Russia Aims for Customs Reforms to Speed Cargo Processing

The Journal of Commerce reports that Russia is planning to significantly streamline customs clearance procedures with the aim of speeding cargo handling at its borders and seaports.

The reforms should be completed by May or June  pending decisions on several proposals  that are due by April 1, according to a spokesperson for Russia’s First Deputy Prime minister, Igor Shuvalov.

The Russian Federal Customs Service  (FCS) will also establish a new single window electronic platform able to process all of the necessary payments and documentation required by customs, the spokesperson said.

Currently when ships arrive at Russian ports, handling of each container requires up to 40 different documents. The situation is aggravated by the fact that documents must be provided to different controllers.  In OECD countries, the paperwork for processing a container takes no more than five hours with a cost of $36,  in the case of Russia these figures are estimated at 43 hours and $500 respectively, according to statistics of the FCS.

The cost of inspections at the Russian border is estimated at about 300 euros per container, while the cost of a customs warehouse may vary in the range of 15,000 to 150,000 rubles daily ($230 to $2,300), according to data from the FCS. After registration of all the necessary documents, the examination of goods takes 10 to 14 days.

There are also plans for the introduction of an automatic registration for e-declaration and to accelerate the process for issuing digital signatures during cargo clearance. The automatic registration is already being used for container exports and was introduced for imports at 12 customs stations in December.

Another planned measure involves the introduction of technology allowing an importer to submit a declaration of goods regardless of location.

Leading Russian and foreign shipping companies have already welcomed the latest plans, the implementation of which would cure an acute need, they say, as unloading a container vessel sometimes requires the preparation of myriad different documents, each of which requires certification by a seal.

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