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Businesses perspiring profusely with e-customs   2011-01-02 - Tuoi tre

Having been carrying out e-customs clearance at Cat Lai, Tan Cang and Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi ports for the last two weeks, customs agencies hope that this will help simplify procedures and ease cumbersome procedures. However, many businesses say they are tired with e-customs.


Three days needed for a customs declaration


The e-customs clearance has been applied for the last two weeks at some ports in HCM City. However, in recent days, representatives of businesses have to come directly to the ports to ask for the permission to make manual customs declarations instead of e-customs clearance. The representatives said that the server has been too busy, which makes it difficult to access online procedures.


T, Deputy Director of L shipping service company in HCM City, said that his company is providing customs services to many import-export companies. Since the day the e-customs clearance was launched at Cat Lai, the officers of the company have been “cooling their heels” for the whole day to make customs declarations. The problem is that the transmission line which allows to transmit data from enterprises to customs agencies and from customs agencies to enterprises has been too busy,

“In the past, it took us two days only to make customs declaration manually. we now have to spend 3-4 days,” T complained.


As a customs service provider, T said that his staff  memorised all the necessary procedures and know how to fill in information and what to do to get e-customs clearance. However, it is difficult to transmit the declarations to customs agencies.


In some cases, it took us several days to get import goods cleared, instead of 7-15 minutes as previously thought.


Director of an export enterprise in HCM City said that a batch of export goods to Australia of the company has missed the ship, while the next ship will only depart in one week. The director said that the customs procedures took his company three days more than previous expected.


Due to the tardiness, the company has been facing a lot of other troubles: the foreign partner complained about the late delivery, while the company has to pay additional fee to store the goods at the port.


Many other businesses also complain that they still cannot get imports as previously planned because they cannot complete the procedures.


Infrastructure needs upgrading


Representative of Lien Anh shipping service Company in HCM City said that in principle, e-customs procedures bring big benefits to enterprises. However, it seems unreasonable to force all enterprises to apply e-customs procedures right at this moment. End of year is when imports arrive in large quantities, therefore the overloading can be anticipated.


He said that the volume of imports which the company, is making procedures to clear on behalf of the clients,, has increased by 30 percent in comparison with ordinary days. Meanwhile, the customs agency at Saigon Port zone 1, said that every day, 1000 customs declarations get e-customs clearance


However, the agency admitted that the erratic transmission line has been slowing down the customs clearance. In order to speed up the clearance, the agency has been prioritizing the companies which transmit declarations early in the morning or late in the afternoon. An official from Cat Lai port said that some enterprises transmit customs clearance at 4 am or even 12pm.


Modernising customs – a big project


According to the Ministry of Finance, in 2011, the customs branch will implement the modernization programme, under which the time for goods examination and for customs clearance will be shortened to bring it to the average time level in the four advanced countries in the region, including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is expected that the e-customs clearance will be implemented nationwide from April 2011.

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