Effective from July 1st 2023, freight forwarders are required to update their import procedures for shipments entering Brazil to comply with recently introduced customs regulations. The Cargo and Transit Control (CCT) Import System is an innovative addition to the “Portal Único de Comércio Exterior” (Foreign Trade Single Portal), specifically designed for overseeing cargo and transit during the import process. This system will gradually phase out the existing Mantra System as it becomes the standard for import control procedures. Therefore, it is imperative for air freight forwarders to acquaint themselves with this new system to ensure seamless compliance and the successful completion of import transactions into Brazil.
In this article, we will provide useful insights for freight forwarders in our network who are engaged in business activities in Brazil to make it easier for them to comply with the new customs regulations in the country.
A look at the new customs regulations in Brazil
The Brazilian customs authorities rolled out these new measures in January 2023 with the anticipated full deployment for July 2023. Training opportunities will be offered within the Siscomex Single Portal training environment to facilitate a smooth transition. It is highly advisable to commence testing promptly to adapt systems to the upcoming processes. Brazil Customs had previously announced the implementation of electronic Advance Cargo Information (ACI). Now it is mandatory for carriers to submit Import, transit, and NIL Cargo information well in advance of the flight’s arrival at its destination, regardless of whether it’s a short-haul or long-haul flight.
The source data for this submission includes the House Waybill (HAWB), the Master Air Waybill (MAWB), and flight manifest information. Pilot testing for this initiative commenced in November 2020, and the BR Customs systems are open for testing from February to March 2023. This innovative approach is set to bring about a significant enhancement in customs clearance times for imports, spanning both primary and secondary zones. Furthermore, the introduction of a nearly paperless process is expected to yield substantial benefits that will effectively reduce bureaucratic obstacles. The implementation of this streamlined system, will allow the air freight forwarders to provide more efficient and seamless customs operations to its clients.
How the changes will affect the air freight forwarders
As pointed out by Regiane Pimenta, Sales & Operations Manager of Clipper Transportes Internacionais LTDA, Conqueror Sao Paolo, “As freight forwarders, it is our responsibility to register all House Air Waybills (HAWBs) in the system before the flight departs from Brazilian Customs. Failure to do so may result in a fine of approximately R$ 5,000.00, which is roughly equivalent to USD 1,100.00.”
One of the pivotal changes in this transition pertains to the revised timeframe for making adjustments to shipments. It is now obligatory to carry out any necessary modifications during the flight of the aircraft en route to Brazil. This signifies a shift towards a 24/7 operational requirement within the import process. Moreover, this continuous monitoring and adjustment ensure heightened control over cargo, resulting in a direct positive impact on the accuracy of information, both within shipping documents and in the physical handling of goods.
“The heightened level of control and precision plays a crucial role in facilitating smoother and more efficient import operations, aligning seamlessly with the new customs regulations and the introduction of the Cargo and Transit Control (CCT) Import System. Starting now, we are also required to include the NCM (Nomenclatura Comum do Mercosul) code in the HAWB, similar to what is mandatory for sea shipments. This information is now obligatory to input into the system,” continues Mr. Pimenta.
Ms Pimenta further explains that you – as the independent freight forwarder – could be liable for penalties when receiving cargo in Brazil, even in cases where the error is not yours. Frequently, these errors stem from inaccurate information provided by importers and/or exporters, such as incorrect weight data or requests for modifications after the cargo is already in transit.
Therefore, the new responsibilities that come with the changes in customs regulations place a significant burden on freight forwarders, irrespective of whether they are operating at the destination (Brazil) or the point of origin. Indeed, if an error originates at the point of origin, the destination agent will ultimately pass on this penalty to the origin point. Consequently, air freight forwarders and all stakeholders engaged in the importation of goods to Brazil must adopt a vigilant and proactive approach to adhere to these fresh requirements, ensuring the smooth execution of trade transactions in compliance with regulations.