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Post COVID-19: Customs experts advocate digitalization-based processes


By Juliet Umeh

As global pandemic, coronavirus keeps affecting businesses and its supply chain, experts in the Customs service advocate digitalisation, e-connectivity to ensure business continuity in post-Covid world.

Speaking at a webinars recently organized by providers of Customs and trade solutions, Webb Fontaine, in the virtual event that was attended by more than 400 delegate from around the world, the experts underlined the importance of digitalization, saying it is only way out.

Director of Institutional Reforms at Webb Fontaine and formerly Senior Regional Coordinator for Customs and Border Affairs at the World Bank, Michel Zarnowiecki said the importance of digitalization is not only for individual countries, but also as part of the broader multilateral framework and the regional and international surroundings.

Zarnowiecki said: “Digitalisation is a pre-requisite, but it must be combined with practices by both customs and the private sector to enable it, process-wise.
“While 80 percent of international cargo movement is by sea, regional connectivity is usually by road, hence the need to ensure, among other issues, digitalised interface for transit and TIR. There is a strong requirement for unification of processes, not only in the regional environment, but also for international transactions.”

He added: “While the situation requires immediate action, now may also be the opportunity to implement actions and systems that have been recommended in the past. The opportunity for reforms is staring at us and there is no escape from it anymore.”

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