Changes in the Belgian import release landscape

Container shipping is in chaos.

As you will have heard already, the new year will bring some changes in the Belgian import release landscape.

In order to enjoy a smooth import process we would like to provide guidelines so that you can save time and money.

Data accuracy

Make sure that your import customs document (IMA, T1,…) contains the following data:
Container number mentioned in cell 31.4 on the clearance document, to easily match it with the import manifest.
• Weight and packages mentioned should be exactly the same as on our import manifest.

The shipping instructions for creation of the Bill of Lading should feature the exact same weight and packages data as on the commercial invoice and packing list. In case of a mismatch, please request your local customer service for correction. Do not forget to attach your commercial invoice and packing list to your request. For changes requested after the import manifest has been submitted, extra charges will apply.

Remember that containers cannot be removed from the terminal without valid import customs document. Containers selected for scanning or physical verification can only leave the terminal unless a duly signed LOI has been surrendered to the shipping agent.

New import release platform: Certified Pick-Up (CPU)

To enhance security, transparency and efficiency, the Antwerp Port Community will be launching a new import release process. It involves a new community platform which is being developed by NxtPort by 1st of January 2021.

The release of this new process consists of two phases:
Phase I: 01.01.2021
At that moment shipping agents, terminals and customs will be exchanging data over the new platform. During this period the release of your import container will not be impacted and you will still receive a pin code to pick-up your container at the terminal, as you do today.

Phase II: 2nd quarter of 2021 (date to be confirmed)
The pin code will no longer be sent to the terminal. Instead the container will be released to the ‘release to party’ via the CPU platform after 3 validations or ‘traffic lights’.

What will be the changes for you?

The shipping agent will release the container to the ‘release to party’ on the CPU platform. This is also known as the ‘commercial release’. This will generate a first green light. The ‘release to party’ will receive a request to accept this release right or pass it on to the next party e.g. a forwarder of your choice. Customs will validate your import customs clearance and give a green light when all customs formalities are ok.
When these two green lights feature on the CPU platform, a pick-up right will be generated. This pick-up right can be shared with the trucker, barge or rail operator registered on the platform. He would need to provide the pick-up right and identification to the terminal. Once validated, a final green light is generated and the container can be removed from the terminal.

How can you prepare?

In case you act as a ’release to party’ or a ’pick-up party’, you can already register on the CPU platform. You will find more information on Nxtport.

Will there be any cost involved?

There will be a charge for the parties who will be involved in the import release process (shipping agent, forwarder or release to party and terminals).
The good news is that we, as a shipping agent, will not charge our cost back to you!
Depending on the type of connection of your choice (API or User Interface), NxtPort will also charge you a subscription fee.

For more information about the platform set-up and subscriptions please contact Nxtport via the above mentioned link. For any further questions on our import release process, feel free to contact our customer service department.

Source: Sealand – A Maersk Company – 03/01/2021