New customs transit system seen as boon by freight forwarders in Southeast Asia

The system allows forwarders to make a single customs transit declaration across six states, without having to change vehicles at each border.

ASEAN cross-border freight forwarders in Southeast Asia intra-Asia

ASEAN Customs Transit System Six ASEAN states, Cambodia, Lao, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, have started using the system.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a virtual event last 30 November launched a new online customs transit system that could help forwarders move freight by road easily across borders in Southeast Asia.

The ASEAN customs transit system (ACTS) was developed to allow transport operators to make a single customs transit declaration across multiple ASEAN countries, without the need to make repeated customs declarations or change vehicles at each border.

I believe the system would be an excellent tool in enhancing ASEAN’s trade and production networks as well as establishing a more unified market for its firms and consumers,” said secretary-general, Lim Jock Hoi.

The ACTS could also support post COVID recovery to accelerate the transit movement of medical supplies, vaccines and personal protective equipment within the member states,” he added.

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Special arrangements allow reliable traders to load their goods at their own premises in the country of departure and to deliver the goods to their own premises at the destination.

The ACTS will make the movement of goods by road quicker and easier across the borders of the participating ASEAN member states, thereby reducing costs for businesses and citizens,” explained Koen Doens, director general for international cooperation and development at the European Commission.

Cambodia, Lao, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have formally started using the system after pilot studies. The first successful ACTS transit on 23 and 24 October saw a truck travelling from Singapore to Thailand via Malaysia. ASEAN said the system will soon be available in Myanmar and may be expanded to Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.

The freight forwarding community will be one of the main beneficiaries of this system as it offers simplified Customs and transport control procedures between different ASEAN member states, and provides predictability on door-to-door delivery times and most importantly reduced transport costs,” said Yukki Nugrahawan, chairman of the ASEAN Federation of Forwarders Associations (AFFA).

The customs transit system is managed by a permanent team based in Jakarta, with support from the EU-funded ARISE Plus programme.

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