KARACHI: FBR under the performance agreements signed with Prime Minister Office is n consistently reforming existing procedures and workflows in compliance with international commitments on trade facilitation.

Under the reforms initiatives undertaken by the Chairman FBR, Pakistan Customs is making great strides in improving the ease of doing business in the country.

Dr Saifuddin Junejo, Chief Collector of Customs Enforcement South Karachi, stated that on the special directives of Member Customs Tariq Huda, Model Customs Collectorate JIAP in coordination with Customs Reforms & Automation team has expedited the launch of its flagship pilot project on pre-arrival customs clearance titled Clearance in the Sky to allow pre-release of Corona vaccine as have started coming into the country.

The expedited but risk aware clearance of goods by Customs has a direct bearing on the dwell time, hence pre-arrival clearance is going to be one of the major contributors to the country s ease of doing business ranking.

Irfan ur Rehman Khan Collector of Customs said that pre-arrival customs processing is a requirement under Revised Kyoto Convention and it is obligatory on Pakistan Customs to follow international best practices on trade facilitation.

He added that pre-arrival clearance is mostly given to documents, de-minimis or low value goods being of low-risk. Clearance in the Sky shall be a game-changer for the leading sectors of the economy particularly for the manufacturers and exporters where industrial raw materials of de-minimis values shall be cleared by Customs prior to arrival.

It will bring down their inventory maintenance costs while improving their supply chain management.

Clearance in the Sky shall bring down the dwell nor of air cargo from hours to minutes which shall make a critical difference especially for lifesaving medicines, perishable commodities and urgently required documents.

Farah Farooq Additional Collector of Customs who is heading the pilot project informed that during the pilot run manifest filing module has been tested smoothly for over one month on Qatar Airways flights by their ground handling agent namely M/s Royal Airport Services for traders namely M/s Roche Pakistan and Artistic Dennim Mills in the first phase.

The Customs Reforms and automation team is in the process of reviewing the readiness of trade to adapt to the pre-arrival clearance module before its roll-out across the board.

There are more than 16 international airlines and 4 ground handlers operating at Karachi Airport. However, the volume of air cargo trade is too small compared to regional and international average. It is anticipated that the clearance time of perishable goods, lifesaving medicines and duty-free imports and parcels will be further reduced from 10 hours to one hour at the airports, while industrial raw material and intermediary products could be cleared in less than one day.

Pre-Arrival clearance will have its impact on increasing by air trade volumes and will help Pakistan’s seamless integration with international supply chains.

Director General Automation Wajid Ali, Director Sanaullah Abro, Additional Director Dr. aamir Nawaz, Deputy Collector Sabir Jamal and Assistant Collector Promela Jacob were also present on the occasion.