To help control import costs and combat the volatile rand, import and working capital specialist Investec Import Solutions’ online client portal, BlueLink, offers a complete end-to-end view of the entire import transaction on one platform from order placement through to delivery.
“With the current economic crisis, companies, as well as freight forwarding and clearing agencies, don’t have the funding or the credit . . . to pay for import costs, so we are offering finance and the ability to track and monitor shipments,” says Investec Import Solutions corporate accounts head Dr Greg Cline.
Usually, a company that imports components or equipment using freight transport would have to secure bank finance, register at a different bank for foreign exchange (forex) and use a host of applications to calculate the final cost and track the import progress, he explains.
Cline states that Investec Import Solutions can now provide funding, forex and enhanced control, including accurate tracking for clients to facilitate entire import transactions from order placement to delivery.
“We calculate the cost of individual units and, when a container is being shipped, we determine the overall size of the container and how much of a specific item would fit in the container. This means that we can calculate the exact cost per cubic metre of a particular imported shipment.”
He points out that having visibility of the complete import procedure means that, when products and components arrive, there is no need for clients to do complicated paperwork.
“With your forex and logistics all with us, we can say what you paid for your forex, and we can show what the freight rate and customs duty were, thereby enabling customers to do a cost analysis of everything that they are importing,” Cline explains.
The client portal shows when components arrive at port, whether there is a customs delay and how long that might be, as well as whether documentation is required to clear it.
Investec Import Solutions tracks the financial situation and where the physical products are in the supply chain. With smaller shipments, for smaller companies, the system provided by the company is beneficial because of the ease of tracking products and securing financing, Cline highlights.
He says a larger portion of the company’s business involves imported automotive parts for local assembly lines. This means that, while the diversity of locally manufactured components has dwindled, the number of vehicles that are manufactured locally is increasing, which ultimately boosts the volume of locally made components.
With these increasingly important dynamics, the global market has a stronger influence over the costs of imported products into the country.