Complaint

Complaint number
NTB-000-587  
NTB Type
2.8. Lengthy and costly customs clearance procedures  
Complaint
Various exporter/importers in Zambia , Zimbabwe , Malawi are facing current challenges with Mozambique customs Authorities , whom I believe are part of the SADC grouping . We request SADC secretariat intervention as SADC to salvage the situation which has seriously affected clearance of goods at the following border posts/ports Machipanda , Nyamapanda , Mwanza and Beira Port

The Complaint :

Zimbabwe German Graphite , Samrec Vermiculite ,Zimbabwe Alloys , William Over , Carnaud Metal Box, Zam Beeef , Unicef Containers have stayed in Beira port for a full month , Cornelder the port authorities are charging huge storage bills which in some cases would out weight the value of the cargo . We have had stakeholders meetings with both customs & Cornelder in Beira but Customs have not accepted any responsibility whilst Cornelder insists on collection of storage.

Shipping lines have also placed Freight Forwarders and transit agents on notice for line demurrage as the empties have exceeded their free period but still full inside the port

Some cargo has expiry dates / short life span like photographic material – will get damaged still in port as the documents are still a mission to be processed by customs

Ships / Vessels are going back empty as the cargo ( exports ) can not be loaded before clearance is done – most minerals from Zambia , Zimbabwe and tobacco from Malawi has been affected as the sailing dates are now one month behind and risk order cancellations
Zimbabwe , Zambia and Malawi are now at the verge of losing millions of dollars on these shipments currently stuck in Mozambique some of which are seasonal goods Mozambique

This problem arose because Mozambique customs introduced an electronic clearing system the single window electronic concept – to migrate from manual processing of entries from 01.04.2013 Coupled to it they also introduced the transit bonds registration and the bonds were to be managed electronically like the Zimbabwe/ Zambia situation
The bonds were requested for all of a sudden and the processes are quite long takes at least ….. (number of )weeks during which cargo was coming into Beira and got stuck and at Machipanda , Nyamapanda & Mwanza land borders to Mozambique
? The Single window concept itself has serious setbacks like it relies on network for connectivity which failed daily and could be own for days at outside ports like Machipanda , Nyamapanda , Mwanza , trucks pile at for weeks before any solution has been in sight
? Customs staff at Machipanda , Nyamapanda & Mwanza border post appear inadequately trained to use the new system as a result smaller queries take one to two days to be resolved , Machipanda & Nyamapanda seems to have have inadequate equipment
All the Despachantes were only given one access code per organization which affected the entry processing badly with documents piling as vessels arrived inland and that even for imports from other regional countries , are initiated from Customs in Beira to give reference numbers called Contra Marcas in order to proceed with the clearances
Alfandega had no fall back method in place as they refused to use the manual method to clear the backlog


Request to Mozambique,


1. Mozambique Ministry of Finance is requested to get customs to consider a parallel system to run with the electronic single window programme to clear the backlog in Beira port now and also consider providing release against Report orders to reduce further downtime in port . This will be a stop gap measure until the customs staff are well versed , fully trained and that the new system can work well

2. Mozambique authorities to facilitate arrangements with Cornelder to consider waiving storage for this special situation or at least offer 75% credit on the bills due which I must say are now astronomical based on the days the cargo has stayed in port both imports and exports

3. Mozambique authorities to facilitate arrangements with shipping lines to consider waiving completely the demurrage due on the empty containers or at least give say 15-21 more days grace period before demurrage starts accruing

4. Mozambique authorities to facilitate arrangements that Mozambique customs get technical assistance to assist roll this new programme out without causing huge catastrophies like this

We trust that our request make sense and look forward to getting your valuable assistance  
Status note
On 11th September 2013, Mozambique Focal Point reported that the alleged NTB´s related to the transit procedures in Mozambique, were removed, through the approval of Ministerial Diploma nº 116/2013 of 8th of August, which approves the Norms and Specific Principles to be taken into account in the implementation of Customs Transit of Goods. This Ministerial Diploma repeals the Ministerial Diploma nº 307/2012, of 15 of November.

