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Secure Trade Lane – Project Update

10.27am 29 September 2023

NZ Customs has been working with Australian Border Force (ABF) under the Secure Trade Lane (STL) banner since 2016 to identify opportunities to make cargo clearances more efficient for traders. Earlier this year we initiated an internal review of the STL project to determine whether it should be continued in its current form, and what specific concepts may be worth pursuing.

We reviewed several of the earlier STL models and pilots which have involved a range of different clearance arrangements. In most cases, while these did produce some modest improvements, they typically involved significant trade-offs for marginal benefits to traders. Issues were often encountered with data alignment, entity identification and the subsequent reconciliation processes. One of our findings was that some of the earlier models tested under the STL banner may become more viable in the future with changes in technology and context.

The Time Release Study undertaken by New Zealand Customs last year (time-release-report-final.pdf ( showed the majority of trans-Tasman trade is already cleared prior to the arrival of the goods in New Zealand. We will however continue to engage with ABF looking for opportunities to streamline border clearance processes. This remains a safe environment to trial ideas and arrangements that could be scaled up and applied elsewhere.

We are also aware of a lot of trade innovation is going on across global supply chains, which we will continue to monitor to identify any opportunities for improved border clearance processes for New Zealand traders.