technology. Its not just the software, but more importantly the IT skills and support that is needed to support such new technology.

      Thanks for your enquiry,



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