Article by Liesl Venter from FTW
The advent of cloud technology, mobile connectivity and the web has made hosting for cross-border clients a lot simpler, according to Michael Henning, general manager of software solutions provider Easyclear.
“While the restrictions by SARS on foreign entities clearing goods have made the customs process a little more difficult, they do protect South African clearing agents and Sars against risk. It has created opportunities for agents and service providers to steadily improve growth,” he said.
The company, which offers a complete cross-border solution, has worked hard to overcome technology challenges.
“Connectivity in the more remote regions remains problematic,” said Henning. “As a software service provider to the logistics community our clients make use of all South African borders.
According to Henning, from a technical point of view one would think that with the modernisation of Sars all borders would be the same – and in most cases they are.
“Problems arise when there are complications with the cargo or customs declarations which require user intervention. The problem then shifts from merely an EDI technical or modernisation issue to an operational or logistics one.”
Standing time at inefficient border posts remains the most significant issue clients face, says Henning, as there are often major costs associated with long standing time. Delayed shipments have a knock-on effect all the way down the supply chain, sometimes resulting in a loss of business altogether.
He said based on the feedback from clients and the nature of the queries handled by the company’s helpdesk, one of the border posts that stands out as the least problematic is Komatipoort while the Skilpadshek border post is improving every day.
He said while the movement of cargo was being expedited as far as possible at border posts in southern Africa, there were still too many examples of inefficiency and unhelpful officials impacting on the movement of cargo.