Frequently Asked Questions

General

The ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) is a computerised Customs transit management system. The legal framework is set out in Protocol 7 of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit (AFAFGIT).

More background information on ACTS can be found on the ARISE website http://arise.asean.org/, via ‘Events’ and ‘Upcoming Activities’. Under the ACTS component there are links to downloadable Word and PowerPoint files that describe the system.

As one of the objectives of AEC is to make ASEAN a single production base, the ACTS is expected to:

  • Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of land based transit procedures;
  • Improve both the prevention and detection of fraud;
  • Accelerate the movement of goods carried out under a transit procedure. 

The main difference will be for the goods to be transported by road from departure to destination under a single transit regime instead of the current procedures which require a series of national transit declarations to be made, involving extra time and cost.  Also, ASEAN Transport Ministers under Protocol 3 of AFAFGIT, had approved that up to 500 trucks, issued with a 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' by each ASEAN country, to be allowed to transport goods across borders from departure to destination point thus eliminating the need to transfer goods to a local truck at the border. However for the purpose ACTS pilot implementation, each participating member state have agreed to issue up to a maximum of 100 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit'.

There will be pilot testing carried out to test all aspects of the ACTS and the pilot will be implemented for six months starting July 2016 to December2016. During this period both the electronic messaging and the physical movement of goods in selected trucks will be tested with a small number of operators.

Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will participate in the ACTS pilot project, other land based ASEAN countries are expected to be part of the ACTS at a later stage during the roll-out phase.

After the pilot project is completed, ASEAN plans to include other countries in ASEAN, for example Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar Viet Nam, Brunei and Indonesia in stages based on the readiness and the business requirements of the countries in the roll out stage.

For the moment AMS have not indicated that there will be a fee payable for registering with ACTS to make transit declarations.   It is recommended that no fee is levied, in the interests of trade facilitation.  However, this will be a national decision on whether a registration fee will be levied by the Customs Authorities.

There may be processing costs for applying for the ‘ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit’ as imposed by the national authorities. Since the submission of declaration involves electronic declarations, the users must make available internet-connected computers to lodge the ACTS declarations electronically.  The trader who is the Principal must make available the necessary financial guarantees to cover the Customs duties and taxes at risk on the goods transported.

As it is a trade facilitative system, users will benefit from the time saved cost reduction and better connectivity in the usage of land transport modes of moving goods in ASEAN.

The trader must be registered at the country of departure for an ACTS transit movement. This must be at the office of departure where they will submit an ACTS declaration. Traders will need to make separate registrations with Customs to use ACTS in each country where they start transit operations and take out the guarantee.  It is not mandatory for the trader to be registered in the destination country unless the Trader wants to apply for ATT and the use of Simplified Procedure at destination. There is no need for the trader to be registered in the country of transit.

Currently, there is no limit in the number of declarants that can be registered by a Principal in ACTS. However, it is subject to the national requirements of respective countries.

Yes, one (1) Customs Broker can represent several Principals. This requirement is addressed in the system by creating the required relationships in the Trader Repository provided that authorization has been given (on paper with supporting documents) from the Principal trader.

 

Customs Automation/IT Services

The level of automation of agencies involved will depend on the requirements and the approach taken by the national agencies involved in the implementation of the project. The user will be advised on the processes involved and procedures.

Users of ACTS will need to prepare to make electronic connections to the system.  Full details of the different technical options will be provided.  Users should also understand the planned procedural changes, and train their staff accordingly.  Information on these changes will be provided in dedicated workshops in advance of the pilot test phase which will run from April 2016 to October 2016. In addition, ARISE will provide full training and procedural guides, which will also be made available online.

If users already make electronic import/export declarations to Customs, they will not need to invest in extra specific software and hardware.  Some re-configuration of electronic connections might be necessary, and full technical information will be provided well in advance of the pilot test phase.

 

Guarantees for Duties and Taxes Payable

Yes, the movement of goods must be supported by financial guarantees lodged at the Customs office of departure to cover the highest duties and taxes at risk in any one of the countries in the transit movement. 

As the duties and taxes on the goods are 'suspended', that is, the goods are transported duty and tax-free, the trader must undertake to pay any Customs debt that might arise if the goods are illegally diverted away from the destination country without the payment of duties and taxes due.  Each trader must obtain a guarantee from a recognised guaranteeing institution such as a bank, to cover the duties and taxes at risk, in case the trader does not pay the duties and taxes due for any reason, such as bankruptcy.

