K Line Rate Restoration, effective 15 August 2014

K Line advise that effective from 15th August, 2014, they will introduce another rate restoration programme to restore freight rates to a viable level.

This rate restoration will affect all dry and reefer containers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The additional amount will be US$200 per TEU. The date of issue of the bill of lading will be the date that determines whether or not the increase applies.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Department of Agriculture undertakes verification inspections for certain commodities from China

In a previous article, I referred readers to the Department of Agriculture Biosecurity advice of increased surveillance of timber packaging materials originating in China.

The Department of Agriculture Biosecurity division released Notice to Industry 63/2014 advising they are now undertaking a short term verification inspection programme targeting commercial goods falling under Harmonised tariff headings 2514, 2515, 2516, 6801, 6802 and 6809.

The Department recently intercepted some pallets that were found to be infested with Asian longhorn beetle, the brown mulberry longhorn beetle, and the Japanese sawyer beetle. All of these are considered significant pests of living trees. The concern is that the pallets were all marked with the treatment identification code ISPM15 HT and supporting documents were provided which confirmed treatment had occurred.

The programme will run for 3 weeks from late June 2014.

In order to minimise the impact on importers:
– Inspections will take place at the importers premises or a location nominated by the importer.
– Goods may be removed from shipping containers; however all goods and packaging must be isolated awaiting inspection.
– No inspection fees will be issued, however normal document processing fees will apply.

The Department is particularly interested in identifying wooden packaging material displaying signs of insect damage or ineffective treatment.

In addition, importers that discover any suspect materials (even materials already imported and in the importer’s premises) should immediately notify the Department via 1800 19 55 43

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

K Line Rate Restoration, effective 1st August, 2014

K Line advise that effective from 1st August, 2014, they will introduce a rate restoration programme to restore freight rates to a viable level.

The rate restoration will affect all dry and reefer containers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. The additional amount will be US$300 per TEU. The date of issue of the bill of lading will be the date that determines whether or not the increase applies.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Department of Agriculture Biosecurity fee review finalised

In a previous article, I notified readers of the Department of Agriculture, Biosecurity Division, review of its fees with any increases to become effective from 1 July, 2014.

The review is now complete and the Department has published a list of the new charges to take effect from 1 July, 2014. The increases relating to import declarations and container inspections are modest, with the largest increase being only AU$6.00. Increases for permit applications and related assessments are significant, being generally between 45% and 50% (for example, the base application fee for an import permit lodged electronically will increase from AU$85.00 to AU$125.00).

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Department of Agriculture Biosecurity increases surveillance of timber packaging materials from China

The Department of Agriculture Biosecurity division today released Notice to Industry 59/2014 advising they are increasing surveillance of timber packaging materials originating in China.

The Department recently intercepted some pallets that were found to be infested with Asian longhorn beetle, the brown mulberry longhorn beetle, and the Japanese sawyer beetle. All of these are considered significant pests of living trees. The concern is that the pallets were all marked with the treatment identification code ISPM15 HT and supporting documents were provided which confirmed treatment had occurred.

The Department has determined that the treatment was not effective and is asking for the assistance of everyone involved in the importing chain to be on the lookout for timber packaging materials that are showing signs of insect damage or ineffective treatment, and to inspect all timber packaging or dunnage as it arrives at their premises, or already received. Such signs include holes and piles of frass (fine sawdust), large pieces of bark or the presence of mould or fungus.

Any suspect materials should be immediately notified to the Department via 1800 19 55 43

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

ACCC releases new guidance publication “Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a new publication to provide guidance to business owners in complying with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) when making country of origin (COO) claims about their products.

The new guidance, which can be found on our Resources & Documents page in pdf format (approximately 4 Mb in size), is titled “Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law” provides 30 pages of information and examples to illustrate when businesses can claim their goods are “Made in”, “Product of” or “Grown in” Australia. It also provides advice on how a business can reply on the “safe harbour” provisions contained in the ACL. The document can also be accessed from the ACCC website here where it is also available in html format.

The publication has been produced in consultation with an intergovernmental National Working Group chaired by the Department of Industry (DoI) and Treasury, and including the Australian Customs & Border Protection Service (ACBPS), the Department of Agriculture (DoA), the Department of Health (DoH), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The production also required engagement with state and territory ACL regulators and a number of industry associations.

