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Sleepless nights for Lang Son customs officers due to customs clearances of agricultural products

10:14 | 22/12/2021

VCN – The Lang Son border gate has witnessed the largest congestion of agricultural products ever. To solve this problem, agencies at all levels have offered solutions. At the moment, the Customs force in Lang Son is working 24 hours per day to clear goods.

In the past two weeks, goods moving to the border gate have increased, leading to congestion in Lang Son province. Due to the pandemic, the transportation of goods has become slower than usual, but this is still good news for businesses, shippers and management agencies. However, on December 8, due to pandemic situation in Ninh Minh district (Bang Tuong), China, the Chinese side decided to stop the customs clearance of goods at the Ai Diem-Chi Ma bilateral border gate.

From December 8 to 17, all activities at this border gate were still "immovable", increasing the number of containers stuck at the border gate area to over 750. However, the Chi Ma Border Gate Customs Branch (Lang Son Customs Department) has arranged officers to work 24 hours per day to guide and handle necessary procedures for businesses and goods owners.

At 12 o'clock (Hanoi time) on December 17, the Chinese side resumed customs clearance at the Po Chai - Tan Thanh border gate. Photo: Tan Thanh HQ
At 12 o'clock (Hanoi time) on December 17, the Chinese side resumed customs clearance at the Po Chai - Tan Thanh border gate. Photo: Tan Thanh HQ

With the increasing volume of goods, this is considered to be the biggest congestion ever arising at the Tan Thanh border gate. When goods are not cleared, it not only affects economic losses and costs for businesses, but also entails many problems such as security and safety for anti-pandemic measures at the area.As for the Tan Thanh border gate, from the morning of December 15, the Chinese side also stopped customs clearances, causing the Vietnamese border gate area to be jammed with more than 4,000 containers, mainly of watermelon, dragon fruit, green banana, jackfruit and mango.

In order to stabilize the situation and provide a solution, authorities at all levels have urgently introduced solutions. At the Tan Thanh border gate, customs officers are on duty in cold weather 24 hours per day to maintain the security and order necessary to conduct customs clearance when the Chinese side reopens the gate.

Tan Thanh Customs officers support each other to implement Covid quick-test regulations to prevent the pandemic. Photo: Tan Thanh Customs
Tan Thanh Customs officers support each other to implement Covid quick-test regulations to prevent the pandemic. Photo: Tan Thanh Customs

“It's been a week since the truck moved from the South, but they have now been at the border gate for half a month. Even if they are kept in cool containers, the quality of fresh fruits decreases and is at risk of being rejected by the importer. Exporters not only suffer the loss of damaged goods but also pay a lot of expenses, such as, cold running, container fees, accommodation and even the costs for periodical Covid tests”.Speaking to Customs News, a Tan Thanh Customs officer said he feels sad when a large volume of goods of enterprises is at risk of damage if they do not quickly pass through the customs clearance.

The Tan Thanh Customs Branch has arranged officers to carry out procedures 24hours per day at the checkpoint, to channel vehicles and carry out customs clearance procedures immediately if the Chinese side decides to reopen the border gate.

Accordingly, Tan Thanh Customs has assigned two or three people each shift, taking turns on duty. However, each officer determines that he or she may have to stay on duty for a whole day, a week, or even a month, not for eight hours as the assigned schedule. They always prepare necessities for the colleagues when on duty, such as instant noodles, a kettle, warm clothes, covid tests and a warm sense of teamwork.

Taking turns on duty, in the cold at night, sometimes it drops below 10 degrees Celsius, but no one seems to hesitate. They just hope that commercial activities will return to normal soon to relieve the existing difficulties for enterprises.

From the distance, in the Bao Nguyen yard, container trucks were rumbling, groaning and thousands of container trucks were still "anchoring" along the highway. Somewhere along the route, you can see glimpses of the temporary living and accommodation of the drivers, who seem to expect their truck will soon be free to run to other side of the border to deliver to their partners.

For more than two days (from December 15), businesses, goods owners and management agencies are waiting for the reopening of the Chinese side. At 12 o'clock (Hanoi time), on December 17, the Chinese side decided to open the gate to receive goods from Vietnam. However, at the moment, the clearance of agricultural products at the Tan Thanh - Po Chai route is still taking place very slowly. Meanwhile, the number of containers stuck at the Tan Thanh border gate as of noon today is still at over 4,000.

By Nụ Bùi/Huyền Trang