DOHA: The Single Window system launched by Qatar’s General Authority of Customs has helped reduce Qatar’s customs clearance time in a considerable way.
According to data, if 11 days and five hours was the average clearing time for 15,201 ‘finalised declarations’ during 2011, it took just one day and ten hours for the clearance of 1.02 million ‘finalised declarations’ in 2014.
Qatar Customs Clearance Single Window, an automated system known as Al Nadeeb, was officially launched in September 2013 to deliver better communication with the trade community.
A substantial portion of Qatar’s imports — mainly consumer and industrial goods — arrive from UAE ports or on trucks through Abu Samra. About 800 trucks pass through the crossing each day and thousands of passenger vehicles enter and exit the country around the clock making it one of the busiest ports of entry in the country.
This substantial flow of goods and people has historically created a bottleneck at the border.
However, since the implementation of the Single Window System in Abu Samra in July 2014, Qatari Customs has been able to ensure faster clearance times for goods and eased the process for travellers.
Al Nadeeb, which was first deployed at the port of Doha, has lately been deployed at a major land port on the border with Saudi Arabia, as well as at Qatar’s express courier terminal. As the system rolled out and more transactions are processed, the average clearance time is decreasing, a World Customs Organisation report noted.
As part of the system an automated electronic clearance process has been introduced to clear express courier shipments at Doha International Airport, resulting in a rapid turnaround times for the clearance of shipments, as well as a reduced dependency on human input.
Due to the extensive use of mobile devices by the clearing agent community and all users of Al Nadeeb, and the consequent strong demand for a mobile application, a mobile version of the system has been developed. It provides full system functionality, a streamlined user experience and a highly-developed user interface.
Since the beginning of 2014, the adoption of the electronic air waybill (e-AWB) developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA), which replaces paper air waybills, has been steadily on the rise around the world, with more and more industry participants taking it on board and adopting it. Al Nadeeb enables airlines to submit an e-AWB for shipments originating and transiting through Doha, as well as for import shipments into Doha.
Qatar’s efforts have led to an improved ranking in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) with the country increasing its ranking from 55th in the world with a customs score of 2.25/5 in 2010 to 29th with a customs score of 3.52/5 in 2014.