“Country of origin labels are valuable tools that allow consumers to make informed choices and let businesses compete fairly” said Rod Sims, Chairman of the ACCC.

“Many consumers specifically seek out, or are willing to pay a premium for, Australian produce or products that are made in Australia.” Sims said. “This information assists manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, retailers, advertisers and anyone else who may be making country of origin representations, in deciding what claims are appropriate for their products.”

“Businesses making false or misleading representations could face penalties of up to $1.1 million under the ACL. In a recent case, the Federal Court ordered two companies supplying solar panels to pay a combined penalty of $145,000, in part, for making false and misleading country of origin representations. In addition to the monetary penalties, the Court also made other orders by consent including declarations, injunctions, corrective advertising and an order that the businesses make a contribution towards the ACCC’s costs.”

“Any claim that is likely to mislead consumers about the origin of a product will breach the law. Credence claims are a priority area for the ACCC, particularly those with the potential to adversely impact the competitive process and small businesses.”

I commend the publication as a valuable read for anyone, whether they be a manufacturer, importer, retailer, or consumer. It provides a better understanding of the ACL as it relates to country of origin claims about goods.

If you have any questions regarding the guidance provided in the publication, please Contact Us to discuss.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

2014 Easter and ANZAC Day operating hours

To all our valued customers and service providers, please note our operating hours over the Easter and ANZAC Day holidays:

Easter: Closed Good Friday, Easter Monday (18/4/2014 – 21/4/2014). Re-open 22/4/2014.

ANZAC Day: Closed Friday, 25/4/2014. Re-open Monday 28/4/2014.

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable break during these holiday periods. To our armed forces personnel, past, present and future, THANK YOU!

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Department of Agriculture – Biosecurity fee review

The Department of Agriculture (“DoA”) has announced it is undertaking a review of the fees it charges for the various services it provides. Fees have not been changed since 2009, so it’s fair to say that a review is overdue. DoA advise they are seeking a total increase across all fee revenues of 15%, although this does not mean that all fees will rise by that margin. In consultation with industry, DoA has identified 14 of 32 areas that it believes require increases to meet its charter under the Federal Government cost recovery program.

DoA expect to announce and publish details in early April of the extent of fee increases to be applied from 1 July, 2014.

The announcement can be viewed on the DoA Biosecurity website at Biosecurity Fee Review, with further information on the 14 fee types under review at Import Clearance Fee Review.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Customs Import Processing Charges – Update 4

In Customs Import Processing Charges – Update 3 published on 16th December, 2013, I reported the legislation to implement the increases to the Customs IPC passed through both Houses of Parliament unaltered. The new charges will come into effect on 1st January, 2014.

As referenced in that article, ACBPS has now issued ACBPS Notice 2013/66 that provides information about the transitional arrangements for imports arriving on or around the commencement date of the new Customs IPC regime. The Notice also carries a warning that ACBPS will be monitoring the implementation of the new IPC arrangements for compliance to ensure correct reporting. Any evidence discovered of misreporting might lead to punitive action being taken by ACBPS.

In brief, the transitional scenarios outlined by ACBPS are as follows:
1.) Where an import declaration is lodged and paid on or prior to 31st December, 2013, the 2013 IPC rate will apply even if the declaration is amended after 1st January 2014.
2.) Where an import declaration is lodged on or prior to 31st December, 2013, but payment is made on or after 1st January, 2014, the 2013 IPC rate will apply.
3.) Where an import declaration is lodged on or prior to 31st December, 2013, but not paid and is then amended on or after 1st January, 2014, the 2014 IPC rates will apply.
4.) Where an import declaration is lodged on or after 1st January, 2014, the 2014 IPC rates will apply.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact us to discuss.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Documents Required by Australian Customs & Border Protection Service – Update 1

Further to the article on this subject that I published on 20th November, 2013, ACBPS has released a Fact Sheet titled “Verification of import transactions using commercial documents” that provides further information to ACBPS Notice 2013/46.

If you have any questions regarding the guidance provided in the Fact Sheet or ACBPS Notice 2013/46, please Contact Us to discuss.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.