By Cristina PiangatelloCustoms and Transport Law Area

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The Egyptian government has postponed to October 1st (instead of July 1st) the entry into force of the new customs system Advance Cargo Information (ACI), which introduces a telematic procedure, based on blockchain technology, aimed at strengthening controls on goods entering Egypt but also to speed up customs clearance procedure, reduce costs and digitalize the process, limiting the use of paper documents.

The use of the ACI system, which is currently in an experimental phase, will be compulsory from October 1st and concerns only goods entering Egypt through seaports; later, with timing yet to be defined, it will be extended to airports and land ports

The ACI provides for new customs obligations:

  • the exporter, prior to shipment of the goods, must register on a one-time basis with the CARGO X global platform to obtain access credentials to it, which he will later use to upload data and/or digital documents to be transferred and shared securely via blockchain;
  • the importer/freight forwarder, on the other hand, must be accredited at the Egyptian portal NAFEZA – Single National Desk for the facilitation of foreign trade.

The ACI procedure is carried out through the following steps:

  • The exporter, as soon as the invoice or pre-invoice containing all the invoice data is ready, sends it to the importer/ freight forwarder;
  • The importer/freight forwarder uploads the invoice or pre-invoice to NAFEZA to obtain import pre-approval from Egyptian Customs and receive the ACID number (Advance Cargo Information Declaration), a unique identification code that marks the shipment;
  • The importer/freight forwarder communicates the ACID number, along with its VAT number and Export Registration Number, to the exporter, who enters it on the invoice and other export-related documents agreed with the importer. If the ACID number is missing or incorrect, the goods will not be unloaded and will return to the port of shipment;
  • The exporter, at least 48 hours before the departure of the goods from the exporting country, uploads on the CARGO X platform the invoice, the initial or final bill of lading and the other documents agreed with the importer and digitally signs them;
  • The exporter sends the original documents to the importer.

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