Home » Ports/Terminals » Call for change in scanning operations gains ground

MORE port stakeholders are calling for a revision of the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) x-ray scanning procedures.

The original proposal put forward by the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) recently received backing from the Port Users Confederation whose members include the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association, Aircargo Forwarders of the Philippines, Inc and Semiconductors and Electronics Industries of the Philippines Inc. The Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc also supported CTAP’s call.

The truckers’ association earlier called for x-ray scanning right after shipments are unloaded from vessels and not when they are onboard trucks, as is the current practice.

In a letter addressed to Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez, the groups said there is a need to reposition scanning operations to the front end or as soon as containerized shipments are unloaded from vessels and before the importer lodges the customs entry.

“It will not only minimize if not totally eradicate smuggling but will also promote accountability and transparency in the operations and workings of the BOC,” they said.

“…repositioning of the x-ray machines is the practical solution to the perennial cases of harassment from unscrupulous Customs personnel whose only agenda is to delay the final exit of containerized shipments for their own personal agency.

“Front-end examination will also prevent unscrupulous importers in connivance with customs officers from fraudulently amending the cargo manifest before the actual examination of the shipments.”

They said the revision complies with provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention, of which the Philippines is a member. Section 39 of the convention provides that before lodging the goods declaration, the declarant shall be allowed, under such conditions as may be laid down by Customs, to inspect the goods and draw samples.

The groups will soon forward a proposed Customs memorandum order amending rules and regulation of the scanning process.

CTAP welcomed the support of the organizations.

It claimed delays brought about by scanning eat up 50% of a truck operator’s revenue per trip.

BOC maintains the scanning procedures are in accordance with the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines which requires that examination be conducted after filing of the import entry.

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