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NMM Customs Brokers unveils initial stage of service automation project

Manila-based Nague Malic Magnawa (NMM) & Associates Customs Brokers has soft-launched its improved and enhanced automated system that facilitates easier operations and transactions with its clients.

The Modern Online Declaration and Electronic Lodgement system, or MODEL, is a home-grown online platform that makes transactions between NMM employees and their clients easier, more transparent, and more customized, NMM managing partner Ferdinand Nague said in an interview with PortCalls on the sidelines of the company’s recent 10th anniversary celebrations.

NMM clearance operations director Joel Deligero, in a presentation during the soft launch, said Phase 1 features include cargo declaration; computation of duties and taxes, including excise tax; interface with value-added service providers (VASPs); viewing of status history; and automatic update of Harmonized System code and rate of duty.

Deligero explained that the first phase allows NMM to easily monitor cargo declarations and compute duties and taxes of imported shipments by just encoding the value, freight, and insurance.

It also allows NMM to inform clients of the status of their shipments because the system is interfaced with VASPs. Clients may also check the history of their shipments by inputting the air way bill or bill of lading, said Deligero.

Phase 2 of MODEL will be launched in the second or third quarter of 2017. Deligero said this phase will incorporate additional specifications including manifest submission, interface with NMM’s Automated Tracking System (ATS), and on-time notification.

As a value-added service, Deligero said NMM may submit, on behalf of the client, the electronic manifest, which is usually submitted by airlines, shipping lines, and consolidators.

As part of its record-keeping, NMM has designed ATS such that it puts barcodes on documents, and stamps these codes at every checkpoint along the flow of processing shipments with the Bureau of Customs. Data from ATS will be linked with MODEL for easier updates to clients. This complements the on-time notification feature that will also be available soon.

Deligero said that the “name of the game” now is how soon customs brokers can inform their clients of the status of their shipments. The information can be submitted to clients through SMS or email.

The third phase will be available by the third or fourth quarter of this year and include a mobile application version, interface with enterprise software SAP, and a dashboard.

Deligero said MODEL will have a mobile version for “hassle-free” use by its clients. It will also be linked to SAP, which NMM uses, so the billing department will no longer need to do encoding.

A dashboard will be provided so key performance indicators and the work status are visible to NMM employees, reminding them to “always be on their toes to give better service to clients.”

Deligero said the company invested heavily in automation to “cement the legacy of NMM as a market leader in the customs brokerage industry.”

PortCalls asked NMM if, with all of these investments, it is concerned about the impact on their business of the eventual implementation of the declarant provision of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. Under the CMTA, the services of customs brokers will become optional after two years of the law’s implementation, or in June 2018.

Nague said they are confident of retaining clients, majority of whom are multinational companies. He said these clients will still have to use professional customs brokers’ services as such firms adhere to anti-bribery and foreign anti-corruption practices. – Roumina Pablo

Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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