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Automation key to customs efficiency

Automation key to customs efficiency

Private-sector enterprises urged Cambodia’s Customs Department yesterday to introduce an online application and payment system for shipments, rather than the manual method used currently that eats into time and resources.

At a luncheon jointly organised by CAMFEBA and the American Chamber of Commerce, a Tax Department official said a strategy was in place to improve customs clearance operations and establish a single-window system, though the department was waiting for funding to implement it.

“We are developing the program and hope to have it in the future,” said Sang Sinavith, deputy director for planning, technique and international affairs at the General Department of Taxation.

“We are working on automating the system and developing a customs master list,” he added.

Charles Esterhoy, chief operating officer at Kerry WorldBridge SEZ, said an online system with updated information and better communication would make things easier for the private sector.

“What is inefficient is that more than half or 60 per cent of the time, physical appearance at the customs service is still required,” he added. “If the system could be further developed, we would be able to use it efficiently.”

Additionally, he said customs officials should have flexible work hours, as shipments that arrive during holidays or after working hours can sustain costly delays if an official is not present.

Nuon Ratana, sales and marketing manager at RDL Logistics, said processing customs documents remains a serious challenge and establishing an online system to process all required shipping documents would save cost and time.

“We have faced some issues with customs service, however, recently it seems to be better in terms of paper processing,” he said.

Cambodia ranked 83 out of 160 countries in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2014, an improvement on its 2012 ranking of 101.

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