Durban first for customs inspection changes

Part of the Customs Modernisation journey

Durban containers
Durban container copy
As part of the Customs Modernisation journey, a project aimed at improving the speed and efficiency of physical inspections at container depots is expected to be launched on 17 September 2012. The pilot is earmarked for the largest container depot in the heart of Durban’s container operational area, SA Container Depots (SACD), and will see a number of Customs staff moving from their current office in the city centre to the depot about 45 minutes away.
According to a statement issued by Beyers Theron, executive of the SAR&S’s Customs Modernisation department,” customs staff will be given access to the SARS Service Manager Inspection system when based at SACD, which will enable them to do their inspections and finalise reports on site. 
“They will be conducting inspections from 07:30 to 16:00, as opposed to between 11:00 and 13:00 currently to allow for all the travelling. At the moment 95% of all container inspections are conducted within a 5km radius of SACD. It is hoped that by centralising container inspections, turnaround times will improve from an average of four days to 36 hours.
“A new booking process for container inspections will also be implemented at SACD. Under the new process, a Customs Team Leader (who will be based at the site) will liaise with employees of SACD every afternoon to finalise the next day’s available inspection schedule. The Customs Team Leader will then send an EDI message via the SARS system to the clearing agent scheduling a booking time.
“In the event of an emergency that would not allow the clearing agent to be present at the allocated time, they can send an email message to a dedicated email address rescheduling the time. This needs to be communicated at least one hour before the scheduled commencement of the booking. The email address to be used at SACD is: durbancontainers@sars.gov.za
“ Traders/agents will no longer be able to contact Customs inspectors directly, but must make use of this channel for inspection queries/confirmation at SACD.
“Access to the inspection area at SACD will now also be enforced more strictly. Agents may only enter the inspection area at the depot if an inspection is scheduled and must wear reflector jackets and carry valid identification tags at all times.
“This project is aimed to be implemented in a phased approach at all container depots countrywide.”
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