Agent-importer "bridge" to save time and penalties on import entries

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Customs processing software specialist Impatex has developed a time-saving automated electronic "bridge" which enables importers to base their Supplementary Declaration for Imports (SDI) on the information already filed in their Simplified Frontier Declaration (SFD) by their customs clearance agent.

The new Impatex SFD-SDI bridge works between any agent and importer using the Impatex Customs Manager system. Successful submission of the SFD by the agent automatically transmits a message to the importer's own system, which uses the data as the basis for the later completion of the SDI. This eliminates double-keying of data, saving time and reducing the scope for copying errors.

The receipt of the SFD data also enables production of a "Non-reported SFD" report which reminds importers which SDIs are outstanding, and facilitates prioritisation of these declarations. This can prevent importers from incurring penalties for late or missed SDIs.

The SFD-SDI bridge was piloted by Wilson Logistics, and its customer World Design and Trade - both of which use Impatex Customs Manager for all of their customs processing. World Design and Trade operates both CFSP and Duty Warehousing.

Says Impatex MD Peter Day: "Using Customs Manager, an agent can provide an enhanced service to any of his customers also using our customs software. The customer receives immediate notification of the entry, and is no longer reliant on the arrival of paperwork from his agent - which can delay SDI creation and cause bottlenecks at the end of the month if paperwork for all entries arrives at the same time. The agent can also assist his customer by including additional information in Box 44 of the SFD - such as freight and ancillary charges and even invoice numbers. Again, this saves his customer from having to wait for paperwork to arrive.

"The SFD-SDI bridge also benefits HM Customs, by establishing a clear audit trail from the point where the goods have entered the UK, rather than when the SDI is produced later, as with other Duty Management systems."

Impatex has supplied Customs processing systems since 1979, and pioneered 'Intelligent' DTI in 1983 with the introduction of FCP80 for the Felixstowe ocean community. Its multi-modal Customs Manager software uniquely interfaces with all the DTI Communities - CCS-UK, CNS, Dover and MCP. The system comprises 9 modules covering DTI, ERTS, NES, NCTS, CFSP, Warehousing, OPR, IPR and Intrastats, all automatically validated against the full HM Customs Tariff which is updated monthly. Customs Manager is in use by hundreds of UK multi-modal freight forwarding companies of all sizes - including 15 of the UK's IATA top 20 - together with many importers and exporters.

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