CUSTOMS Brokers are working “around the clock” to meet new Covid-19 related government requirements while also ensuring business can continue, CBFCA chief executive Paul Damkjaer says.

Mr Damkjaer said there had been “a huge amount of information that customs brokers and freight forwarders are processing each day into their own set of circumstances in a fluid environment”.

He noted the Australian Border Force was driving the response sought by the National Cabinet and this was affecting both industry and the community.

“Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders are resilient and they are working around the clock to ensure all governments measures are adhered to,” Mr Damkjaer said.

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“No doubt all are looking at their workforce and ensuring the safety of employees and their families,” he said.

“There are many that are working from homes for various reasons such as caring for children and the elderly, those who can work from home are being deployed.”

He said many brokers were taking holiday and long service leave to reduce salary pressures, albeit it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

“To date I have only heard of a few retrenchments due to business decline, cargo is still moving, albeit reduced,” he said.

“With around 80% of Chinese factories back in production, we will slowly see this area gain traction in international trade.”

Mr Damkjaer said the CBFCA recommended and supported the push for the deferral of all duties and all processing fees with the ABF Customs Group.

“Our industry will be particularly endangered by having to pay out these funds without any guarantee of payments,” he said.

“This will mean cargo will not move because we won’t have the funds to pay duty/GST. However if the government allowed this part to be deferred to the BAS like GST… then we can lodge the full import declaration and pay them in immediately allowing for free movement of cargo.”

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