Brazil has a reputation for being one of the most complex and bureaucratic countries in the world. In addition to many individual rules and procedures, the tax and customs system is complicated. In most cases, customers have to grapple with various suppliers and numerous documents when handling imports and exports. Despite all this, trade with Brazil remains attractive: companies from many of the most important industrial sectors in South America have their headquarters in the world’s ninth-largest economy. The port of Santos is an important hub for importers, exporters and service providers and is South America’s largest container freight terminal. This particularly applies to less-than-container loads (LCLs), which consolidate small shipments in groupage containers and therefore offer a low-cost option over long distances. It is necessary to overcome certain challenges before the LCL container is unloaded and the goods reach their destination.
First of all, it takes between 48 and 72 hours on average for the goods to be unloaded and consolidated at the port. Even if Brazil has the best road network in comparison to the rest of South America, many routes are poorly maintained and travel is time-consuming because of the huge distances within the country. Customers can therefore expect it to take between seven and ten days until the goods arrive at their destination from the port, when customs clearance and the delivery time are included. Regarding customs formalities, it is not only necessary to take note of particular prohibitions – e.g. on goods in the agriculture and fisheries sectors – in order to maintain natural and cultural riches, but there are also labelling requirements to protect the final consumers. A major challenge during customs clearance is the so-called ‘Declaração de Importação’, the important declaration which requires precise information about the freight in question and knowledge of the national language.
In order to meet these strict requirements in the best possible way, obtaining digital support is highly recommended. A transport management system (TMS) is the ideal solution here. This allows the shipping company to precisely track and organise the individual stages for the LCL shipment. By providing a link to the company’s own ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, it can serve as a communications platform for messages passed between companies and freight forwarders. It provides time and cost savings as well as simplified delivery processes as the basis for smooth supply chain management operations. The transparent overview also helps maintain the safety of the LCL shipment and delivery times can be reliably adhered to.
The Fênix TMS at Rhenus is primarily tailored to foreign trade that uses air- and sea freight. It automatically draws up shipment documents and stores them within the system. The tool provides detailed information about the current status of the consignment, too. Fênix also offers additional functions, which make it a unique system in the marketplace. The cloud basis, for example, gives users all the information in real time and complete control over the processes. KPIs can be accessed with just a few clicks. These include shipment tracking and the precise logistical costs per item and container or package. It is also possible to obtain precise transparency and traceability for the complete shipment process, even down to item level.
Other advantages of the cloud basis include lower overall costs and a higher return on investment as well as free and regular updates. This makes it particularly attractive for fairly small companies; a standard TMS does not usually pay off for them because of their low-level requirements. If customers have an Internet connection, they can access the TMS software from anywhere in the world. The supplier and the freight forwarder receive the order at the same time and can follow the production process, authorise the shipment and manage processes ranging from the order to the final delivery. The tool also helps to save printing costs and all the correspondence with customers and suppliers or even with public authorities is handled digitally in a sustainable manner.
The functions available in Fênix are precisely geared to the high standards required for shipping goods to Brazil. Converting amounts into the Brazilian currency, the real, is not always easy. The TMS provides detailed insight into the costs for logistics and goods. As a result, users are able to optimise their resources and guarantee their company’s competitiveness in the marketplace. Based on real-time information, the time required for deliveries is transparent at any time and this enables precise forecasts to be made for the delivery. Thanks to communication opportunities, it is simple to plan tasks like the pick-up and final delivery of the goods, which involve agreements with co-loaders. A connection with the company’s own ERP system helps with customs clearance; as a result, the various documents for the import declaration or the labelling requirements are available at the press of a button. Even language barriers or other spontaneous problems are resolved simply through communications with the service provider or local agents.
Shipping goods to Brazil is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to dealing with foreign trade. Transport management systems on a cloud basis, such as Fênix, permit smooth procedures and precise tracking of the delivery, and make it easy to organise the documents that are required. It is also possible to communicate with the contact partners at any time to solve spontaneous problems quickly. A good TMS, combined with a competent service provider, which has experience with the customs formalities in the destination country, is the ideal precondition for handling foreign trade.
What has your experience been when exporting and importing goods to and from Brazil? We look forward to hearing from you.
Key Account Manager | Rhenus Pirâmide Comércio Exterior
Rua Joaquim Floriano 960 5. Andar
04534-004 São Paulo SP
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