Singapore Customs introduced Advance Export Declaration (AED) on April 1st 2013, with full enforcement from October 1st 2014, and the ramifications continue to be felt. The 18 month transition period was intended to give shippers and forwarders time to reconfigure processes, adopt new systems, and align with supply chain partners. Not all businesses took advantage of this concession.
Some shippers accepted the challenge and hit the ground running on April 1, 2013. Others adopted a wait and see approach, and are slowly and somewhat painfully realising that the change is here to stay and they must comply.
Rather surprisingly, some have buried their head in the sand. This latter group must either be hoping that Singapore Customs are sleeping on the job (which they most definitely are not), or that somehow their broken customs arrangements are magically going to fix themselves. Either way, they’ll be disappointed.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
Many shippers who are proving Einstein’s famous idiom time and time again will have already had friendly reminders, warning letters or fines from Singapore Customs. Nevertheless, we still hear of far too many cases where the forwarder is charged with making a customs declaration, but the documents only arrive after the shipment has departed.
The message to these shippers is very simple: you can outsource the responsibility, but the accountability rests with you. If your idea of compliance is handing a pile of documents to your declarant when the container is on the way to the port then you should not be surprised if and when your shipments are held up for inspection, or even rejected.
There is still hope, however. We are seeing a rising tide of shippers approach us for solutions, and we regularly deploy robust and reliable customs compliance regimes on a single-broker basis, which place the shipper in the driving seat, and the costs under control.