When the new Incoterms ® Rules 2010 came into force (January 2011) we decided it was appropriate for us to use the Delivered at Terminal (DAT) term. We have just had a complaint via a forwarder saying that a customer has just incurred £1000 storage charges at the destination airport because we could not provide evidence of customs clearance so the goods couldn’t be released at the terminal. We would be grateful if you could comment on this issue.

Because this was a new term in the 2010 Rules, we don’t have many tried and tested cases to fall back on. However, we think your situation is quite straightforward and believe there is some unnecessary confusion about the responsibilities of buyer and seller at the destination terminal. One of the key points is to establish the named terminal under the agreement: in your case this was DAT Airport of Arrival. The DAT term makes the seller responsible for export clearance, export paperwork, delivery to the buyer’s country and off-loading from the arriving means of transport. The buyer is responsible for taking possession of the goods after off-loaded at the place named. The place should be a “terminal” prior to customs clearance, therefore delivery to that point should not require special paperwork, other than the normal documents. When the goods are handed to the buyer or their agent at the point named along with the appropriate shipping documents (shipping invoice, transport document — air waybill, bill of lading or CMR note) and any other related documents as required under the contract, eg Certificate of Origin, preference document etc, it is clear that the buyer has charge of the goods legally and is then free to do the customs entry and clear the goods into the country of arrival.

As you had DAT at your airport of arrival we can’t see what additional paperwork you would have to produce over and above the standard shipping paperwork to get the goods off-loaded and delivered into the terminal at the airport. If, though, you quote DAT to an in-land terminal you will have to ensure that the goods can be moved from the arrival point to the terminal under customs control to permit customs clearance to take place after delivery. It will cause problems if the in-land terminal is not an approved customs clearance point, so do check this out.

Source:- Croners Wolters Kluwer Business