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Customs completes “open port” pilot mechanism at Cai Mep Port cluster

16:08 | 08/08/2022

VCN – Customs has actively provided solutions to complete procedures and assign human resources to support the development of the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Seaport System.

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Customs completes “open port” pilot mechanism at Cai Mep Port cluster
Cai Mep-Thi Vai Seaport System.

Preparing conditions for open port mechanism

At a recent meeting with the Standing Board of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Provincial Party Committee, the Prime Minister directed the local government to focus on developing logistics to become a major global and regional Logistics Center, and regional connection infrastructure, connecting major national and international traffic axes.

To achieve the goals, the Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the People's Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province and relevant agencies to build pilot mechanisms and policies for "open ports" in Cai Mep Port.

The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to collaborate with relevant agencies and Ba Ria - Vung Tau province to urgently establish the Customs Branch of Goods Verification at Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port and arrange a working place not later than the second quarter of 2022.

According to Cai Mep International Logistics Joint Stock Company, in order to promote Cai Mep - Thi Vai area as the key port and international transshipment area, it is necessary to have a connection between ports in the same area. This means that the development of the pilot mechanism to connect the operation and transportation of goods between ports in Cai Mep area is necessary to optimize the operational capacity and make use of the advantages of berths in the port.

The Ministry of Finance has assigned the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) to implement solutions.

Accordingly, Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc signed Decision 223/QD-BTC on March 1 to establish the Customs Branch of Goods Verification at Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port under the GDVC’s Customs Department of Goods Verification. The establishment of the branch will bring great potential for the development of import and export trade across the province and neighboring areas.

When proposing the establishment of the branch in Cai Mep - Thi Vai port area, the People's Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province assessed the current status in the area and the potential to boost the development of import-export and logistics.

According to the local government, the specialized inspection of imports and exports still faces obstacles, leading to increasing costs, prolonging customs clearance time, and causing difficulties for businesses and Customs authorities because the specialized inspection agencies are appointed by the ministries and sectors and are not located in the same area. The move to carry out the inspection in the unfavorable conditions of traffic and distance has caused great difficulties for businesses.

Develop appropriate management and supervision conditions

Currently, the GDVC has developed a draft Decision on piloting the Customs control for goods imported, exported, transited and transshipped among ports in the same port cluster (open port). Accordingly, this decision will specify the scope and principles of the open port area; cargo across the open port area; transporting goods from the wharf to the open port area and vice versa; handling cargo in open port areas; and customs procedures for goods across the open port.

Vietnam Maritime Corporation (VIMC) proposed that the information system of the open port should be connected to the current ports and Customs data system to ensure control of cargo in an accurate fashion. If applying the open port mechanism at Cai Mep - Thi Vai port cluster, it will promote competitiveness, attract imported and exported and transshipped goods; shorten loading time and increase port transfer productivity, allow inter-port cargo transfer for imported and transited goods; create a mechanism for the connection between ports to optimize operational capacity and remove shortcomings in berths.

Ba Ria - Vung Tau Customs Department said that Cai Mep port cluster is under the management of Cai Mep Port Customs Branch along road 965, including 13 ports (including six container ports). Container terminals, bulk cargo terminals and special-use ports are separated by fences into separate areas, and ports are operated and managed by enterprises with different software. Therefore, the customs control for imported, exported, transited and transshipped goods among ports in the same port cluster at Cai Mep port cluster should be stipulated.

Ba Ria - Vung Tau Customs Department said that it is difficult to have a fence around the Cai Mep open port area because the container ports are located in different areas, while the open port mechanism is applied to container ports. Goods transported between ports may affect the safety and security of some specialized ports for chemicals and petroleum. Therefore, the local department proposed the GDVC to apply measures such as cameras, risk management and customs control to supervise goods transported in the open port.

The use of common software for the open port also needs to be specified and be connected with the Customs system and seaport operators in the open port area. The open port operators must provide information related to goods transportation among ports to the Customs system.

If the open port mechanism is launched at Cai Mep port cluster, the customs process and mechanism for coordination and information exchange between Customs and port operators must be issued.

By Ngoc Linh/Ngoc Loan