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Customs publishes cargo clearance study

10.43am 01 March 2023 | News

The New Zealand Customs Service has published its latest Time Release Study (TRS), which looks at how quickly imports and exports are cleared in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Study analysed Customs’ performance in moving cargo through our border, measuring the time taken for various events and procedures from when the goods first arrive into the country to its clearance or release. It captured a one-week period in September 2022.

Group Manager Revenue and Assurance, Craig Chitty, says the key finding shows Customs has efficient processes and systems to support getting goods through our border. This includes electronic reporting of shipment details, a risk management and alerts system to flag high risk shipments, post-clearance auditing and ongoing engagement with industry.

“The time taken for getting imports and exports released at major ports is crucial for our businesses and New Zealand’s economy. If goods are reported to Customs correctly, they are cleared within seconds - most imports cleared for release before they even arrive into New Zealand and most exports cleared before departure.

“Our airports and seaports also have automated facilities utilising top technologies to get their goods to market as quickly as possible, while still allowing vital security and risk checks.

“Customs is mindful that any delays at the border increase costs for businesses, so this study is important in pinpointing any bottlenecks to improve performance in the supply chain. We are committed to creating an enabling environment for businesses, ensuring that trade is quicker and security compliance is easier to do.”

“We also provide exporters the ability to fast-track their goods by partnering in our Secure Exports Scheme. By meeting our safety, security and integrity measures they receive priority at the border, with less inspections and even quicker goods clearance,” Mr Chitty says.

View the Time Release Study (PDF 5.3 MB)

By the numbers: Time Release Study

Customs used one weeks’ data from 12,112 import entries and 5,267 export entries across both sea and air cargo.  The study also used data from industry partners involved in border clearance, including freight and air cargo companies.

Sea cargo

  • 91.5% of import entries for full containers were lodged and ready to be released by Customs before arrival into New Zealand.
  • 91.3% of export entries for full containers were lodged at least 48 hours before loading.

Air cargo

  • 67% of import entries for air cargo were lodged and ready to be released by Customs before arrival into New Zealand.
  • On average, import entries for air cargo were lodged and released by Customs 8.5 hours after the arrival of the aircraft. This reflects the much shorter flight times from an overseas departure point to the aircraft landing.
  • 99.1% of export entries for air cargo were cleared before departure from New Zealand.