New Saudi Customs clearance procedures enhance shipments

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Faisal Saad Albedah

RIYADH —

Saudi Customs succeeded in completing the customs procedures for more than 1,373,000 customs declarations during the first half of 2018.

Faisal Saad Albedah, Deputy Governor for Trade Facilitation, Saudi Customs, pointed out that the volume of exports and imports during the mentioned period exceeded 66 million tons with a value of SR365,715,910,000. He added that more than 80% of Saudi Customs declarations are cleared within an average of 24 hours, and many shipments receive direct clearance before they reach the Customs’

ports.

Albedah also confirmed that the ongoing transformation has contributed in achieving the objectives of the 24-hour clearance program launched by the Saudi Customs late last year. Through reducing the number of documents needed for import and export, and activating the pre-arrival electronic submission, the Customs procedures and mechanisms have been

greatly enhanced.

He further said that one of the

most prominent achievements during the last period was the issuance of the new customs clearance practice guide, which authorized companies to issue customs clearance license. The guide also included many amendments that aim to contribute to monitoring customs imports and exports clearance activities, reducing customs violations, and addressing possible operational disputes. Faisal explained that local exporters were also allowed to use the Customs boding zone for storage purposes in line with trade facilitation procedures.

Furthermore, Albedah emphasized the contribution of the electronic national system for import and export “Fasah” in achieving positive outcomes in the clearance procedure, through enabling companies to track and complete their clearance procedures electronically. The system that was launched as a joint effort of 25 government entities, mostly aims to automate cross-border trade procedures, build a unified integrated electronic data interchange portal, and increase customs clearance transparency within import and export operations.

He highlighted the pioneering step recently taken by the Saudi Customs in cooperation with its strategic partner “Tabadul” and other international companies such as IBM Technical and Maersk Shipping Company to implement the “Blockchain” technology in sea ports. “Blockchain” is one of the most advanced technologies for digital transactions via Internet. It ensures the validation, licensing, and the highest levels of security and encryption to improve and digitalize sea shipments. This technology aims to speed up and facilitate ports operations safely, reliably, and at a high encryption level.

Albedah also said more work is underway on several projects that include improving exemptions and restrictions procedures, developing logistics services, and automating additional customs procedures. He stressed that developing import and export mechanisms will support and enhance the Kingdom’s positioning within the «cross-border trade» axis, one of the most significant topics in the World Bank Group›s Business Practice Report.

Albedah disclosed that the Saudi Customs and its partners will be holding several workshops at the Chambers of Commerce in different regions of the kingdom, to inform the private sector of their achievements, challenges, and latest developments regarding import and export mechanisms and procedures. The workshops aim to involve the private sector in the decision-making process through engaging them in relevant committees, which comes in line with the Executive Committee’s objectives to improve the business performance and increase effective communication with the private sector. — SG


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