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Customs acts to avert repeat of missing vans

The Bureau of Customs has tightened the rules on transshipment of imported cargoes by  requiring  the importers to file all entry documents and pay duties and taxes at the port of first discharge.

Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina issued  customs memorandum order  28-2015, requiring all shipments entering Philippine seaports to be covered by import entry documents at the assessment office before being brought to their  final destination.

Vanishing vans. The Bureau of Customs has revised the rules on imported cargoes in a move to prevent a repeat of the case of 2,000 vans gone missing. File photo

Transshipment, which is allowed by the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, refers to the movement under customs guard of imported cargoes from their original port of discharge to their final port of destination.

Lina said the move formed  part of the bureau’s measure to prevent the repeat of the  2,000 “missing” container vans of imported goods worth P2 billion at the Manila International Container Port  which happened in 2011.

The container vans were supposed to be transshipped from Manila to the Port of Batangas in August 2011, but the bureau, under then Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez, could not explain where the missing vans went. Until now,  some of the missing vans were never recovered  and only 600 have been  accounted for.

According to Deputy commissioner Agato Uvero, the practice of allowing the filing of entry documents and payment of duties at the port of final destination will  now be covered by import entry documents and the payment of duties and taxes at the port of first discharge.

He said transshipments will no longer be allowed and the filing of the entry at the final destination shall be strictly prohibited to prevent  containers from missing during transshipment.

The order does not cover shipments imported by accredited locators at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and other free ports, and goods intended for immediate exportation and Customs bonded warehouses.

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