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Category Archives: Pricing

DP World – Port Infrastructure Surcharge – Melb & Syd

Please note:  Implementation of this surcharge has been delayed by 2 weeks until 17 April, 2017.

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CityLink tolls to increase significantly for commercial vehicles

From the 1st of April tolls increase by up to 125% for all heavy commercial vehicles, including container transporters using CityLink and the Monash Freeway.  This will affect freight moving along the heavily trafficked freight corridors to and from Melbourne’s North and West along Bolte Bridge and the Tullamarine Freeway.

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Major changes in the international seafreight shipping market – UPDATE

Largely in response to stagnant import market conditions (see my post from September this year) and a lack of profitability in the containerised seafreight market, the industry is seeing some changes beginning to emerge.

As a follow up to my earlier article here are the updates:

  1. China Shipping and Cosco – two major carriers participating in North Asia to Australia trading are working on a merger agreement;
  2. NYK will cease to operate within the Australian containerised market effective from Quarter 2, 2016;
  3. Acquisition of APL is currently being considered by several lines including Giants, Maersk and CMA-CGM;
  4. Two major services (CKA and NEAX) from North Asia, key ports for the Australian trade will be combining into one service, the members in these two consortiums will re-allocate their capacities for the new service. This is set to take effect in Quarter 2, 2016.  As a result:
    • CKA Service will be suspended;
    • A 10% or 3500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) capacity per week reduction.

What does this mean for importers?

  1. While the merger between CSCL and Cosco, pending acquisition of APL, NYK’s withdrawal and the combined service clearly indicates a lack of performance in the Australia trade, some industry wisdom view this as a positive change;
  2. Shipping lines are optimistic that the containerized shipping market may gradually swing back and become “vendor’s market” rather than a “buyer’s market” as it is at present;
  3. Seafreight rates are likely to increase over the course of the year and will probably fluctuate less than what has been experienced since the GFC in 2008.

With the potential for higher freight rates next year this will impact importers who are already struggling with the impact of the weakening Australian Dollar, making some imports unviable.  However, as most of my customers say, the freight rates are not really influential on purchasing product from overseas, rather they consider it to be an additional cost. This just makes the need to ensure competitive freight rates even more crucial to their bottom lines.

For a confidential discussion about freight rates and all your logistics needs, please get in touch with me via email or call 1300 651 888.

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PRODUCTION ASSIST COSTS (“Assists”) Explained

What are Production Assist Costs?

Production Assist Costs relate to tangible and intangible assistance provided to a foreign supplier by an Australian buyer of imported goods. If this assistance is provided free of charge or at a reduced cost then the cost of this assistance (to the extent it is not already included in the price) needs to be included in the value declared to Customs upon importation. The production assist costs that fall within this description are commonly referred to as “Assists”.

Categories of Assists

a) materials, components or other goods that form part of the imported goods;

b) materials consumed in the production of the imported goods;

c) tools, dies, moulds or other machinery or equipment utilised in the production of the imported goods;

d) art work, design work, development work and engineering work (including models, plans and sketches) – the design of which has been undertaken outside Australia;

e) inputs in the production of the goods referred to in (a) to (d) above;

f) overseas transportation and packing costs relating to (a) to (e) above;

g) foreign customs duties, sales tax, or other duties or taxes on production tooling, work goods or subsidiary goods;

h) repairs or modifications to the materials, components, subsidiary goods, tools, dies, moulds, and other goods referred to above.

An example of a transaction involving “Assists” would be an Australian white goods wholesaler providing Australian standard electrical cords and plugs to a Chinese manufacturer for incorporation into Australian imported white goods. If the cords and plugs are provided free of charge to the manufacturer then the value of the cords and plugs would need to be added to the suppliers invoice price to arrive at an acceptable Customs Value.

It should be noted that it is irrelevant whether duty is being paid on the imported product as the importer has an obligation to report accurately to Customs and, as such, any under-valuation would fall within the ambit of the Infringement Notice Scheme.

As always, Magellan Logistics stands ready to assist with determining whether your business is exposed due to non-compliance with the above requirements. If you would like more information on this subject or simply wish to clarify any of the foregoing detail please contact Jeff Kershaw at jeff@maglog.com.au or by telephone on 0418 543 994.

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TRANSFER PRICING explained……

Have you done the due diligence required to ensure compliance?

 

Transfer pricing is the setting of the price for goods and services sold between controlled (or related) legal entities within an enterprise. For example, if a subsidiary company sells goods to a parent company, the price set for those goods is the transfer price. Transfer pricing does not apply to importers and exporters that deal with unrelated buyers and sellers.

It is a fact of life that multinational companies, from all sectors and in every part of the world, face difficulties with respect to the valuation of goods. These difficulties arise because transactions between related parties are subject to both customs and fiscal examinations and are thereby bound by differing rules and contradictory interests.

There are two reasons for this problem:

Firstly, tax and customs administrations, even within one country and sometimes within the same government department, have different approaches: tax administration focuses on intra-group sales’ prices that may be perceived as higher than they should be; whereas customs authorities control imported goods for which prices may be perceived as lower than the market price. While both administrations seek to achieve the same goal (which is arm’s length pricing) revenue interests in the transaction still remain at odds with each other. An arm’s length transaction is one in which the buyers and sellers of a product act independently and have no relationship to each other. The concept of an arm’s length transaction is to ensure that both parties in the deal are acting in their own self interest and are not subject to any pressure or duress from the other party.

Secondly, tax and customs administrations often set rules independently for the same transaction/good. Tax authorities seek conformity with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Transfer Pricing Guidelines which have been largely codified in many countries. This set of rules provides guidance on the application of the arm’s length principle for the valuation of cross-border transactions between associated enterprises, whereas customs authorities conform to Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Valuation Code – currently the World Trade Organization (WTO) Valuation Agreement.

This dichotomy, present in both developed and developing countries, creates a climate of uncertainty and complexity compounded by economic globalisation. It also leads to increases in compliance and implementation costs, absence of flexibility in the conduct of business operations, and creates a significant risk of penalties. Indeed, even when a company complies with both the OECD guidelines/principles and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Valuation Agreement, there is no guarantee that there will not be a dispute between two countries or two administrations in the same country on the determination of the arm’s length price. This means that valuation conflicts can arise not only prior to but also after an audit.

Given that intercompany transactions account for more than 60% of global trade in terms of value, the divergence of customs and transfer pricing valuation presents an obstacle to the liberalisation of trade and inhibits international development for companies of all sizes.

Magellan Logistics can provide advice on this complex subject. So if you are involved in cross-border trade with a related company and have reservations about the legality of your arrangements you should contact Jeff Kershaw at Jeff@maglog.com.au or by telephone on 0418 543 994.

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