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Ningbo Customs streamlines procedures

By YUAN SHENGGAO| China Daily| Updated: January 26, 2022 L M S

Despite 2021 being another year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ningbo Customs still managed to apply a range of efficiencies to its operations, as well as achieve growth in throughput numbers at Ningbo Zhoushan Port.

The port had a cargo throughput of 1.22 billion metric tons in 2021, up 4.4 percent year-on-year, ranking first globally, according to Ningbo Customs.

Its container throughput was 31.08 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, an 8.2 percent year-on-year increase, ranking third globally.

Cross-customs bonded fuel oil supply, started by Ningbo Customs and Hangzhou Customs in 2016, allows fuel oil companies to provide bonded fuel oil to international cargo ships without requiring customs transit clearance. A paperless pilot project was carried out by Ningbo Customs in 2021 to further improve service quality.

"Since Ningbo Customs and Zhoushan Customs launched the paperless pilot project for the direct supply of bonded fuel oil across customs areas, it has saved both time and costs, with the time for a single bonded fuel oil supply process shortened by one to two working days," said Wu Suning, who is responsible for the direct supply of bonded fuel oil across customs at Zhejiang Port International Trade.

Ningbo Customs is working in collaboration with the China (Zhejiang) Free Trade Zone to strengthen cooperation with Hangzhou Customs in increasing the storage capacity of crude oil, as well as improving crude oil handling and unloading.

In 2021, Hangzhou and Ningbo customs supervised the handling of 1.38 million tons of bonded fuel oil in Ningbo Zhoushan Port's cross-customs area, which was a year-on-year increase of 22.19 percent, making it one of the largest bonded fuel oil bases in the country.

All this has been achieved despite the challenges presented due to COVID-19.

"Ningbo Customs' measures have helped maintain and improve the turnover of inbound empty containers, allowing ships to be released when they arrive at the port. It has helped drive the overall logistics turnover rate in the port area," said He Jie, director of the container center at Ningbo Zhoushan Port.

Paperless customs clearance has allowed for the easy declaration of inbound empty containers.

After online declaration, enterprises can follow customs' electronic release instructions to finish empty container pickup procedures, eliminating stacking and multiple unloading in the port area, and further reducing the logistics costs of enterprises.

In 2021, a total of 3.84 million empty containers for import were cleared for customs clearance, up 23.81 percent year-on-year. The time spent on customs clearance for empty containers for import has been reduced by 70 percent, and the turnaround time has been shortened by more than two days.

The statistics show the container pickup time has reduced from one to two days to three to five hours, which reduces not only the overall customs clearance time, but also logistics and storage costs.

Ningbo Customs and Hangzhou Customs are supporting the inclusion of the inland Yiwu Port to become the sixth port area of Ningbo Zhoushan Port, realizing the sharing and connection of customs port data.

The sixth port area allows for the rapid transshipment between the ports by railway. Sea-rail intermodal cargo entering Yiwu Port is regarded the same as entering Ningbo Zhoushan Port.

"Exported commodities enjoy integrated convenience brought by the construction of the sixth port area. The sea-rail combined transportation from Yiwu to Ningbo has realized automation and paperless customs procedures. The efficiency of export customs clearance has been improved, and the transportation costs reduced," said Zhou Yimin, a manager from an overseas shipping company.


An inbound vessel is fully loaded with containers at Ningbo Zhoushan Port. XIANG LIANMEI/FOR CHINA DAILY

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