Under protocol 7 of AFAFGIT ASEAN Member States Customs Authorities have agreed to arrange for a single guarantee for the whole journey to be made issued by a recognised financial institution.  In this way the trader does not need to take out a separate guarantee at each border for the duties and taxes at risk, thus reducing the cost and time taken to transport goods between ASEAN countries.  These guarantees are managed on-line by ACTS, that is, each transit declaration is validated against an electronic record of the guarantee, to ensure there is sufficient cover for the duties and taxes at risk on that particular consignment.   These guarantees may cover a single journey, or multiple journeys, as described under protocol 7 of AFAFGIT.

The highest amount of the duties, taxes and charges applicable on goods in all countries involved in the transit movement (departure, transit and destination) will be considered in determining the reference amount to ensure adequate guarantee coverage. In some cases, the guarantee in the departure country would be needed to cover the outward transit of duty-free goods. ACTS does not discriminate between duty-free and duty paid goods, so the guarantee will always be required in the county of departure.  ACTS always assesses the highest revenue risk when estimating the guarantee coverage required on a consignment.

 

Eligibility

All traders are eligible to use the ACTS to transport goods across borders but must be registered as transit traders with the Customs Administration of participating AMS.  However, to be given the status of Authorised Transit Trader (ATT) with simplified procedures, users will have to meet the qualifying criteria set by the individual ASEAN Member States to be eligible for the ATT status. The authority and right to give ATT status lies with the participating AMS.

 

Customs Documentations for Transit Declaration

All traders must submit an electronic ACTS transit declaration to Customs. A single transit barcoded document would be produced by the system known as Transit Accompanying Document (TAD). The details of the required content of these declarations will be provided.  There may be a need for additional documents to be obtained from other Government agencies, such as licenses or permits in the country of departure, transit and destination. It will be the responsibility of the respective trader to identify the relevant permits and licenses required for the goods in transit. Goods transported without the required permits and licenses can be detained at any of the border crossings by the relevant CA where national procedures will be applied. 

Users of the ACT system will have to refer for guidance from your local customs administrations.

No, there will be a list prohibited and restrictive list of goods based on each country’s security and safety requirements.  Goods outside this range of products will be allowed to be transported through the ACTS. Dangerous goods and SPS goods (Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary) will not be included in the ACTS pilot phase. Traders are required to identify and adhere to the national requirements and required licenses before submitting the ACTS transit declaration.

The country concerned will appoint their competent authorities to inspect the relevant documents at the border. Users of the ACTS can make enquiries directly with participating countries to establish who has been appointed to inspect the documents, using the contact points on this website.

Each ACTS declaration only covers one movement from departure to destination with one guarantee to cover the declaration. The return trip can be possible by submitting a separate ACTS declaration from the destination country which would now be considered as the departure country and covered by a Guarantee issued at the point of departure.

Customs can break the seals for inspection.  Breaking the seals can only be arranged in the presence of Customs. Once inspection is completed, Customs will reseal the truck and update the system, i.e. registering the new seal. The next Customs office will have the information on the broken seal and will record the details of the replacement seal. It is important that Customs register the outcome/new information in the system.  The same applies to change of the means of transport.  In case of accidental breakage of the seal, the driver must report the circumstances to the nearest official authority such as the police. This authority would have to endorse the TAD, for the next ACTS office to make a decision on the next steps to take, i.e. whether to allow the movement to continue or to terminate it (the transit), depending on the circumstances.

 

Licensing and Transport Vehicle Specifications

No, all trucks used in the transit operations will have to obtain a 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' from their respective national competent authorities.  This permit will allow the truck to transport goods across borders under ACTS.  To obtain the cross-border permit, the truck must conform to the technical requirements of Protocols 3 & 4 of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit (AFAFGIT).    ASEAN Member States have agreed to grant up to 500 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' in each country under AFAFGIT and AFAFIST, and maximum 100 Permit from each country would be issued for ACTS Pilot Testing.  In case of a break-down of of approved transit vehicles along the transit route, the replacement vehicles must have an ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit.

The type of trucks and specifications are spelt out in Protocol 4 of the AFAFGIT.  The transport authorities will ensure that 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' is only given to qualifying trucks under this protocol.

Yes, the transit journey will be under the jurisdiction of the country of departure, transit and destination and will be covered by local laws and domestic requirements with regards to transport of goods and road transport matters.

Can I send a replacement truck to carry out the goods? Note: The replacement truck is in compliance with the cross-border operation requirement, but yet to be authorized with a cross-border permit.

ACTS will cater for this eventuality. A replacement truck can be sent the disabled truck, However the replacement truck must have been issued with an 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' for cross-border transport operations but can be registered in any ASEAN Member State and not necessarily be the same country where the truck being replaced is registered.

