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BPL Inform - October 2018


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No applications for changes in rates of customs duty were published in the past month.




It is now mandatory for shipping lines and airlines to report to SARS details of all Master bills of lading or Master air waybills intended to be on board their ships/aircraft to South Africa. Details of containerised cargo are required to be reported at least 24 hours before a ship commences loading operations; bulk/breakbulk consignments must be reported at least 24 hours before vessel's expected arrival, while airfreight cargo has to be reported at least 2 hours before aircraft arrival.


The issuing carrier of a Master bill of lading or Master air waybill is responsible for notifying SARS when goods covered by a Master transport document are carried against subsidiary documents issued by a freight forwarder (House bill of lading or House air waybill). Reports for cargo consigned on Panalpina bills of lading or air waybills where Bidvest Panalpina Logistics is the local releasing agent are submitted to SARS by Panalpina and/or Bidvest Panalpina Logistics as the case may be. No action or intervention by the importer is required.


Where a foreign supplier uses the services of a forwarder other than Panalpina, it is the responsibility of that forwarder and/or his local representative to submit the necessary reports.


If a forwarder who has no local representation consigns cargo to Bidvest Panalpina Logistics on a Master bill of lading or air waybill, and issues "back to back" House bills of lading or House waybills to cover the goods on the Master document, it becomes Bidvest Panalpina Logistics' responsibility to pre-notify SARS of the impending arrivals within the timelines detailed above. To do this Bidvest Panalpina Logistics must have the documentation/data from that forwarder at least 36 hours ahead of these deadlines. Failure to submit a report within the stipulated time-frames carries a R5000 penalty.


Bidvest Panalpina Logistics has no contractual relationships with such supplier-appointed forwarders. Any penalties for non or late reporting arising in respect of goods consigned under these circumstances will be recovered from the consignee concerned.




Applications to the Department of Trade and Industry for annual, first quarter and first-half market access quota permits for 2019 must be submitted to the DTI by close of business on 6th November 2018. The application periods for quarterly and half-yearly 2019 permit applications are:



Permit PeriodApplication Period
1 July to 31 December 20191 to 31 May 2019
1 April to 31 July 20191 – 28 February 2019
1 July to 31 October 20191 to 31 May 2019
1 October 2019 to 31 January 20201 to 31 August 2019



A non-refundable application fee of R1025 per permit is payable until 31st March, thereafter R1095.




South Africa's importers and exporters have been given a reprieve by the Minister of Transport, who has agreed to extend the moratorium on prosecuting transporters of high cube containers for non-compliance until the end of next year. A joint technical task team has been set up to look at ways of minimising unintended consequences of the regulations. Law enforcement agencies have also been instructed to gather data on incidents relating to the movement of high cube containers to plan a way forward. Research will be led by the CSIR. The regulation in question is apparently based on an assumption that all loads exceeding 4,3m would automatically be unstable and pose a hazard to road users.




Notice of the 2018 Tax Administration Act Amendment Bill was published in Government Gazette 41987 on 19th October.


Of concern to importers and producers of excisable goods (Customs Tariff schedule 1, part 2b) should be a proposed provision to introduce anti-forestalling measures in respect of anticipated increases in excise duties. Increases in these duties are sometimes announced six weeks or more before implementation: the measure is intended to prevent importers/producers from avoiding increases by duty-paying stock during the period between the announcement and implementation of an increase.


Clearances of excisable goods ahead of the Finance Minister's annual budget presentation in February each year could also fall within the scope of such a provision.


Just how SARS would determine whether a clearance is a normal business transaction or an attempt to forestall an increase is not quite clear.




The licensee (operator) of a bonded warehouse must operate the facility strictly within the limits laid down in the applicable legislation, including the regulations, as amended from time to time. Special note should be taken of any specific requirements separately stipulated in the licence issued for each facility.


Some of the standard warehousing requirements include: -


  • Only goods specifically described on a license issued for a warehouse may be stored there. Nothing else of any description may be kept in a bond store for any reason unless authorised by Customs in writing.
  • Walls, fencing, gates and doors must be kept in good repair: no changes may be made without the prior written approval of Customs.
  • A bonded warehouse register reflecting receipts, withdrawals and stock balances must be kept on the premises together with copies of all relevant customs declarations.
  • Documents must be retained on-site for a minimum of five calendar years after the total clearance/removal of a consignment from a bonded warehouse.
  • A consignment is regarded as having been totally cleared when both the statistical quantity and the value of goods recorded as being in the warehouse have reached zero.
  • The pages of registers must be numbered and written up in ink. Spreadsheets may only be used for this purpose with Customs' permission.
  • Most goods can be stored in bond for up to 24 months. Extensions if allowed, may not exceed 180 days.
  • Nothing may be withdrawn/removed from a bonded warehouse unless the operator is in possession of a SARS release notification.
  • All warehoused cargo must be stored by consignment and each consignment must be clearly labelled with details of the covering customs declaration.




Little more than a year after torrential rains and high winds devastated the Durban area causing widespread damage, including container cranes being blown into the harbour, high winds on 30th October caused similar damage at Port Elizabeth. At least one container crane was blown over in high winds early in the morning, narrowly missing a Maersk vessel berthed at that quay. Damage also occurred elsewhere in the region.


At speeds of up to 102Km/hour, wind gusts as recorded at Port Elizabeth airport on 30th October were among the strongest ever recorded there.


As a result, Port Elizabeth is likely to be under-resourced for some time and it is possible that some ships may be diverted to nearby Coega while repairs are put in hand.