The new preferred trader programme, introduced this month by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), is regarded as an important milestone in the continued customs modernisation drive. Customs is a strategic priority for the revenue agency and the journey to modernise the 1964 Customs and Excise Act culminated in the signing of two new customs acts in 2014 to replace the old act. The preferred trader programme is detailed in the new legislation, which is expected to be implemented in the second half of this year. The ultimate objective of the programme is to move away from the traditional customs "gate-keeper approach" to a more risk-based approach. Duane Newman, joint MD of Cova Advisory & Associates, says the two big issues in an import and export supply chain are time and cost. "The aim of the programme is to save time with fewer stops when goods are imported or exported, and to use nonintrusive inspection techniques, rather than unpacking a container (which can take ages)," sa...

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