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22 Sep 2017

Belarus’ Customs accepts partial blame for recurring truck queues at border

Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Belarus Yuri SenkoMINSK, 22 September (BelTA) – Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Belarus Yuri Senko made a few comments on 22 September to explain recurring truck queues at Belarusian border checkpoints. The operation of the Belarusian customs service, primarily automated border crossing procedures, was high on the agenda of the latest working meeting of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Yuri Senko, BelTA has learned.

During the meeting the head of state said: “In order to rule out complaints about large queues at the border, are we improving border control procedures for the sake of faster passage of commodities, natural persons, and vehicles? Tell me about the state of affairs.”

Talking about the question after the meeting with the head of state, Yuri Senko told media that among other parties the Belarusian side should help resolve the queue problem at the border. “We are partially to blame. We have resolved most of the issues in the direction of Poland. As a rule, we have not had cargoes in queues this year. We’ve had minor issues with performance on weekends as people would leave Belarus and come back. Small queues I’d say,” said Yuri Senko. “There are issues with the Lithuanian and Latvian directions. Infrastructure at the border checkpoints Kamenny Log and Urbany has to be changed a bit. Some of the investments are already available thanks to international technical aid. These issues will be partially resolved at the expense of the state budget.”

The head of Belarus’ Customs was convinced that in 2018 they will be able to improve the infrastructure of border checkpoints in the abovementioned directions and secure larger throughput. “The Latvian direction is very important from the point of view of the ice hockey world championship that we and Latvia will host in 2021 and the Second European Games we will host in 2019. Naturally we expect an increase in passenger traffic. This is why we should be ready to handle all the traffic in this direction,” noted Yuri Senko.

The official noted that they had been able to shave off some time by automating certain processes and introducing digital declarations. At present digital declarations are used in virtually 99.5% of the export and import customs operations of the Belarusian private sector, said the official. The new technology has expedited data sharing, data processing, and decision making.

Apart from that, in early 2017 the Belarusian customs service launched an experiment to enable the automatic clearance of cargoes. “Although the percentage is small for now — only 10% of the total — 57,000 declarations were processed in the so-called automatic mode in January-August 2017 alone. It saved us 3,000 man shifts,” noted Yuri Senko.

The introduction of technical innovations has allowed optimizing personnel numbers and the structure of the customs service among other things.

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