Yes, Customs Authorities in participating Member States will set their time limit for movement from departure to destination.  The ACTS system will automatically alert the relevant Customs authorities of the non-arrival of the truck by the expected date and time.  Delays during transit will have to be communicated to the authorities.

Any form of offence committed along the transit routes will be under the jurisdiction of the national laws of the country concerned. 

Licensed truck operators issued with 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' will be informed on the procedures for reporting delays and deviations that can occur during the transit journey due to various circumstances. Basically such events must be reported to the nearest  office designated by the competent authorities in AMS.

Yes, it is mandatory for a truck issued with a 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' to be covered by a 3rd party liability  insurance policy in departure, transit and destination countries in accordance with Protocol 5 of AFAFGIT before crossing the designated borders.

This will be a national decision. However, it should consider the provision of Most Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment under AFAFGIT.

Domestic driving licenses issued by participating countries within ASEAN are mutually recognized within ASEAN and must be carried by the driver all times. Driving licenses in local language must be accompanied by an English translation.  Refer to the Agreement on the Recognition of Domestic Driving Licenses Issued by ASEAN Countries, signed in Kuala Lumpur on the 9th of July 1985.  Copies of the licenses from all AMS can be viewed from ASEAN Secretariats web page. The driver of the truck can be of different ASEAN nationality from where the truck is registered, subject to national laws and regulations of the transit and destination countries. This would also include the case for the driver of the replacement truck mentioned in question 2o of the FAQ.

All trucks with an 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' will be issued with a ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit sticker which will be placed on the windscreen of the truck.  The ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit sticker will indicate relevant information including the permit number issued by the competent authorities.

 Which agency should I contact in my home country to apply for this permit? How much is the fee for the permit?

'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit' will be issued by competent authorities of all participating countries. Any fee chargeable for the issuance of this permit is under the jurisdiction of the participating country.  Details of the competent authorities in each Member States will be provided to the trade.

The routes designated for transit are specified in the Annex of AFAFGIT Protocol 1.

However the routes designated for transit during Pilot testing are specified in the “Memorandum of Understanding on the Operationalisation of the Pilot for the ACTS” for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and in the Annex of AFAFGIT Protocol 1 for the other Member States.

Authorised Transit Traders (ATTs) will be permitted to load and unload goods at their own premises, subject to prior authorisation by national Customs Authorities.  These are so-called simplified procedures.  Other traders using normal transit procedures will need to present their goods to the Customs Offices of departure and destination.

  • The documents to be carried on a road transit transport vehicles are:

    1. Vehicle Registration Certificate;
    2. Vehicle Inspection Certificate;
    3. Third Party Liability Insurance Cover for Vehicle;
    4. Consignment Note/Waybill;
    5. Custom Transit Document for the Goods (Transit Accompanying Documents (TAD); and
    6. Carrier’s License (Transport Operator’s License)
    7. Any other documents required by your Customs Administration.
    8. ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit
  • All documents above should be made available for inspection upon demand. Any document if not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation in English issued by the relevant competent authority.

With the implementation of ACTS, moving cargo to a local vehicle is not necessary since under AFAFGIT, up to 500 road transit transport vehicles from each ASEAN Member State will be permitted to cross intra-ASEAN borders to carry the goods through the countries of departure, transit and destination. A vehicle with an 'ASEAN goods vehicle cross-border permit sticker' will be allowed to pass through in the designated transit routes.

The maximum permissible gross weight to each of the type of vehicle is specified in Annex F of AFAFGIT Protocol 4

3-axle rigid 21 Tons
4-axle rigid 25 Tons
4-axle articulated 32 Tons
5-axle articulated 36 Tons
6-axle articulated 38 Tons

The truck must comply with the technical specifications under AFAFGIT Protocol 3 and Protocol 4. Transport operators must apply for a cross-border permits to the relevant competent authorities in their home country. 

Can my truck embark and/or unload the goods in countries other than where my truck is registered?

Under the AFAFGIT/ACTS Pilot, as long as a truck has been granted a Goods Vehicle Cross-Border Permit by the country where it is registered, that vehicle is allowed to perform cross-border transport operation to any countries which are parties to the AFAFGIT/ACTS Pilot, including at the origin, transit and destination points, subject to other national requirements. For example, a Malaysian-registered truck is permitted to start an ACTS transit operation in Singapore for delivery to the designated Customs Office of destination in Thailand, provided the other ACTS-related elements of the operation are in place, that is, the Principal to the transit movement is registered with Customs Authorities of departure and has lodged the required  guarantee with them.