Container Release Message

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Important change concerning imports at Dutch ports: Container Release Message

As of 30 March 2020, a new method will be introduced for Dutch Customs (‘Douane’) to check shipments that are delivered to Dutch ports by sea. Currently, importers can submit their import declarations before the arrival of the goods. However, Dutch Customs (Douane) will no longer accept this method for declaring imports. This means that the final declaration can only be submitted once the goods have been unloaded. In customs terms, this is when the Temporary Storage Declaration (TSD) has been submitted.

Why this change?

This is an obligation specified by the European Parliament in Brussels. During an inspection on behalf of the European Parliament in 2013, the Netherlands was shown to be the only of all EU countries that first releases the import declaration and then checks whether goods have been unloaded. As a result of this method, many mismatches (between 4 and 5%) occurred with the Bill of Lading. Submitting import declarations prior to the unloading of the ship is not permitted, but it is possible, and therefore there is a fiscal risk for Dutch Customs.

New as of 30 March 2020

Import declarations can only be submitted once the goods have been unloaded. In customs terms, this is when the Temporary Storage Declaration, or TSD, has been submitted. This means that you will receive the release document from the customs agent at a later time than you are used to.

A second change is that Dutch Customs compares the declaration more closely with the summary declaration. This means that in box 40 of the subsequent declaration, you must correctly refer to the Bill of Lading from the TSD. In the subsequent declaration, a higher number of units of the same kind cannot be listed compared with the TSD. Furthermore, the gross weight also cannot be higher when compared with the TSD. If your declaration breaches one of these conditions, it will be rejected.

Automation of declarations

SGS Maco has integrated its declaration software with the software of Portbase (Port Community System of the Dutch ports). With the implementation of Container Release Message, SGS Maco will be able to fully automatically submit the final declaration as soon as the container has been unloaded. You will receive the release immediately afterwards. This means that we will have the fastest system possible.

Strict checks by Dutch Customs

Dutch Customs will also perform stricter checks on whether the number of units and the weights reported on the Bill of Lading are correct. Any deviations will result in error messages. To facilitate this check, Dutch Customs requires the declarant to establish a very detailed link between the Bill of Lading and the individual items on the customs declaration. This results in a higher workload for declarants who prepare the declaration of your shipment on your behalf.

In short

• Bill of Lading (BL) number: if the BL number is incorrect, Dutch Customs will reject the declaration.
• Number of units: the number of units on the invoice must be the same as reported on the TSD, otherwise Dutch Customs will reject the declaration.
• Gross weight: the weight on the invoice/packing list must be equal to TSD, otherwise the declaration will be rejected by Dutch Customs.

More info

In case you would like to discuss this implementation and the possible effects for your business with one of our specialists, we are happy to talk to you.
More info? I'm happy to talk to you
Quality Manager

Piet Vluggen