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Risk Assessment for Clearance of Cargo

Customs administration is increasingly turning to Risk Assessment as an effective means of clearing Cargo. Risk Assessment helps in matching Customs priorities to resources, making more effective use of existing skills and experience, and thus giving better results. It brings economic benefits, by facilitating trade.

Today’s Customs administrations worldwide are faced with some difficult challenges. There is an increase in demand from importers to have consignments cleared quickly and customs are faced with decreasing resources to effectively examine all consignments. Therefore Customs focus on a selective approach, assessing the risk potential of each importation in order to target higher risk consignments.

How is the Risk Assessment principles applied?
Cargo selectivity is made possible by automated declaration processing systems, ensuring that high-risk consignments are handled in a manner that is most likely to achieve results. The Risk assessment principles applies in order to determine which consignment will receive thorough verification, which consignment will receive random verification and which consignments can be considered low risk and can be released without examination.

In order to decide which level of examination is ideal, there are parameters built into the system that consider how importers comply with regulations, type and origin of consignments being imported and the classification of goods. All these are indicators that Customs are using to help in classifying a low risk or high risk consignment.

How does Risk Assessment work?
When a bill of Entry is registered in the system, there are parameters used to assess the risk of the different consignments. Red, Green or Yellow are colours used by Customs Administrations including the Seychelles Customs as indicators to indicate the amount of risk associated with each consignment.

What does the colour indicator mean?
The indicators subject the cargo to a level of verification and they are as follows:

Yellow: Documentation check - All importation is subjected to verification of document; the level of verification will depend on the type of importation. The cargo can be subjected to a random physical examination depending on the risk factors involved, e.g. the origin of the consignment.

Red: Physical examination - The cargo will receive thorough or random physical examination. This would be cargos containing high taxable goods for instance such as alcohol.

Green: Release of Cargo - Normally the cargo is released without physical verification but there are circumstances whereby a random physical examination will be done depending on risk factors e.g. the classification of the goods under the Harmonized System (HS).

What happens after the consignment has been released?
After the release of a consignment all importation documents are subjected to further review. The Customs system is capable of identifying certain declarations for audit after the consignment has been released from Customs. This review is conducted on a selection of importations from red, yellow and green indicators.

What are my obligations as an importer?
Customs’ purpose in examining consignments is to be able to ensure compliance with Customs laws and other laws relating to the importation and exportation of goods. Customs’ role is to encourage importers to comply with the laws and requirements so as to improve the compliance level.

It is the responsibility of the importer to make a true, complete declaration on the Bill of Entry, keep up to date with current list of prohibited and restricted goods, and to apply for import permit when it is required. Importers should bear in mind that a Risk Assessment is also based on their history of importation declaration. Therefore complying with Customs regulations will enhance and facilitate quick cargo clearance.

Where do I go for more information?
If you need further information or clarification on Customs Clearance of Cargo, please visit any Customs offices or contact us at this address:
Seychelles Revenue Commission
PO Box 50
Onion Mall
Tel: 293737
Email: commissioner@

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