Seamless Borders: New Zealand Customs’ 2023 Time Release Study

3-minute read

New Zealand Customs shared what they learned in their 2023 Time Release Study. Let’s look into how they clear cargo quickly, showing their dedication to making international trade fast and effective.

A Time Release Study (TRS) is a World Customs Organization method of measuring Customs’ performance in clearing cargo moving across the border, measuring the times of various events and procedures from arrival to release to market.

Customs is just one component in the supply chain, and there are multiple factors affecting the international movement of cargo.

By measuring performance, Customs can establish a baseline of indicators, assess their effectiveness, and identify improvements that help grow the economy by making sure trade flows freely across the border.

This is the fourth comprehensive TRS carried out by the New Zealand Customs Service.

The first two studies occurred in 2009, where one study looked at the New Zealand Customs Service, while the second study was conducted jointly with the Australian Customs Service.

Another TRS was carried out in 2022 to provide an updated benchmark of Customs’ clearance processes to allow an assessment of effectiveness over time.

This study targeted international cargo vessels and flights for the week Thursday 31 August to Wednesday 06 September 2023 (7 days).

During this week, NZ Customs analysed data from 12,554 import entries and 5,618 export entries across both sea and air cargo that arrived or departed from New Zealand seaports and airports.

The study also used data from industry partners involved in border clearance, including port and air freight companies.

Key results

Import entries that are correctly reported are cleared quickly and, on average, before the arrival of the vessel carrying that cargo.

Export entries that are correctly reported are cleared in advance of loading for export.

98.82% of import and export entries for air and sea cargo were cleared within five minutes of lodgement.

According to New Zealand Customs, when items are reported accurately, they can be cleared within a matter of seconds.

Seamless Borders: New Zealand Customs' 2023 Time Release Study_2

Air Cargo

100% of export entries for air cargo cleared before the departure time of the aircraft.

78.3% of import entries for air cargo were lodged and released by Customs before arrival into New Zealand.

On average, import entries for air cargo were lodged and released by Customs 16 hours and 47 minutes before the arrival of the aircraft.

This reflects the much shorter flight times from an overseas departure point to the aircraft landing.

Sea Cargo

93.9% of sea cargo import entries for FCLs were lodged and cleared by Customs before arrival into New Zealand.

87.7% of export entries for FCLs shipped by sea were lodged at least 48 hours before loading on the vessel for export.

The 2023 study provides a useful assessment of the efficiency of Customs’ (and MPI’s) processes in the movement of clearing cargo for trade.

From the 2022/23 reporting period, NZ Customs was expected to process 98% of trade transactions within 30 minutes.

Due to the improved timeliness of Customs processing and exceeding its performance measures, the specified timeframe has been reduced for the 2023/24 period and is now 5 minutes.

These exclude entries referred for further Customs intervention.

During this study, 98.82% of all import and export entries lodged were cleared within 5 minutes.

These measures confirm NZ Customs has good processes in place to facilitate the clearance of cargo and does not unnecessarily impede the delivery of cargo that is reported correctly.

These processes include electronic reporting, business rules, risk management and alert systems, deferred payment schemes, post-entry auditing capability, and ongoing engagement with the importing and exporting industry at all levels in Customs.

Customs plans to hold a Time Release Study every two years (the next one in 2025) and work with port and cargo operators to achieve this.

Full study can be found here

Source: New Zealand Customs Service

P.S. Easy Freight Ltd helps New Zealand importers & exporters to save money on international freight and reduce mistakes by guiding how to comply with Customs and biosecurity rules. 

➔  Contact us now to learn how we can assist you.