Dubai-UAE: 15 May, 2013 – “Every organisation at the border needs to follow certain success factors for seamless collaboration through an intelligence-led approach by using technology and analytics that can filter right data, as well as mobile real-time inspection processes that increase speed and value of information at the point of trade,” said Brian Moran, Global Managing Director, Public Services Operations and Management, Accenture, in his keynote speech on the second day of the 2013 WCO IT Conference and Exhibition.
Moran added: “One of the main issues with the customs procedures is not the lack of information, but the ability to access data.” In addition, he emphasised the need to implement digital technology in customs processes at a time when electronic is fast becoming the preferred mode of doing business.
Offering the opening comments at the first roundtable for the day, Des Vertannes, Global Head of Cargo, International Air Transport Association (IATA), said: “E-commerce, aviation security, trade management and sustainability are the collective factors that define efficiency in coordinated border management (CBM).”
Highlighting areas of collaboration with International Air Transport Association (IATA) for achieving global harmonization of border management procedures, Vertannes said: “We have been working with WCO and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop long-term solutions in air cargo and border-trade cargo management. With increasing volumes, programs such as the US CVP pilot edition that offers advanced screening options help to manage air cargo and reduce duplication of paper-based data management.”
Vertannes added: “Solutions such as the e-Freight program link the entire consortium of consigners and consignees with the customs department in a seamless, paperless process. This also allows stakeholders to identify data required by border agencies well in advance. e-Freight is currently available in 462 airports globally; our goal is to implement the program in 80 per cent of airports by 2015. We also have devised the consignment security declaration which can be used to electronically transmit information, such as who has supplied the cargo, when and how, making it ideal to ensure security during border-trade.”
The keynote speech was followed by a session that drew out the perspectives of various customs and border agencies on customs border management. Facilitated by Jonathan Koh, Director, Trade Facilitation Centre of Excellence, Crimson Logic, the session drew on the experience of industry leaders including Pablo Castellvi, Deputy Director General of Planning, Federal Administrator of Public Revenues, Argentina; Mohammed Al Haif, Director Customs Union Department, GCC; Freek van Zoeren, Deputy Inspector General, Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), and Tim Chapman, First Assistant Secretary, Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
Commenting on the Argentinian experience in border management, Castellvi said: “Efficient border management requires increasing collaboration, especially with world trade expanding as never before. In Argentina, we have worked towards enhancing border management by using technology, and by developing collaborative zones with neighboring countries. We have also worked on implementing systems that saves information in addition to using electronic devices that assists in easing procedures and movement of consignments from one point to the other.”
Citing success stories in this regard, Castellvi added: “Argentina organizes an annual car race called ‘The Car,' which is considered to be one of the biggest automotive events in the world. As the customs authority, we have to inspect each car within a period of four minutes, which is a novel record in customs performance globally.”
Speaking of the Dutch model of collaborative border management in the consumer and food cargo category, Freek van Zoren said: “The Dutch economy rests heavily on international trade – it ranks fifth worldwide in terms of exports and seventh in terms of imports. Our experiences have revealed that increased check-post inspection is no longer a stand-alone solution to safe and secure border trade. Instead, we have implemented a layered model of managing information in the supply chain, which takes in to account data, logistics, actors or traders, financial information and documentation.”
He added: “The model has been applied in China, a country that routes 60 to 80 per cent of consumer products through Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The system enables us to collaborate with the Chinese consumer safety authority to reinforce the fundamental principle of the layered process, which is safety at the source. This facilitates seamless surveillance, exchange of testing data and reduced double-testing of cargo samples. Similarly, our method of electronic certification reduces the dependence on outdated paper-based documentation, which is vulnerable to fraud – and administrative burden – and a deterrent to direct communication between border authorities of different countries.”
Tim Chapman reaffirmed these thoughts, stating: “In Australia, we have over 2,000 inspectors within our ministry at the borders, who work to limit the entry of harmful plants, insects and chemicals from other countries. The various challenges in our work, unlike customs issues such as drugs, weapons and so on, include unintentional imports such as consignment infested with bugs, such as termites. The biggest challenge is that the importer does not realize the huge damage this could do to our country.”
Held at Atlantis Hotel at the Palm Dubai, the three day conference has attracted customs authorities representatives from border regulatory agencies, the IT sector, the broader business community, governmental and trade organizations, lending institutions, and others involved in the international trade arena.