Exporters should ensure they encode the correct vessel registry number before lodging the Single Administrative Document (SAD), or the export declaration, in the Electronic-to-Mobile (E2M) system of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to avoid costly errors and delays, according to an IT executive.
The reminder was issued by Francis Pineda, IT project manager at E-Konek Pilipinas, a value added service provider (VASP) of the BOC, during a webinar on the recent implementation of the Online Release System (OLRS) for export declaration.
The OLRS for export declaration, implemented last January 11, now requires exporters to input the registry number in the SAD before lodging it in the E2M system.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero issued on December 7, 2020 the memorandum implementing the OLRS. The memo states that from January 11, “lodgment of the Export SAD without the Registry Number will not be accepted by the E2M System.”
Moreover, under the Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group Memo 25-2021, “encoding of wrong vessel registry numbers in the goods declaration is considered as a clerical error” pursuant to Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 01-2020.
Clerical errors merit a penalty of P5,000 under CAO 01-2020.
Last year, the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) called for a review and suspension of CAO 01-2020, saying the policy is a “huge financial burden” on exporters because of the heavy penalty it imposes on clerical errors in the goods declaration for export.
The OLRS was first implemented for imports to ensure that duties and taxes have been paid before the goods are released from the port or from BOC’s jurisdiction. The system has now been extended to cover exports as well.
The BOC assigns a registry number for every vessel calling Philippine ports, and this number can be provided to exporters by shipping lines and VASPs.
Pineda explained that after the SAD is lodged by the exporter or custom broker in the E2M through a VASP and is accepted by Customs, it will go through the regular process of selectivity, assessment and payment.
Only after payment is made will the Online Release System kick in. Without payment, the exporter will not receive the online release message that will tell the transit facility or port operator-either the Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) or International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI)-that the goods can be released and the authority to load can then be issued.
Pineda added that the release instruction to the port operator happens in real time after payment is done.
He said the system is designed to work efficiency and without need of human intervention.
Problems with the implementation of the OLRS arise only because the mandate to encode the registry number is not followed, he stressed.
Thus, even after the exporter has paid the SAD to the BOC, the systems of ATI and ICTSI will still not accept the release instruction, leading to delays and added costs.
Following the format for the registry number is not just in the memo but also in the system so to ensure that processing is fast, make sure the registry number is correct, advised Pineda.