Before we start the import process lets look at some definitions/explanations :
Consignee or Importer : Companies that are authorised by Customs and Govt authorities to import cargoes into South Africa from various countries..
Place of Origin : A place from which a certain cargo originates in order to be shipped to a certain destination as per the contract of carriage.. This place of origin could also be an inland destination..
Port of Load : A seaport from which the cargo can be loaded on board a ship..
Port of Discharge : A seaport at which the cargo is discharged from a ship..
Place of Delivery : A place to which the cargo is to be delivered as per the contract of carriage.. This place of delivery could also be an inland destination..
Storage Free Days : A period of time (usually about 3 days – depending on the port) specified by the port authorities within which period, the containers imported by the consignee must be cleared and moved out of the port or terminal.. Any containers that stay in the port or terminal over these free days will be subject to storage charges as per the port tariff..
Demurrage Free Days : A period of time (usually about 7 days – depending on the shipping line and whether the place of delivery is coastal or inland) specified by the shipping line within which period, the containers imported by the consignee must be cleared, and the empty container returned to the empty depot nominated by the shipping line.. Any containers that are not cleared within these specified free days will be subject to demurrage charges as per the lines tariff..
Arrival Notification : Also known as ANF – is a notification that is sent by the shipping line to the consignee and/or notify party mentioned on the bill of lading advising them of the expected date of arrival of the ship so that the consignee can arrange for the shipment to be cleared at customs either by themselves or their nominated customs clearing agent.. This ANF is general sent at least 7 days prior to arrival of the vessel..
Most of the shipping lines bill of lading indicate in the Notify Party field that the line is not liable in case of failure to notify and most lines consider it as an additional service to the client and are NOT obligated to send the ANF..
Carrier Haulage : Movement of the container from Point A to Point B under the control of the shipping line using a haulage contractor nominated by the shipping line.. In this case the consignee will pay for the same at the lines rate..
Merchant Haulage : Movement of the container from Point A to Point B directly by the consignee using his nominated haulage contractor.. In this case the consignee has the choice to negotiate his own rates for the same..
Redirection : This comes into play when the client would like to redirect a box from its original destination to another or change a mode of carriage from one to another.. Example :- A container is booked for final destination Johannesburg under the lines control and under carrier haulage.. Once the ANF is received from the shipping line, the client might exercise the option to change it from Carrier Haulage by rail/road to Merchant Haul by road.. The redirection request may or may not be accepted by the shipping line/port authorities depending on the time frame within which the request is submitted..
The import process essentially starts when the shipping line receives the copies of the manifest from their counterparts at the load port.. Once the manifest is captured by the shipping line or their agent into their systems, they should be able to generate an ANF that is sent to the consignee and/or the notify party nominated in the bill of lading..
Once the ANF is received by the consignee, they can then start the customs clearance process to file a B/E.. Once this B/E is filed and stamped by customs, the consignee can approach the shipping line for the release of the cargo upon arrival of the ship.. Normally below documents are required by the shipping line in order to release the cargo to the consignee :-
- Bill of Lading – this can be either an Original or a copy in the case of an Express or Way bill depending on what has been issued for the shipment..
- Bill of Entry in original authorised by customs
- Cargo Dues Order authorised by TNPA
The consignee passes on this release document to his nominated haulage contractor for the container to be delivered at their nominated destination for unpacking.. In the case of carrier haulage, the movement is automatically done by the shipping line once the above docs have been received..
Once the container has been delivered to the nominated destination and the cargo unpacked, the consignee has to return the empty containers to the depot nominated by the shipping line within the specified free days allowed.. The shipping lines monitor the incoming stock into their depots on a daily basis and charge demurrage (as per the individual lines tariff) to the consignees that deliver the empty containers to the depot later than the free days..
Only once the empty container has been turned in, the import process between the shipping line and consignee is deemed to be completed.. Further on, the shipping line has to do their manifest acquittal with customs to close off their manifest..
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