What is the process for releasing containers and cargo?

Regularly, the Douane CN receives questions about the process of releasing containers and cargo that enter the island. Below they explain the procedure from the arrival of the container in the port to the release of the container/cargo by Customs.

After arrival at the port, the containers and cargo are cleared and unloaded. They are then stored in a temporary warehouse awaiting a customs destination.

All incoming containers are sealed by Customs and can then be driven to the location of the interested party/company. The interested party must file a declaration via Asycuda World, the automated system of Customs. Subsequently, the ABB (general expenditure tax) and Accijns (excise duty) due on the declaration must be paid.

The importer receives automatic notification via Asycuda that their container/cargo is being released or inspected. In the latter instance, the importer contacts Customs to schedule an appointment. There will be a maximum of 5 working days between the registration for an appointment for a physical inspection of the container and the moment when the container is released. In principle, physical inspection takes place only on Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 16:00 o’clock. An exception can be made for physical inspection of perishable cargo (e.g. vegetables, fruit, flowers), which the process will be speeded up. Most containers/cargo are released immediately after declaration and payment. However, if the declaration has not been received or paid in a timely way, or Customs detects a risk, then this process may take longer.

Hence, in this process, there is a role for both the importer and Customs. The sooner all Customs formalities are completed, the sooner the containers are released. Douane CN does its utmost to have the process proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible.


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