Pursuance to reaching a common understanding on this matter, FCFASA members in Malawi reported that CAFAAM Executive Committee Members together with Malawi Revenue Authority, Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Transport and Executives from Malawi, travelled to Cuchamano and Nyamapanda to appreciate the various challenges (delays, costs, etc.) which came about as a result of the new transit procedures introduced in Mozambique in April 2013. The delegation met with Mozambique customs , Beira , Port authorities and had an opportunity to interact with Mozambican Clearing and Forwarding Agents and some Malawian drivers during the launch of the Diploma nº 116/2013 of 8th of August.

The delegation reported:-
1. It was agreed that the new Transit Bond Procedures in Mozambique are in line with international practice and appreciated the fact that in the absence of these procedures, a lot of traders were smuggling goods into Mozambique under the guise of “transit cargo”.
2. Mozambican Clearing agents had been given adequate notice to put in place the required bond guarantees although they were not ready by implementation date.
3. The general consensus was that the conditions (e.g. the required collateral) set up by banks, insurance companies and the authorities themselves for setting up the transit bond guarantees were too tough to be met by transporters and forwarding agents.
4. To this end, the Mozambican Government’s had exempted some products (tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, etc.) from monetary bonding and reduced bond values from 100% on containerized cargo to 20% or 35% on break-bulk cargo. This measure would reduce pressure on the available bond levels for other cargo not exempted.
5. That there was need to license more “Despachantes” to speed up clearance procedures or alternatively, allow forwarding agents to be doing own customs clearing of cargo which they are moving.
6. There was need for Station Managers at the various borders to be taking stock of trucks available at the borders every day and talk to drivers who have stayed at the border for more than a day to encourage them to proceed with their journey so as to minimise the prevalent corrupt practices by some customs officers, guards, clearing agent.
7. A proposal to set up a “Help Desk” at the borders to achieve transparency and quarterly meetings between the various players at senior level.
8. Joint border training sessions between customs and other authorities and clearing & forwarding agents to be enhanced.
9.That various customs authorities establish a deliberate policy for Accrediting Clearing agents based on an exhaustive Risk assessment of each one of the agents and track record in order to “smoke out” fraudulent clearing and forwarding agents who cheat importers or assist them with smuggling practices,.

10. That Mozambican authorities should endeavor to translate and display the various rules and regulations into English to enable none Portuguese speaking people to understand the applicable regulations.
11.Mozambique customs advised that:
a. Clearing Agent need to quickly do a Supplementary Entry if there are any changes to a declaration (e.g. amending border of exit, amending values or quantity of goods, etc.) to avoid truck delays at the border or bond acquittals being blocked.
b. Once CORRECT documents are lodged and payment effected, their processing time is up to 3 hours only.
c. They would as far as possible, be rotating their staff to avoid corruption if they familiarize themselves too much to one border station.  
Progress update note
1. On 18 June 2013, Mozambique Focal Point reported that Mozambique has requested the assistance of SADC Secretariat in advising Member States on raising awareness of the carriers on the introduction of the single window.


2.On 15 May 2013, A stakeholder from Zimbabwe reported as follows:

Some of the current challenges experienced at the Beira Port on the
Ground are:

i. Albeit the manual system is in operation it has bottle necks as only one or two senior officers are authorised to sign off release of processed entries.

ii. Cornelder is insisting on charging storage for all containers that remained uncleared in the port during the period the new system was operational. The storage bills are huge such that some importers may be forced to abandon their containers.

iii. Shipping lines are insisting on line demurrage.

iv. Most containers including all break-bulk cargo is subject to customs escort. Trucks are batched in lots of three and only escorted end of day for a fee of MT 2 500.

v. The process of registering clearing agents and raising bonds is still ongoing. Smaller agents will disappear because it would appear the bonds are currently obtainable from banks and most are failing to raise bonds.

vi. As long as few agents are registered, the inadequacy of penal sums of bond will remain a challenge. It is common cause that their bonds will not be able to support the regional volumes passing through the port of Beira as exports and imports.




