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BPL Inform - November 2017


November 2017


The following applications for changes in rates of customs duty were published in the past month. Interested parties must submit comments to ITAC within 4 (four) weeks of the date the notice was first published unless otherwise stipulated.


Government Gazette 41186 – 2017.10.20

  1. Flat-rolled products of other alloy steel of a width of 600mm or more, classifiable under tariff sub-heading 7225.99. (Application for temporary rebate facility)

            Comment required no later than close of business, 3rd NOVEMBER.

  1. Flat-rolled, hot-rolled products of steel classifiable under tariff-subheadings 7208.5 and 7225.40. (Application for temporary rebate facility)

            Comment required no later than close of business, 3rd NOVEMBER.

  1. Primary flat steel (Creation of rebate facility).


An investigation by ITAC into the possibility of introducing safeguard duties for cold-rolled steel products was terminated at the end of September. The investigation, which began in July 2016, determined that the noted upsurge in imports of these products at the time the investigation was proposed had not placed the Applicant at a price disadvantage.


Last month's severe storm that brought widespread flooding and disruption to Durban and its surrounding areas is likely to affect container movements through the port for the rest of November and possibly well into December.

Although Portnet re-floated grounded vessels and opened the port to navigation quite quickly after the storm, damaged infrastructure has resulted in a substantial loss in operating capacity at the port, particularly the container terminal: almost half the port's RTGs (Rubber Tyred Gantries) were knocked out by the storm as were several of the container cranes that service the vessels, some apparently damaged by vessels breaking their moorings. At berth 104 a straddle carrier was blown into the water, rendering that berth unavailable until further notice.

Specialist overseas technicians were on-site within 96 hours to assist with repairs and re-commissioning of the damaged equipment, which is likely to be a lengthy process.

To maintain schedule integrity many vessels have omitted the port. Import cargo intended for Durban has been discharged at Port Elizabeth or Cape Town, with the intention that it will be returned to Durban when possible. Similarly export calls at Durban have been cancelled with cargo being consolidated on to subsequent sailings. Re-scheduling has also affected other South African ports where calls have been omitted or port rotations altered.

Re-scheduling and the diversion of traffic to other ports is likely to continue for some time. Decisions to omit the port on a specific voyage are taken by carriers at short notice on an ad-hoc basis. Importers should factor this possibility into their logistics planning.

Transnet has implemented a "staggered import block release" system at Durban's Pier No 1 to try to improve throughput in the face of equipment outages. Free storage periods at the port have been increased to allow for this. This means that transporters cannot access containers for delivery on demand.

Although carriers customarily absorb the costs of returning containers to the intended discharge port after bypassing it, clients should be aware that the Bill of Lading's contract conditions do not necessarily obligate them to do so. Decisions of this nature are at the sole discretion of the shipping line concerned. One carrier, A. P. Moller-Maersk has already introduced a Congestion Fee at Durban (see notice elsewhere in this issue). Clients are also reminded that carriers have no liability for delays arising during transport or delivery.



A. P. Moller-Maersk has introduced a port congestion fee from 27th October for all cargoes carried to/from Durban by vessels sailing under its Maersk and Safmarine brands on all trades except North America, as follows:


            20' Containers                                                                      US$ 98 each

            40' Containers, High Cube and refrigerated containers           US$ 196 each


The surcharge will also apply to all traffic carried by vessels in the North American trade from 27th November.


It is widely expected that other carriers will also introduce similar measures shortly.



Shipping space to South Africa from the Far East remains tight, partly because of reductions in capacity over the past year, partly because of cancelled sailings during October's "Golden Week" national holiday in China, and partly because of the traditional year-end peak season for consumer goods imports into Southern Africa.

Thus far the following carriers have implemented a Peak Season Surcharge on this route for the months of November and December.


            K-Line:             US$200/TEU*  Effective date 1st November 2017

            CMA-CGM    US$150TEU*    Effective date 7th November 2017


Other carriers may also introduce surcharges.

Many shipping lines have also given notice of their intention to implement further freight rate increases on this route during the coming month, generally at about US$ 250 per TEU.

*TEU: Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (i.e. 20' container). Surcharge is thus double for 40' units.



Nobody is permitted to import or export commercial goods to or from South Africa unless that person has formally registered with the Customs Authority for that specific purpose. This requirement applies in equal measure to non-South African entities wishing to import or export to/from South Africa for their own account. In addition, no foreign entity may import or export to/from South Africa unless that entity has formally constituted a business or branch in South Africa for that purpose or has formally appointed a South African entity to be its registered legal representative. Where a South African agent is appointed as foreign entity representatives, that agent must also be registered with the customs authority. In South Africa agents representing foreign entities assume the full legal liability of their principal.



This communication is published for general information and is not intended as professional advice of any kind. While every reasonable care has been taken to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the information contained herein, no liability or responsibility is accepted by Bidvest Panalpina Logistics or its employees for any damage or loss of any nature whatsoever resulting from the use or reliance upon this information.