IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW INTERFRONT CUSTOMS BORDER SOLUTION
The SARS Customs Modernisation Programme will reach important milestone on the weekend of 16 August 2013, with the intended implementation of the new interfront customs border solutions (iCBS) processing system. This is the culmination of years of development and testing by SARS and Customs service providers and has been a major technical undertaking for all parties concerned.
Extensive parallel testing has been performed with the new automated system which has been running concurrently with the legacy systems that it will replace. This has demonstrated how the new management system will operate in the operational environment.
Preparations for the go-live include a detailed business continuity plan, focussing particularly on emergency cargo, land border traffic and express cargo operations. Traders are requested to process advance declarations before the weekend as the SARS system is expected to be unavailable from Friday 16 August 2013 from about 13:00. If cargo is cleared by Friday, trucks will still be able to move through the borders over the weekend. In terms of system downtime, contingency plans have been set up to ensure that emergency declarations will be processed and cargo enabled to move through the borders timeously.
The system changes will be introduced over a period when the volumes of import declarations are at the lowest levels in order to minimise disruptions to commercial trade. SARS is confident that sufficient contingency measures will be in place to assist who encounter problems.
In instances of emergency cargo release from Customs during the weekend, you may contact a special Customs Operations Room on the following numbers which will be operational 24 hours per day over the weekend: 012 422 7178, 012 422 6971 and 012 422 8852. For technical matters that may arise, your trade and their intermediaries and their service providers have established channels with SARS through which these matters will be escalated. As a back-up, the following number is available for technical, policy and modernisation issues: 0860 22 2736.
SARS will continue to be cautious with its roll-out approach over this weekend. If serious risks do arise in the build-up to implementation or during implementation itself, SARS will reconsider the continuation of the implementation of the new system. The final call to launch implementation will be deferred to the last minute over the weekend.