Update to the "12 hour container" information submission rule
26 April 2010
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) introduced a revised import health standard for sea containers in October 2009. These changes became mandatory on 1 March 2010 - with the exception of the "12 hour rule" relating to container information being lodged prior to arrival of the vessel.
MAFBNZ asked industry to voluntarily comply with the "12 hour rule" during March, before making a decision on further steps where non-compliance had been identified. MAFBNZ had initially intended to hold containers that had not met the 12 hour information submission rule on the port of arrival (for further clearance) at the conclusion of the voluntary compliance period.
However, after reviewing the March data MAFBNZ has opted to leave the "12 hour rule" as a voluntary requirement in the short term. In the interim, MAFBNZ is working to identify major areas of non-compliance to better understand the barriers preventing the early lodgement of information. During this process MAFBNZ will be approaching various industry parties, including individual importers and Customs Brokers, to see what changes can be made to improve compliance with the 12 hour requirement.
MAFBNZ is aware that several importers and shipping lines are in the process of developing equivalent systems (systems that provide equal or better risk management to standard acceptable practices) to manage containers where required information is unavailable.
MAFBNZ also appreciates the early efforts of industry, particularly from port companies and compliant importers and their Custom Brokers, to assist us in our efforts to implement this standard.
All other components of the revised import heath standard remain mandatory.
For more detailed information on the revised requirements for sea containers please go to
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