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Shipping to Egypt: New ACI Rules Apply

Submission of Advance Cargo Information (ACI) becomes mandatory for all ocean shipments into Egypt from 01 October 2021, following the completion of a 6-month pilot phase.

To prepare for this, the Freight Forwarding Experts of the DHL Egypt Customs team have been working closely with the Egyptian Customs authority and pilot companies during the development of Nafeza, a new integrated platform to coordinate shipping information between Egyptian importers and foreign exporters.

Take a quick look at the must-knows for local importers and overseas shippers bringing products into Egypt’s sea ports and transiting goods via Egypt.

What is Egypt’s Advance Cargo Information (ACI) System?

With the new ACI system, Egyptian Customs requires importers to submit all relevant documents and transaction data for every shipment – the commercial invoice and the final or initial bill of lading – via an online portal at least 48 hours before the cargo leaves its export country. This is to facilitate release of the goods from ports in Egypt.

Who is impacted by the ACI system?

  • Importers
  • Exporters and suppliers (foreign)
  • Clearance companies
  • Shipping companies

Is the ACI system for ocean shipments only?

Yes, but the system will be expanded to air and land shipments in future.

What happens if companies don’t use the ACI system?

  • The shipment will not be allowed to enter Egypt
  • The goods will be returned to port of origin

Why Has Egypt Decided to Make ACI Mandatory?

The new ‘single window system for foreign trade’ is part of the Egyptian government’s drive to modernize and automate customs administration, aligning with the country’s efforts to transform into a developed logistics area.

ACI enables stakeholders to monitor any risk to the Egyptian state and protect Egyptian citizens from unidentified goods and goods arriving from unidentified origins. In addition, the new customs system is expected to reduce release times, so it will also cut the cost of releasing goods. And the great news is that paper documents will no longer be required; they will now be replaced by electronic data and file uploads.

What Are the New Processes?

Import Workflow

  1. Egyptian importers must register on the online Nafeza portal
  2. The registered importer or customs broker receives an e-token device to access the portal
  3. Use this e-token device to file the paperwork for each import shipment on the portal
  4. Receive an ACID (a unique reference number for each shipment) from the portal
  5. At least 48 hours before the ship leaves port, submit the ACID along with invoices, foreign exporter information, shipment data, and other relevant documentation
  6. Notify the exporter of the schedule and their responsibilities

Exporter Workflow

  1. Overseas exporters must register on the CargoX platform
  2. At the same time as the importer, receive the shipment ACID (unique reference number) from the Nafeza portal
  3. Liaise with the importer about the schedule and responsibilities
  4. Log on to the CargoX platform to upload a full set of shipping documents

Key definitions

What is an e-token?

An electronic method for signing documents. E-token data proves the identity of the signatory and is tamper-proof.

What is CargoX?

The blockchain document transfer gateway for Egypt’s ACI system. It allows secure access to a consensually shared and synchronized database.

How Important is Importer/Exporter Collaboration?

Collaboration between the importer and the exporter is more important than ever before. The ACI system makes both parties responsible for following the new procedures, so importers and exporters must work together to ensure compliant and speedy customs clearance. An experienced customs broker can assist, ensuring smooth completion of workflows at least 48 hours before the ship leaves port.

How can a customs broker improve collaboration?

  • Facilitate higher levels of cooperation
  • Deliver global insight and local understanding
  • Provide common space for sharing data and documentation

How to pick the right customs broker?

At DHL Global Forwarding, we provide import and export clearance services in over 100 countries, and we are happy to share our knowledge and expertise with your organization.

Shipping to Egypt and need some extra support? Don’t set off without us! DHL Global Forwarding is here to help you safely navigate the new ACI system.

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