Containers cannot be seized along with goods, decides São Paulo courtJun, 15, 2022 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros
The container is not to be confused with the cargo it carries. Therefore it shall not be seized along with goods. With this ruling, a São Paulo Court of Justice (TJ-SP) determined that the Port of Santos manager must return a held container to a foreign trade operator.
According to the records, the cargo was withheld by the Federal Revenue Service to verify irregularities. However, the port administrator also kept the container to keep the goods until the inspection was completed. The importer then went to court seeking the object’s return, independently from the products it once contained.
The request was granted in the first instance, and the TJ-SP confirmed the decision. According to the rapporteur, judge Fábio Podestá, Law 9.611/98, article 24, sole paragraph, establishes that a container is a piece of equipment intended for transporting goods, being independent of them.
“Although cargo unitization facilitates handling, storage, and transporting goods through the customs terminal, the container is not essentially tied to imported products. Besides, no legal norm requires goods to be kept in containers, pending the analysis of the import declaration in the gray channel.”
Podestá stated that customs clearance rules do not require the goods to remain inside the container in which they were transported, so “the defendant’s assertion that clearing the container first would entail getting a customs authorization is not convincing.”
“Because the container is autonomous equipment in relation to the cargo, with multiple owners, the obligation for the container to be held during customs processing would require an independent rule.”
In addition, the rapporteur dismissed the defendant’s argument that they are not legally mandated to store loose cargo while the Federal Revenue inspects it: “it is up to the defendant to provide adequate physical space and logistics for cases such as this one, in which customs authorities do not clear the goods within the ordinary period.” The decision was unanimous.
To read the full original article, please go to: https://www.conjur.com.br/2022-jun-15/conteiner-nao-apreendido-junto-mercadoria-tj-sp
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