With a view to keep abreast with global, regional and national developments in moving towards electronic customs clearance and enable the industry stakeholders to submit electronic advance cargo information (e-ACI) to the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED), the Financial Secretary announced in the 2007-2008 Budget the construction of an e-ACI system to provide a seamless system for the movement and customs clearance of road cargoes aiming for trade facilitation and adequate risk profiling of road cargoes. The Road Cargo System (ROCARS) was officially launched on 17 May 2010 and became mandatory on 17 Nov 2011.
KEY FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF THE SYSTEM
All users of ROCARS must register with C&ED before they can submit the relevant information in ROCARS.
A shipper or a freight forwarder acting as a shipper (or an agent of either party) is obliged to submit a predefined set of cargo information to C&ED through ROCARS 14 days in advance or at least 30 minutes before the cargo consignment being imported or exported from Hong Kong by truck. The set of information consists of 8 items:
- (a) Number of package;
- (b) Description of package;
- (c) Description of articles in each package;
- (d) Name of consignor;
- (e) Address of consignor;
- (f) Name of consignee;
- (g) Address of consignee; and
- (h) Expected date of arrival / Expected date of departure
As an acknowledgment after successful submission of cargo information, ROCARS returns a Customs Cargo Reference Number (CCRN) for the cargo consignment to the shipper who should then pass it together with the cargo description to the relevant trucker.
Not less than 30 minutes before the truck arriving at a land boundary control point ("LBCP "), the trucker should do the 'bundling' work through ROCARS (via the Internet or by phone(3902 3333 / 3153 2265)) providing (i) the CCRN of the cargo consignment and (ii) his vehicle's registration number to C&ED. The system will direct the trucker to cross the boundary immediately or after 30 minutes.
Under the operation mode of ROCARS, C&ED can perform risk profiling on the cargo before a truck arrives at an LBCP and determine in advance whether the cargo is required to be inspected.
The above arrangements enable Customs officers to conduct risk profiling on cargo consignment in advance, for determining whether a truck needs to be inspected. All cross-boundary trucks, except those selected for inspection, enjoy seamless customs clearance at the land boundary
Implementation of the system gives us added room to facilitate the passage of transshipment cargoes which involve inter-modal transfer (e.g. from land to air). For instance, land-to-air transshipment cargoes may normally be subject to customs inspection at either the LBCP or the airport, instead of having to be inspected at both control points, under the Intermodal Transshipment Facilitation Scheme (ITFS).
The importance of smooth cross-boundary traffic at all times is well recognized. ROCARS have resilience equipment and an off-site disaster recovery system to ensure its high serviceability in operation. To cater for the unlikely event of a total system failure, contingency plans have been put in place to ensure that the current manual mode of customs clearance could be switched on as soon as possible.
Striking for the best, C&ED will refine ROCARS for providing better and speedier customs clearance service to uplift the competitiveness of Hong Kong as a logistics hub and facilitate the trade development in Hong Kong.