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Channel reports customs crisis easing

Channel reports customs crisis easing

Mitsubishi may look at claiming back costs incurred from belated imports after experiencing weeks of stock hold ups from the new customs Integrated Cargo System (ICS). However, most industry players are now reporting delivery times are getting back to normal, with delays subsiding.

Mitsubishi demand manager for digital electronics, Paul Calderara, said it had been forced to push some invoices for October into November as a result of the customs crisis. This had affected its monthly revenue and sales projections. The vendor was considering an attempt to recover some of the costs resulting from the delays once the situation was rectified, he said.

"But we won't in current terms - we are just desperate to receive stock at the moment," he said.

Although it appeared that the Australian Customs Service (ACS) was on top of the overall problem with processing imports, Calderara claimed the situation was not getting any better.

"They are back to their original revised dates for delays and we're still getting shipments through," he said. "We haven't lost any orders as everyone is experiencing the problem, but our invoicing is slipping."

Acer marketing director, Raymond Vardenega, said it was reserving its decision on taking recovery action. The vendor has formulated a series of contingency plans in recent weeks to avert a stock problem.

"Although stock receival has improved, there are still minor delays," he said. "Importantly, will Customs learn the error of its ways?"

ICS was rolled out on October 12 as a Web-based replacement to the 20-year old Custom Connect system. Valued at about $250 million, ICS had been delayed by over 18 months as a result of technical and business issues. Its official launch saw widespread reports of a backlog of imports at both sea and air terminals, with many vendors stating that stock had been held back by up to six days.

In a statement dated November 4, the ACS said less than 10 per cent of its import declarations were being entered under contingency arrangements for cargo clearance.

The department had also made several improvements to ICS which were streamlining entries, it said.

Despite the concerns uttered by Acer and Mitsubishi, other industry players said the customs situation had improved, with delivery times almost back to normal.

Kyocera logistics manager, John Fraser, said the vendor wasn't experiencing any significant problems.

While delivery had been a little slower, Kyocera had managed to get a lot of stock in over the past two weeks, he said.

Distribution giant, Ingram Micro, had also expressed concerns last month that the customs crisis may affect its stock supplies. Purchasing manager, David Peachey, said goods shipments were back on track.

"At the time of the problems, we had a significant peak in freight factors leading up to Christmas," he said. "Now we're back to normal levels. We were also fortunate to have a freight forwarder who was well organised, and informed us about the potential problems 8-10 weeks before it occurred. We also factor in a little bit of slippage in transit times, and we've been able to work within this timeframe."


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