SA – Hub for computerised Regional Integration?

AfricaFrom time to time it is nice to reflect on a good news story within the local customs and logistics industry. Freight & Trade Weekly’s (2015.11.06, page 4) article – “SA will be base for development of single customs platform” provides such a basis for reflection. The article reports on the recent merger of freight industry IT service providers Compu-Clearing and Core Freight and their plans to establish a robust and agile IT solution for trade on the African sub-continent.

In recent years local software development companies have facilitated most of the IT changes emerging from the Customs Modernisation Programme. Service Providers also known as computer bureaus have been in existence as far back as the early 1980’s when Customs introduced its first automated system ‘CAPE’. They have followed and influenced Customs developments that have resulted in the modern computerised and electronic communication platforms we have today. For those who do not know there are today at least 20 such service providers bringing a variety of software solutions to the market. Several of these provide a whole lot more than just customs software, offering solutions for warehousing, logistics and more. As the FTW article suggests, ongoing demands by trade customers and the ever-evolving technology space means that these software solutions will offer even greater customization, functionality, integration and ease of use for customers.

What is also clear is that these companies are no longer pure software development houses. While compliance with Customs law applies to specific parties required to registered and/or licensed for Customs purposes, the terrain on which the software company plays has become vital to enable these licensees or registrants the ‘ability to comply’ within the modern digital environment. This means that Service Providers need to have more than just IT skills, most importantly a better understanding of the laws affecting their customers – the importers, exporters, Customs brokers, freight forwarders, warehouse operators, etc.

Under the new Customs Control Act, for instance, the sheer level of compliance – subject to punitive measures in the fullness of time – will compel Service Providers to have a keen understanding of both the ‘letter of the law’ as well as the ability to translate this into user-friendly solutions that will provide comfort to their customers. Comfort to the extent that Customs registrants and licensees will have confidence that their preferred software solutions not only provide the tools for trading, but also the means for compliance of the law. Then, there is also the matter of scalability of these solutions to keep pace with ongoing local, regional and global supply chain demands.

The recent Customs Modernisation Programme realised significant technological advances with associated benefits for both SARS and trade alike. For the customs and shipping industry quantification of these benefits probably lies more in ‘improved convenience’ and ‘speed’ of the customer’s interaction with SARS than cost-savings itself. My next installment on this subject will consider the question of cross-border trade and how modern customs systems can influence and lead to increased regional trade.

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Container Cleaning Business for Sale

IBC_Robotics-600x0Within a decade the number of containers being shipped throughout the world is expected to double from 30 to 60 million containers. To facilitate this level of trade there will be many challenges ahead for our industry. One challenge that is often overlooked is keeping every single container clean after and before transit.

However, Swedish start-up IBC Robotics believes it has the technology to meet this challenge through its new IBA system. This breakthrough product is an environment friendly and automated cleaning solution for ship containers and a far cry from today’s manual, time consuming and often dangerous cleaning methods.

IBC was founded in 2010, based on an invention by Kerstin Eriksson, founder and still majority shareholder of the company. IBC Robotics has in a close collaboration with a.o. the Robot Valley in Västerås, Sweden, and academic technology institutions in Stockholm and Örebro, developed and technically verified the IBA system. IBC Robotics has already been granted patent rights for the IBA system in key countries like USA, China, Singapore, Germany, Netherlands, France, Denmark and Sweden.

This is where the IBA system comes in offering an automated and environment friendly cleaning solution to all involved in the handling of ship containers i.e.. The key benefits of IBA are the high grade of automation; the environment and health friendliness; the high capacity and high quality cleaning and last but not least the cost effectiveness!

When exposed to the IBA system the response from the target audience (shipping companies, ports, port service providers, goods importers and exporters) has been overwhelming and thus confirmed the significant market interest for the system. Though not available for sale the pre-launch activities have generated an impressive number of industry contacts, prospects and sales leads.

Final technical adaptation and verification of the system at customer locations are now being finalised. The IBA system is ready for market launch.

To ensure a successful market entry the present owners now have decided to sell the IBA system business to a company in the field willing to put relevant competence and resources behind a full market launch of IBA. For an investor/industrial company in the actual field the IBA system represents a business opportunity with significant international revenue potential.

For further information please contact Kent R Olsson – kent.olsson@exitpartner.se.

Source: Port Technology International