On 12 May 2013, the President of the Federation of Clearing and Forwarding Associations of Southern Africa (FCFASA) gave a latest first hand update on the situation following his visit to Nyamapanda/Cuchamano border where he held discussions with both Zimbabwean and Mozambican clearing agents at the border. He submitted his report confirming that:

1.The new system that Mozambican Customs is using DOES NOT have any technical problem at all. The problem is that a draw-down transit bond guarantee system that was introduced is not being supported by adequate bonds. At Cuchimano, for example, ONLY ONE clearing agent is licensed to clear transit cargo. This agent's bond is not big enough to cover the duty on all the transit traffic that passes through the border. As a result, The agent is only processing consignments of less than USD10 000 using the new system. Mozambican authorities are allowing higher value consignments to be processed using the old system. Even the smaller value consignments of less than USD 10000 are sometimes experiencing delays pending acquittal of others that would have been cleared before them.
2. Only four (4) clearing agents are licensed under the new single window system at Forbes/Machipanda border.

3. In addition to toll fees that are of varying amounts depending on the distance, a total of USD 119 is payable to Mozambican authorities for each transit truck. The breakdown of the charges is as follows: USD20 is a transit tax due to Customs, USD24 is for MCNet the system provider, USD25 is the clearing agent fee and USD50 is a fee that is due to the Bond Guaranting company. The USD50 due to the Bond company is for contractual clients only. If one does not have a contract with the company, this fee increases to USD100 (increasing the total payable from USD119 to USD169).

There is also an insurance fee of USD45 that is valid for 30 days to cover both the hoarse and trailer of a truck.





On 10th May 2013, Mozambique Revenue Authority reported that:

1.Mozambique Revenue Authority would like to emphasize that the Mozambique Single Window does not have any technical difficulties and does not have any problems as many would like to portray.
2. The Mozambique Single Window introduces transparency to the process of transit of goods and NOT new customs regulations. Single window only serves to implement the existing requirements, which ensure that ALL TRANSPORTERS are registered and approved by Mozambique Customs and that they have adequate customs guarantee bonds in place. The measures are fully in line with SADC procedures and contain no additional requirements.
3. Mozambique Revenue Authority also sought to clarify that THERE ARE NO DELAYS experienced by registered transporters or those agents WITH ENOUGH GUARANTEE BONDS LODGED WITH Mozambique CUSTOMS.
4. In Mozambique, a bond/guarantee is registered with Customs for a fixed amount, and based on this amount any transaction falling within this value may proceed in transit/bond to its destination. For example, say a bond of 1,000,000,00 MT is registered with Customs this will entitle the trader to remove as many consignments as long as the value for total consignment in transit do not exceed 1,000,000 MT. The acquittal of bond/guarantee is done automatically as soon the goods exit the country. In this way the trader can move goods expeditiously without being worried that his/her bond limit has been reinstated.
5. The Mozambique Single Window has good infrastructure and the service is available at all borders. MRA is not clear about the allegations of non-availability of the system at the borders because it keeps monitoring very closely and knowing if border offices service is down. The complainant is requested to provide more information.
6. The Government of Mozambique expresses concern about the current level of false transit declarations whereby some transporters indicate goods as being detained for transit through Mozambique, when they actually intend to sell them into local consumption within the country. This practice has become extremely widespread and has resulted in considerable loss of revenue to the state as well as created unfair trade for local companies who pay their full import duties and taxes.
7. As part of ongoing sensitization programme, MRA to make sure that operators are fully sensitized about the introduction of the Single Window well in advance, Mozambique has trained about 5000 stakeholders.
8. Mozambique requests the SADC Secretariat to assist by advising Member States to sensitize all transporters and transit operators to get registered with Mozambique customs and have an adequate customs guarantee bond in place in order to avoid possible constraints for transit goods.


Mozambique Revenue Authority are very pleased to assist all complainants to ensure the fast transit of goods from Mozambique and are always available for further clarifications, where needed.  
Policy or regulatory NTB
Yes 
Location
Mozambique: Beira Port (Seaport)  
Reporting Country or Region
Zimbabwe  
Date of incident
2013-04-01  
Status
Resolved  
Date of resolution
2013-09-13  
Product Description
All products  
Total value
0  
Date reported
2013-05-02 12:01  
Modified
2013-09-26 12:40