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Pakistan Customs working to increase green channel clearances of containers to reduce dwell time at ports

Pakistan Customs working to increase green channel clearances of containers to reduce dwell time at ports

ISLAMABAD: The PTI-government is working on a strategy to increase green channel clearances of containers to reduce dwell time of containers at ports and facilitate trade.

A senior customs official while speaking to media said the step would place greater reliance upon Post Clearance Audit (PCA) and verification as per international best practices.

The move would also decrease personal interaction with customs officials at clearance while at the same time decrease the officials’ discretion in the process of goods clearance

The strategy includes steps to increase clearances by 10 per cent in the coming quarter and 10pc in the subsequent quarter ultimately increasing the total green clearances to 60pc.

The number of green channel clearances is affected by the conditionality imposed under the Import Policy as the Risk Management System (RMS) only clears containers which comply with the Import Policy.

Containers, under the green channel, usually take 15 minutes to clear the port and around 40pc of the total container traffic is cleared through this channel whereas the rest is done under yellow channel — marked for assessment or red channel — marked for examination.

He said the ultimate aim of the strategy is to facilitate genuine trade, promote industry, reduce port congestion and ensure efficient customs operations.

Pakistan Customs (PC) in February revamped the Web Based One Customs system (WeBOC) by developing and designing an upgraded user-friendly software version ‘WeBOC-Glo’ which was supported by a robust Risk Management System (RMS).

According to a customs official, confidentiality is maintained through a high-powered committee of collectors/directors coordinated by the RMS director while member operations directly conducts review sessions to improve RMS and transform it into an ‘Artificial Intelligence’ System.

The initiative to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) System, with Predictive Ana­lytics was worked upon by PC Operations Wing in 2018 and introduced into the RMS in January.

‘Predictive Analytics’ module, covering over 270 risk parameters, greatly reduced the number of containers examined by customs in the Red channel from around 300 per terminal in Karachi down to around 125 while increasing the detection rate from 33pc to 76pc resulting in reduction of the dwell time of containers.

Through certain other measures introduced in the RMS, the green channel clearances have improved from less than 10pc to 39pc, the official added.

Meanwhile, PC has also stepped up its efforts in development of the Pakistan Single Window Project which would form the Trade Hub for the country. It is worth mentioning that customs clearances takes around 17pc of the total time required for the containers to leave the ports. The rest of the time is consumed by other stakeholders in processing the documents.