The Australian Customs Service said in a statement yesterday that the industry's campaign to revert the sea reporting component of its Integrated Cargo System (ICS) to the previous application was being "seriously considered" by the ACS and government.
"It is fair to say that the imports component that commenced on 19 July with cut over on 12 October 2005 has experienced difficulties during implementation. There have, nevertheless, been 450,000 inbound imports messages processed," said a spokesperson for the ACS.
The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, will hear industry representatives continue their push for reversion of the system in a videoconference scheduled for late this afternoon (AEST).
The import component of ICS, which the spokesperson described as the "largest e-government projects ever undertaken", was introduced last week, despite industry protests that Customs had not allowed them ample time for the changeover. A range of industry sectors such as customs brokers, freight forwarders, and air and sea carriers must use ICS to report goods for security and duty collection.
Customs granted a 12 day extension for the system earlier this month, but industry want this extended further. In response, Customs issued a statement late yesterday stating that it had implemented "contingency measures" to clear goods at airports and seaports after experiencing "difficulties" with ICS.
The statement also confirmed that Customs was considering changes to the ICS and undertaking "other measures" to speed up customs clearance procedures: "Consideration is being given to further adjusting some Customs requirements to speed up data matching which will also facilitate quicker clearance of goods. Changes to the ICS are also being considered."
"Customs has taken action which will allow many containers which would otherwise be held at wharves to move to depots, a move which has been welcomed by stevedores and many sectors of the industry. Arrangements have also been implemented to address specific concerns for car importers," the spokesperson said.