Places of Temporary Storage
What is Temporary Storage?
When commercial goods enter Timor-Leste, they do so by air or by sea, or via a land border. When the goods arrive, they are initially considered to be in “temporary storage.” Following arrival, there is a legal requirement for the goods to be placed under a “customs treatment” within a specified time frame. This simply means that the goods must be declared to customs as an import, re-exported, or placed in an approved bonded warehouse facility. Importantly, this must be completed within a strict timeframe, as failure to do so will result in customs issuing you with a financial penalty:
- Arrival by sea: 30 business days; and
- Arrival by air or land: 20 business days.
These types of facilities are not only reserved for government control; you can also apply to operate a temporary storage facility, however; you must have several strict requirements to obtain the relevant license from the Customs Authority. Once approved, you will be designated as a “warehouse operator.” Please refer to License Requirements and Application below for more information.
Types of Goods
Once approved by customs, you will be able to store any types of goods within your storage facility, including full container loads and partial container loads.
Preserve Quality of Goods
With power outages commonplace in Timor-Leste, ensuring that your goods do not spoil while they await clearance in a port is always challenging. As a warehouse operator, you will be able to provide that reliable power and appropriate equipment is in place to preserve the quality of goods, including:
- Dry containers;
- Deep-freeze systems; and
- Bulk storage facilities.
Meeting the strict requirements needed to operate a bonded warehouse will likely require a financial investment from you, including the need to submit a security deposit lodged with the government. Once approved by customs, there are many advantages of being a warehouse operator, including:
- Goods can be transported to your facility as soon as they have arrived in the country. This means you will not have to pay port storage fees and can ensure the goods are kept in a secure and appropriate environment;
- You can charge your customers appropriate fees for the ongoing administration and storage of goods under your control
- You can offer and charge for other services as well, for example, Customs Brokerage, or supply of workers to assist with customs examinations etc.
License Requirements and Application
These licensing requirements apply to both bonded warehouses and places of temporary storage.
The facility must be:
- Owned by you, or if leased, there must be for at least three years or more remaining on the leasehold agreement
- Secure, and include perimeter fencing or walls; security guards onsite at all times; and appropriate CCTV coverage
- Accessible by customs at all times, including access to appropriate office space for Customs and internet connectivity to the customs electronic processing system; ASYCUDA World.
As an operator, you must be able to demonstrate that you:
- Are a person of good character, including honesty, respect, and compliance with Timor-Leste laws, particularly with Customs and Taxation laws. Customs will undertake appropriate background checks to confirm this
- Are a registered business and lawfully permitted to operate in Timor-Leste
- Can deposit a bank guarantee covering a value equivalent to at least 50% of customs duties and taxes on the goods stored
- Will provide access to appropriate cargo handling equipment in accordance with the type of goods being stored
- Can demonstrate that you can maintain adequate records and accounts
- Can operate the facility in accordance with the requirements of the license