Customs: Five Red Flags to Look Out For
If you’re looking for a reputable customs broker that serves companies operating cross-border supply chains between South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Botswana, you should always do your homework first. We’ve compiled a list of five red flags so that you can avoid costly mistakes when choosing a customs broker.
You’ll be happy you did. You don’t want to end up at the mercy of someone who does not have the in-depth knowledge, experience, and necessary credentials to assist you properly with your cross-border logistics administration.
- Make sure that the company is duly registered with SARS as a customs clearance agent with a valid licence. Your broker company must tick this box to ensure they have the correct credentials to assist you.
- Be sure to test the extent of their knowledge regarding regulations and stipulations of the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964. First, as the client, you pay them to know it inside out, specifically how it applies to your requirements. Secondly, not following the correct procedures and regulations will result in the client carrying the risk and dealing with the subsequent repercussions, including SARS audits, penalties, and fines.
- Ensure they have the proper knowledge of customs procedures for ports of entry, including harbours. Different countries have different procedures and regulations regarding ports of entry. Do they, for instance, have a representation in the related countries?
- Competency in tariff classification/headings is extremely important. Every product has a specific code that serves as a description that must be acceptable to customs systems. Cutting corners, like when a broker company simply provides a group classification and not separate codes, where applicable, could result in hefty SARS penalties for which the client will be held responsible.
- Check that there are complete, proper, and, when applicable, separate clearance instructions for everything that must be declared. The risk here is that the client will only be protected if, for example, the value descriptions or quantities are correct. These will be seen as fraudulent or false declarations, and the client will again sit with penalties to be paid. Read more about clearance instructions and why you need them here.
Ultimately, it’s all about experience, thorough knowledge, and compliance with what is required to ensure quick, cost-effective, and convenient cross-border logistics administration. A reputable company, like Blackie’s Consultants, will assist you in minimising complications and delays and avoiding risks and penalties that will leave the client high and dry.
We believe that every client’s needs differ, so a partnership based on mutual trust is most important. Clients put their trust in us to deliver excellent service that speaks of our reputation and that of our clients. For this reason, we invest in a comprehensive process that includes a proper understanding of their specific requirements. When clients engage with us, we give them a complete information package with everything included for import/export legislation and compliance. Not in bits and pieces. We offer our clients the benefit of a proven track record of informing them, assisting with the necessary expert guidance and resources, and equipping them with everything needed for quick, efficient, and effortless compliance. We safeguard our clients by following the appropriate regulations, legislation, and procedures.
Contact us today to speak to one of Blackie’s expert customs brokers.