The coronavirus may have caused ripples of disruption across the freight spectrum, but in many instances it has sparked industry initiatives and improvement out of necessity, shaking supply-chain services out of their comfort zone and ushering in much-needed progress.
One such instance is the electronic customs space, where manual manifest declaration is fast making way for digital solutions.
One could say it wasn’t a case of being nudged out of the way.
Rather it came down to the pandemic pushing old-fashioned ways to where they belong – the dustbin of cargo-clearing history.
At least that’s the view of Louise Wiggett, founder and managing director of Global Trade Solution, one of South Africa’s e-clearance platform providers.
Commenting on recent news that an implementation initiative for electronic tariff platform (ETF) processing is under way in Liberia, a country that is, for the most part, synonymous with upheaval and internecine conflict, Wiggett said it could only be welcomed.
“One of the uplifting aspects of Covid-19 has been the accelerated drive in both public and private sector institutions to enable the digitisation of previous manual processes and procedures.
“The recently announced project in Liberia is an excellent example of the digitisation enablement that is being prioritised within the public sector.”
Wiggett also contextualised the Harmonized System (HS) Programme by the European Union (EU) and World Customs Union (WCO) whereby Liberia’s ETF implementation is taking shape.
“The main aim of the EU-WCO HS-Africa Programme,” she said, “is to ensure the application of the WCO HS changes on the 1st of January 2022 across the African continent, and the adoption of the digitised approach by Liberia is a big step forward in achieving this outcome.”