Pakistan launches new goods clearance system at airports, making trade easier

The move was made to slash clearance time, facilitate trade and improve supply chain management to steer ease of doing business.

An Antonov An-124 Ruslan loaded with cargo at Jinnah International Aiport (KHI), Karachi. (RASKHIQA/Wikipedia)

Pakistan has launched a system for the pre-arrival clearance of imported cargo coming via air routes.

The move was made to slash clearance time, facilitate trade and improve supply chain management to steer ease of doing business.

At first, the Customs department receives details of goods on board via electronic means right after the flight takes off from an international destination.

The cargo then gets clearance for delivery to importers by the time the flight lands in Pakistan.

The new project initiated by the Customs department is called “Clearance in Sky.”

The system delivers a message to the recipients or importers of the cargo, which can be shown to the authorities for receiving freight delivery, and it can also be used to track the status of goods.

The system can tell the precise position of goods and the time after which they will be ready for physical delivery at airports.

During the trial and test run of the project in December last year, goods such as lifesaving drugs, documents such as passports, human organ consignments, and perishable items, including fruits and vegetables and fruits, were cleared successfully.

At present, the clearance scheme is being implemented at Jinnah International Airport (KHI) only.

“Currently, we’re clearing import cargo of 12 commercial importers, manufacturers, and exporters in the textile and pharmaceutical sectors of Pakistan,” said the Additional Collector of Customs, Farah Farooq, who is heading the pilot project.

Before implementing the project, Customs clearance of the imported industrial cargo was initiated a few hours after the aeroplane landed in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the physical clearance system consumed two to five days.

“At present, we’re clearing around 48% of the cargo in one to two days,” Farah said.

“We’re aiming to clear 60-70% of all the bulk and industrial cargo within one to two days after their arrival in Pakistan.”

Farah added that the project was being implemented at Jinnah International Airport (KHI) only, and the scheme covered Qatar Airways at present.

At present, the clearance scheme covers Qatar Airways only.

Over the next three weeks, the facility will be extended to 16 more international airlines that come to Pakistan. The importers from other sectors will also be welcomed into the system.

According to Farah, the system would be implemented at all Pakistan’s international airports over the next three to four months.

The system complies with the updated international requirements. “Pakistan has become cooperative since December 2020,” she said.

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