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SARS introduces electronic cargo tracking system

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has introduced a new electronic cargo system that tracks the movement of cargo coming into and leaving the country. The introduction of the paperless cargo reporting system will bring to an end one of the last remaining paper-based processes in the revenue service. According to Chief Officer of Customs and Excise, Teboho Mokoena, the electronic reporting system will expedite the processing of legitimate trade and improve the management of risk for goods coming in and leaving the country.

“Customs clients impacted by the new electronic reporting system include shipping lines, airlines, the national rail carrier, road haulers, freight forwarders, port and airport authorities, terminal operators, wharf operators, transit shed operators, licensees of depots and registered agents,” Mokoena, notes.

Cost savings

SARS says the new system will cut the costs traditionally involved with paper reporting. “For example, carriers can spend hundreds of thousands of rand a year just in the paper and administrative costs associated with submitting paper manifests to SARS offices.” While the impact on land clients will be minimal, as most road carriers have already been submitting electronic reports since MPR was introduced in 2016, many sea and air modality clients, who have never submitted electronic reports before, the implementation may take more time to get used to.

Following international trends

SARS believes the introduction of ‘advance reporting of containerised cargo’ destined for South African ports will put the country on par with international trends. This reporting system requires carriers and forwarders to submit ‘advance loading notices’ to SARS Customs at master and house bill of lading levels, 24 hours prior to vessel departure.

For more information, customs clients can visit the SARS website[1].


  1. ^ website (www.sars.gov.za)

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