SAAFF Accredited to Award FIATA Diploma

SAAFFFreight & Trade Weekly reports that the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) has been accredited to present and award the internationally recognised FIATA Higher Diploma in Supply Chain Management. “The industry  body was accredited following presentations to the FIATA Advisory Board on Vocational  Training at the FIATA Congress in Singapore at the end of October this year,” says Tony d’ Almeida, director at SAAFF responsible for education, training and development.

He said SAAFF was effectively one of only 14 professional bodies around the world accredited to offer this industry leading qualification. “SAAFF will be the custodian of the Higher Diploma which is pitched  at NQF level 7, two levels higher than the FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding which SAAFF is also entitled to award in South Africa, and which has already produced 22 graduates,” says d’Almeida. He notes that the minimum requirement for consideration for entry into this Higher Diploma is a relevant university degree, or a national diploma or the FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding.

“All accredited SAAFF  training providers may offer this  programme to suitably qualified students,” d’ Almeida states. He says this qualification is “very relevant” to the freight forwarding industry. “SAAFF therefore made the strategic decision to apply for accreditation to help alleviate the current critical shortage of skilled people who not only know the process of supply chain, but can also apply their expertise in innovative ways that add value to the entire process,” he says. D’ Almeida adds that aspects relating to global supply chains are constantly evolving, making it vital for every player to be at the forefront and fully aware of these trends.

“Added to this, the industry has to come to grips with rapidly evolving technology in our everyday business practices that is coming at frightening speed. Being able to ratify skills against global standards  and benchmarks brings enormous value to the business, the client and the individual,” he says. Source: Freight & Trade Weekly.

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Parliament Postpones Customs Bills

Thaba Mufamadi, chairman of Parliament’s finance committee. Picture - Financial Mail

Thaba Mufamadi, chairman of Parliament’s finance committee. Picture – Financial Mail

Parliment’s standing committee on finance (SCoF) has decided to postpone its deliberations on two draft customs-related bills until next year to allow importers and the freight-forwarding industry more time to comment on the proposals which threaten the status of City Deep as an inland port. This followed an appeal by the South African Association of Freight Forwarders that it had had insufficient time to consider the substantially revised draft Customs Control Bill and Customs Duty Bill, which required that imported goods would have to be cleared at the first point of entry.

The association, supported by a range of other business organisations, including the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, warned that the bills could be challenged on constitutional grounds if the process of consultation was deficient. All political parties supported the proposal by finance committee chairman Thaba Mufamadi on Wednesday that the deliberations on the bills be postponed until next year. He instructed stakeholders to make their submissions to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) by December 15.

Mr Mufamadi also took cognisance of concerns raised by Business Unity South Africa that parliamentary processes did not allow sufficient time to comment, for example, on the medium-term budget policy statement. Industry has warned of port delays and trade disruption if the proposals were to be adopted. The Customs Control Bill proposes that goods be cleared at the first port of entry into South Africa. This will mean that inland ports such as City Deep in Johannesburg would no longer be designated places of entry or exit for customs purposes. In the past, containerised cargo could move directly to inland ports on arrival in the country under cover of a manifest. A new declaration — of the nature, value, origin and duty payable on the goods — would replace the manifests.

SARS said these did not provide sufficient information to undertake a risk assessment. Another bone of contention for industry was the “extremely severe” penalties proposed in the draft Customs Duty Bill. Following the uproar about the proposals SARS offered a compromise earlier this week as a way out of the impasse. Instead of a clearance at the port of entry, a mandatory advance customs clearance of the goods three days before their arrival at the first port of entry would be required. Goods consigned to inland terminals such as City Deep would be released conditionally. The system would be tested for the whole of next year to iron out any problems.

An alternative option would be for the goods to undergo a lesser form of clearance at the first point of entry. This would still entail providing customs authorities with the same level of information on the tariff, value and origin of goods, which would be submitted by electronic data interchange. The importer would be held accountable for the information that was provided. SARS official Kosie Louw said that because this document would not have the formal status of a clearance certificate, it would not disrupt existing legal contractual arrangements, as claimed. The goods would still move CIF (cost insurance and freight) from the port to City Deep. SARS has also proposed softening the penalty provisions so that errors not resulting in any prejudice to customs revenue will be subject to penalties only after three warnings. These penalties will be discretionary and applied leniently in the first 12 months of the bill coming into force to allow business time to properly prepare for the change. An appeal process has been included. Source: Business Day Live.