What is Customs requirement on overtime cargo? Or rather, what is overtime cargo? What informed my decision to write this article? Let me begin by addressing the last of these 3 questions. Put shortly, this article is written for enlightenment purposes. I meant to say that this article is put together for the purpose of information. Many people have bumped into my office or website homepage to ask how long their cargo could last with the Nigeria Customs. Some of the enquirers are concerned about storage costs; others are worried about outright seizure. The question therefore is; are these concerns genuine? Are the worries timeous?
Frankly, worries about cargo storage charges and seizure are quit genuine. However, the question could be coming late if cargo is already on ground.
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WHAT IS OVERTIME CARGO?
Under the Customs and Exercise Management Act – ICEMA, a cargo is classified as overtime if the importer fails to clear it after 90 days of arrival at the port. All overtime cargos are subject to seizure. Once seized, overtime cargos are auctioned under the Customs e-Auction platform. The platform works on the popular and transparent bidding sales, where the best bidder takes the goods. Owner of overtime cargos are given some priority over the best bidder. If the importer is interested in the overtime cargo, he must pay for duty and all other charges to retain ownership. The importer’s ownership of the cargo is subject to the availability of the cargo. If by the time the importer of an overtime cargo is ready to pay all charges, the commodity is sold and exited, he has lost it.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OVERTIME CARGO AND SEIZED CARGO
A cargo might be seized for various reasons. The basic element in cargo seizure is failure to meet importation requirements or standards. For instance, an importer who imports substandard material that does not follow SON guideline is liable to lose his commodity. Again, if an importer brings in a commodity without following proper importation documentation, his cargo might be seized.
Overtime cargo does not mean that the importer failed in documentation or customs requirement. Failure to carry out cargo clearance and inability to pay required duties and other charges are the reasons for overtime.
CUSTOMS REQUIREMENT: BEFORE YOU IMPORT
Before you start importation, there are basic importation educations you need to take. This article will not contain all the basics. However, the following are some checklist:
- Consult with a Customs Broker to avoid pleasant surprizes
- Know the customs requirement for the commodity in question
- Failure to clear imported goods on time attracts demurrage, and lead to overtime cargo
- Ensure clearance of your goods within 90 days from the date of arrival at the seaports and 30 days at the airports
- False declaration of goods will lead to outright forfeiture. Ensure correct declaration always.
- Use of fake documents is crime when clearing your goods. This, apart from forfeiture of the goods, can lead you into jail. Always ensure the use of genuine Customs documents
CUSTOMS REQUIREMENT: OVERTIME CARGO TO IKORODU TERMINAL
The Nigeria Customs has hinted it has begun evacuation of overtime cargos from Apapa and Tin Can to Ikorodu terminal. Now this is not far from the ongoing decongestion of Apapa and its environs. All who live or work around Apapa will agree with the Customs on any directive aimed at reducing the gridlock. I recall that sometimes in the year 2018, the Customs had sought to do this evacuation. The hindrance as at that time was lack of capacity by the customs to accomplish the task. In that year, Customs sought help from the duo of Nigeria Port Authority and Terminal Operators. Could it be that the help has become available a year after? Overtime cargos cost money to relocate, and is not good for the economy.
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Customs requirement in Nigeria is not ‘rocket science.’ Begin your importation only when ready. Research the process through and thorough. Seek the services of an expert Customs Clearance Agent. Lastly, you can sublet your importation to Vagmon Integrated Services to do all things for you. Thank for reading, contact us via our contact us page.