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Clearance in the Sky: Customs introduces pre-arrival clearance facility

KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has introduced a pre-arrival clearance facility under its flagship pilot project ‘Clearance in the Sky’ at Model Customs Collectorate (MCC), Jinnah International Airport (JIAP) Karachi.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Clearance in the Sky,’ Saifuddin Junejo Chief Collector, customs enforcement said pre-arrival clearance facility was considered as a trade facilitation tool as it would bring down the customs clearance time to a few minutes from hours.

Further, he said three importers were currently getting consignments cleared under pre-arrival clearance facility in the first phase and the number of importers would be extended to 10 in coming days. He said that after the commencement of pre-arrival clearance facility, the shipments of covid-19 vaccine would take no time in the customs clearance.

Chief collector said the project team was in the process of reviewing the readiness of trade to adopt the pre-arrival clearance requirements before its full roll-out and added that the ‘Clearance in the Sky’ would be a turnaround for the leading sectors of the economy particularly for the manufacturers and exporters where industrial raw materials of low values would also be pre-arrival customs cleared, which would bring down their inventory maintenance costs while improving their supply chain management.

Elaborating the project details through an electronic presentation, collector customs MCC JIAP Irfan ur Rehman said through this facility, the cargo manifest was filed in advance immediately after the take-off of the flight from the origin. The advance feeding of manifest allows the traders and their customs clearing agents to file their goods declarations to the customs. The declarations filed in advance are checked through the risk management system. An electronic message on the release status is sent to the traders while the goods are still in the air.

Under the pilot project the pre-arrival manifest filing has been tested smoothly for over one month on Qatar Airways flights by their ground handling agent namely M/s Royal Airport Services. Presently, M/s Pfizer, M/s Roche Pakistan and M/s Artistic Denim Mills are getting consignments cleared under pre-arrival clearance facility in the first phase.

Furthermore, Irfan said after the successful test of this pilot project, it would be rolled out rest of the other airports countrywide in three months and added that the clearance in the sky would bring down the dwell time of air cargo whereas in case of lifesaving, medicines, perishable commodities and urgently required documents, the customs clearance time was anticipated to get reduced to few minutes from hours.

Prior to launch of the clearance in the sky, no declaration could be processed through the risk management system before landing whereas now the two-tier RMS is enabled to cheek the risks attached with any consignment while the goods are in still air, he maintained.

Meanwhile, Sanaullah Abro, director, reforms and automation said that during last couple of months, the Directorate had rolled out 17 modules including e-auction, the clearance in the sky, etc and added that they were planning to launch the ‘clearance in the sky’ project at seaports to facilitate the trade.

Arshad Jamal senior vice chairman All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) while talking to the BR after the event lauded the efforts of Pakistan customs for trade facilitation, saying that the ‘clearance in the sky’ project was the need of an hour and it would help reduce the dwell time of air cargoes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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