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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  May 2011

Vietnamese seaports to use e-customs

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Seven seaports will experimentally apply electronic customs declarations effective June 9 under a new decision by the Prime Minister.

Applicants can complete necessary procedures via the Internet within eight hours prior to the arrival of their ships or within two hours prior to departure from the ports.

Paperwork must still be submitted, however, within two hours of ships mooring or leaving the ports. Port customs officials will have one hour to respond to the ship's requirements as soon as they receive completed documents.

The head of the Vung Tau Seaport Border Guard Command, Sr Lt Col Nguyen Nhuan Quynh, said his office began implementing electronic procedures in March, and he confirmed that they have proven highly effective in saving time and facilitating the work of both border officials and customs applicants.

The Prime Minister's decision, by expanding the pilot implementation of e-customs procedures, would give the Vung Tau port a chance to further improve its capabilities and facilities, including staff training and disseminating information about the procedures to over 200 businesses and shipping companies that use the port, Quynh said.

The Vung Tau command is in charge of about 50 international ports in the southern provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Binh Duong, with about 30 ships coming and going from the ports everyday.

"Previously, when ships want to arrive or depart for loading or unloading of goods, they had to wait until their representative completed paper forms. This led to a stagnancy of ships and goods at ports," Quynh said.

Now, with e-procedures submitted earlier, the ships were able to go straight to or leave the port, carrying out their tasks without delay, and the authorities were also able to master more data about the ships coming and going, he added.

Quynh said that the remaining difficulty was that not all businesses or shipping agencies had the proper information technology in place to use the new system and many were still ill-prepared in how to use it.

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