Customs on hunt for ICS customer representative

Summary:One of the hot-seats during last year's crisis over the Australian Customs' Service (ACS) cutover to a new import cargo system is up for grabs.The ACS is seeking a new user representative for its Integrated Cargo System (ICS), the core of a massive new Cargo Re-Engineering Project designed to streamline the processing of import and export cargo and collection of GST.

One of the hot-seats during last year's crisis over the Australian Customs' Service (ACS) cutover to a new import cargo system is up for grabs.

The ACS is seeking a new user representative for its Integrated Cargo System (ICS), the core of a massive new Cargo Re-Engineering Project designed to streamline the processing of import and export cargo and collection of GST.

Paul Zalai, holder of the post from May last year on behalf of the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA) , found himself at the heart of one of the biggest furores in Australia over an information technology (IT) project when the ACS cut over the import component of the system in October last year. The cutover led to lengthy delays at Australian ports and prompted angry comments from state Ministers.

Zalai -- who was a strong critic of the ACS over the ICS problems -- told ZDNet Australia he expected the CBFCA to respond to the tender after holding the post under contract for the last three years.

Despite the difficulties, Zalai said he didn't think changes needed be made to the position of user representative for the ICS.

"It's worth continuing for at least another couple of years," he told ZDNet Australia.

"A lot of the damage was done prior to the implementation [of ICS] due to a lack of consultation with the industry. So that will sort itself out."

He said he expected any important change to come via an independent review of the ICS being conducted by consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton.

In its tender documentation, the ACS said the representative would "act as a coordination point between Customs and the international freight industry for the dissemination of Integrated Cargo System and related information".

The representative would also co-chair Industry Action Group meetings and provide feedback to Customs.

The new contract would run until 30 June 2007, according to the tender.

Topics: Government : AU, Enterprise Software

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