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Exploring the implementation of the new customs act on the road congestion from the port of Durban.

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Customs clearance of goods and subsequent conveyances for import, export or transit is a key compliance that aligns various governmental bodies and industry stakeholders involved in international cross-border trade. In the Republic of South Africa, this function falls under the control of the South African Revenue Services (SARS). Up to this point, the clearing of goods in the ports by the Customs department of the South African Revenue Services (SARS) in South Africa has been conducted in line with the regulations of the Customs and Excise Act of 1964. A major restructuring of this legislation has been done on this Act which will ultimately be known as the Excise Act and two new Acts have been promulgated. These are the Customs Control Act 31 of 2014 and the Customs Duty Act 30 of 2014. The Acts are largely aimed at addressing the needs of trade facilitation. In 2014 the Customs Control Act 31 and the Customs Duty Act 30 were signed into law. The relevant rules on these Acts were circulated for public comment and are available on the website of SARS. It follows then, that all the clearing of goods imported, will be conducted in compliance with the new Customs Control Act. The compliances under this Act are representative of measures which are different and in contrast to those of the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964. The aim of this paper is to explore the implementation of the Customs Control Act 31 of 2014 and to ascertain its potential impact on the congestion of the roads by trucks carrying containers from the Durban Container Terminal and the flow of containerised traffic to various destinations in the hinterland. This Act is designed to comply with the provisions of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC)which sets out guidelines regarding effective customs administration in the modern times of international trade. These include simplified formalities and procedures of border control, standardised documents, risk management, risk analysis and management interventions and audit-based controls. The objective of this convention is aligned to the SAFE framework of standards designed to promote and facilitate legitimate trade and provide security of the international supply chain across all modes of transport. The researcher adopted a qualitative research approach to answer the research questions. Document analysis was deemed appropriate due to the nature of the study. The two pieces of legislation were compared based on their provisions regarding customs clearance of containerised cargo in the country. The results from the study show that most significant change between the two Acts is the changes in the place for performing customs clearing formalities. The study also found that additional containers will be transported on the already congested roads in the Port of Durban precincts as a result of the termination of the cargo manifest at the seaport. The role of the country’s inland ports in easing congestion in the port will also be diminished as they are not designated as places of entry in the country for customs clearance purposes under the Customs Clearance Act 31 of 2014.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.