The Stakes

Trade balance rules make shipping IT hardware into Latin America very difficult for foreign entities. This not only adds significantly to the time and cost of the process but also introduces a significant measure of risk if not done properly.

The movement of IT equipment around Latin American countries is heavily regulated, and the importing entity faces multiple challenges such as long customs clearance times, inconsistent interpretation of customs regulations, and subjective customs inspectors. Another layer of complication is added to the import when the goods are refurbished.

TecEx’s client is a leading innovator in sports technology, recognized for delivering the sports officiating technology such as the well-known Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system which makes the sport fairer, safer, and more engaging along with line calling technology in international tennis, goal-line technology in football and the review system in cricket.

The client, having already provided VAR technology to leagues across Europe, now needed to ship its system to various stadia around the world to fulfill a new contract – including Buenos Aires, a destination where they have no import entity.

The Unique Challenge

The project was brought to TecEx’s attention on the 23rd of January, with the CONMEBOL Recopa football event set to take place from 9th – 15th February 2018. In one of the matches, Independiente were to take on Gremio, to be overseen by the client’s VAR system.

The challenge presented to TecEx was to ensure the technology was shipped, cleared and delivered within two weeks. The fact that the goods were refurbished items added to the complexity making compliance far more onerous for the TecEx team. To add a further layer of complication to the shipment, the goods had to be consolidated from three separate continents before they could be shipped to their final destination, one of the most complex and compliance heavy countries in the world, Argentina.

The TecEx Solution

Although the timing was extremely tight, based on experience and in-depth knowledge of shipping into Latin America, the TecEx team knew that there was a strong chance of success.

We began by consolidating the goods from the UK and the US and bringing them together in a third hub in the US. Because the products were second-hand, Argentina’s compliance laws regarding refurbished goods came into effect. The goods had to be checked and documented very specifically. Serial codes and Harmonized System codes had to be verified and only then could the packaging and sending of the goods to their final destination actually take place.

The Outcome

Thanks to TecEx’s vast knowledge and capabilities, we were able to take on the task and ship on very short notice, helping our client keep their promises, and clearing customs in Argentina in record time.

In fact, the goods arrived on the very day they were needed, and they really were needed. (In the final, Lima of Gremio disputed a ball with Silva of Independiente. The ref did not issue a yellow card at first but went to VAR, after which his decision was modified.)

As part of the turnkey solution provided by TecEx, we have already exported the equipment out of Argentina and delivered it back to our client.

The Final Score

The client was happy, and the various stakeholders were satisfied. The only disappointing outcome was the match result – a draw. The bottom line is this: always use a partner who is fully aware of the compliance requirements for importing IT hardware into your destination region – because when you do, there’s little that’s truly impossible.