14pc of imported goods customs cleared before arrival

MUSCAT, JULY 22 – At the end of 2017, the Oman Logistics Center and Directorate General of Customs conducted a trial for pre-clearance of import goods through the seaport of Sohar. This trial is part of the national plan to improve performance of the logistics sector in Oman and to transform Oman into an international trade and logistics hub. Following successful conclusion of the trial, an increasing number of importers have continued to practice cargo pre-arrival reporting and clearance, which is a method for completing customs and other Ministries clearances before goods arrive in the Sultanate. In the month of April, 14 per cent of goods imported through Sohar Port were pre-cleared and released before their arrival. The 14 per cent is an increase from the 1 to 2 per cent of pre-clearances that were occurring before the trial.
The recently conducted pre-clearance trial is part of the Government’s commitment to facilitate trade at local ports by improving conditions for traders and reducing restrictions and moving to risk management. Pre-clearance is the global best practice for managing the importation of goods.
The Bayan system, an online single window (one-stop service) developed by the Directorate General of Customs of ROP enables seamless, convenient and faster clearance of goods for the business community and other stakeholders in the Sultanate. With pre-clearance in place, goods can be delivered in shorter timeframes, providing cost benefits to traders and giving them faster access to their cargo. Local importers are getting used to pre-clearance processing by adopting new ways of working in the digital environment.
The Oman Logistics Center teamed up with ROP’s Directorate General of Customs to deliver the pre-clearance trial which is an international best practice for managing import shipments. Pre-clearance requires submitting of required information to the authorities before the arrival of cargo, which makes it possible for shipments to be fully released upon arrival.
Col Khalifa Ali al Siyabi, Director General of Customs, ROP, stated: “Goods and materials of huge volumes are moving into the Sultanate to meet the growing demands of Oman’s businesses and consumers. In meeting these objectives, infrastructure and systems are required to move the goods at the lowest cost and shortest time possible. We, at, ROP, along with Oman Logistics Center encourage traders to practice pre-arrival reporting as a more efficient and effective way to move goods and to manage their supply chains.”
“We are fully committed to use the possible tools to facilitate customs procedures and enhance the flow of trade using the best international practices within the framework of the Sultanate’s commitments to the Convention for the Facilitation and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures (Kyoto). Moreover, we would like to invite the local along with the international importers, exporters, logistics service providers and the investors to make full use of the pre-clearance scheme as well as the rest of Customs initiatives that we are planning to adopt especially in the sea ports, the main outlet of the Sultanate international trade.”
MC Jose, CEO of Khimji Ramdas Projects & Logistics Group said, “It is a milestone achievement as far as import cargo clearance in OMAN is concerned. The positive approach and cooperation extended by ROP Customs to the initiatives of OLC trade facilitation team has made this into a reality. The dwell time of import cargo will drastically reduce if all importers use the pre-clearance facility.”
The pre-clearance pilot project which was launched in July 2017 included business process re-engineering by the public and private sectors. The project included participation by 17 local companies, including authorised economic operators, risk management for clearances, single window reporting for traders and one-stop-shops at border crossing points for inspections.
Oman Logistics Center works with the Directorate General of Customs to facilitate trade in multiple ways involving public and private sector participants in concrete projects and processes. The main target is to make trading and logistics processes more productive and competitive in transforming the Sultanate into an international logistics hub as set out in the National Logistics Strategy 2040. Reducing time and cost required for trading being the key objectives.