Speeding up cargo clearance at Cat Lai port

VCN - In order to deal with the recent overloading at Cat Lai port due to escalating inventory volumes, a series of urgent solutions are being implemented to maintain smooth production activities and the supply chain of import and export goods.
HCM City Customs always ensure quick cargo clearance for enterprises during social distancing. Photo: T.H
Customs officers of Ho Chi Minh City carry out procedures for import and export goods via Cat Lai port. Photo: L.Linh

HCM City established support group

Mr. Dinh Khac Rich, Import-Export Department of Ha Long Food Company:

I have just transmitted the import customs declaration for a shipment of more than a dozen frozen food containers that just arrived at Cat Lai port at the weekend. Although Ho Chi Minh City is implementing social distancing according to Directive 16, restricting travel, Ho Chi Minh City Customs, especially the Customs Branch at the port have facilitaed us to clear the goods. In particular, some customs documents related to the shipment instead of having to be submitted the direct submission, a scan can be sent to the Customs office for review first, then we can add the supplement later. Along with that, the quarantine rate is also reduced to boost the clearance of goods. On average, each week, we import about 20-30 containers of frozen food through Cat Lai port. Thanks to support especially in the clear customs procedures of the units and management agencies at the port, the enterprises' goods are not backlogged at the port, and are promptly cleared for distribution on the market

In order to support and facilitate port businesses, together with goods import and export activities, on August 5, 2021, the Director of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department Dinh Ngoc Thang signed a decision to establish the Standing Group against goods congestion at the border gate.

Accordingly, the members of the working group include the Department leader and heads of border gate units with a large volume of import and export goods. This working group is responsible for coordinating with subordinate units and affiliated units to continue effectively implementing trade facilitation programs and solutions in order to maintain smooth state management of Customs clearance, clearance of goods at border gates and locations outside the border gates under the management of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department amid the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides, the Group within its authority has to proactively synthesize difficulties to report, advise and propose to the leaders of the Department urgent solutions to lift obstacles for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the near future.

For cases beyond the competence of the Department, the Group must advise and report to the General Department of Customs and the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City for timely solutions

In addition, the members of the working group will develop plans and offer solutions to solve the backlogs and problems arising at the unit, minimize the congestion of goods at the border gate especially during the social distancing in Ho Chi Minh City.

Currently, the Saigon port area 1 Customs Branch is coordinating with the Saigon Newport Corporation (SNP) to make statistics and carry out the transportation of backlogged containers over 90 days at Cat Lai port for storage at Hiep Phuoc port, with a volume of over 3,500 containers.

At the same time, the Cat Lai Port Backlog Handling Council will accelerate the liquidation, handle of backlogged goods, and force to re-export for shipments that are not eligible for import out of Vietnam's territory.

The unit has applied IT in clearing import and export goods, deployed many professional stages online; encouraged officials and employees to overcome difficulties and worked overtime to ensure the fastest completion of customs clearance. At the same time, the Sub-Departments have coordinated with warehouse and port business units to help businesses quickly settle payment procedures and get goods in time.

Accelerate the release of imported goods

According to Saigon Newport Corporation, thanks to timely directions and active solutions of relevant ministries and branches, especially the General Department of Customs, the Maritime Department - the Ministry of Transport, the Import-Export Department - the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Departments, departments, branches of Ho Chi Minh City and southern provinces, the joint effort to share difficulties of shipping lines, customers, the group of solutions to support the release of goods at Cat Lai port has initially brought into play. Currently, the number of containers imported into Cat Lai port is decreasing. If on August 3, the inventory of the whole port was nearly 108,800 TEUs (1 TUE is equivalent to 1 20-foot container), accounting for 87.7%, then on August 4, the inventory decreased to more than 106,700 TEUs, accounting for 85.1%. Cargo yards at the port have also been less stressful, the delivery of goods for businesses that are maintaining production is facilitated to make it easier for customs clearance procedures.

According to the leader of SNP, one of the most effective solutions to clear inventory at Cat Lai port is to speed up the release of imported containers from the port. To implement this solution, SNP organizes a large-scale online "Customer Dialogue" Workshop to discuss specific situations and directly discuss with each customer in order to carry out appropriate support policies, encourage customers to quickly release imported containers from the port.

Along with that, SNP is mapping a plan to transport these imported goods for more than 15 days at Cat Lai port to other seaports in Ho Chi Minh City and inland ports and ICDs under the system of Tan Cang Corporation Saigon such as: ICD Tan Cang - Long Binh, ICD Tan Cang - Nhon Trach, ICD Tan Cang - Song Than, Tan Cang, Hiep Phuoc port according to the instructions in Official Dispatch 3847/TCHQ-GSQL of the General Department of Customs.

In order implement the plan effectively, SNP unified the process with Customs sector, customers and shipping lines before the shipment. All transportation costs and lifting costs at both ends (destination and departure) are covered by SNP.

The Customs sector facilitates the circulation and movement of personnel in the production line in delivery and customs clearance of goods at ports more than 18 hours to promptly carry out import and export procedures, cargo delivery and receipt and to ensure uninterrupted production at the port.

In order to reduce the inventory at the yard, in addition to transferring unsold containers beyond the prescribed time to Hiep Phuoc port, SNP will optimize the efficiency of using the port yard and find more container yards outside the port. At the same time, containers between import and export container yards and empty containers in the port are loaded and rearranged accordingly to increase the receiving capacity for imported containers; maximize the container loading capacity of the yard; remove empty containers out of the port to have more space to store imported containers. All shipping costs are covered by SNP.

To support customers to receive imported containers which are unloaded from ships docked at Hiep Phuoc port, some services such as delivering the full containers to customers, parking; 24 hours operation of refrigerated containers are free of charge. Moreover, procedures to correct manifest/bill of lading to change the destination port after having fully completed the procedures on paper and on the national one-stop portal system are all supported.

As reported by Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport, the average number of vehicles entering and leaving Cat Lai port is 16,975 vehicles per day.

During the social distancing period in Ho Chi Minh City according to Directive 16 since July 9, the Department of Transport of Ho Chi Minh City issued vehicle identification certificates (QR codes) for 15,814 vehicles transporting import and export goods via Cat Lai port; at the same time, vehicles that have been issued with QR codes are also facilitated to move smoothly through the city's gateways to transport import and export goods to Cat Lai port.

As a result, in the last three weeks (from July 12 to August 1, 2021), the number of imported containers taken out by customers from the port, the entrance of cars receiving container delivery, the number of customers coming to the port to carry out cargo delivery decreased by 16.6%; 15.8%, 38.7%, respectively, compared to week 24 (when Ho Chi Minh City had not applied Directive 16).

By Lê Thu/Minh Phương

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