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            june 17, 2019

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China-EU customs clearance pilot programme expands from ocean to air freight


Under the World Customs Organization (WCO) programme designed to accelerate and secure customs procedures between the European Union and its trading partners, the first air freight shipment from China has been cleared through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Landing from Shanghai, the Air China Cargo consignment further expands the WCO's customs-to-customs pilot project, called Smart and Secure Trade Lanes (SSTL), from ocean transport to air freight with the aim of sharing data between customs to cut lead times and procedures, and increase security in the supply chain, reported IHS Media.
The shipment was booked by Yusen Logistics, one of the participants in the pilot programme. Regional managing director of Yusen Logistics Northern Europe Piet Boogaard said the programme would result in faster release of goods and more predictable delivery times.
Schiphol is the only European airport in the pilot programme that uses an encrypted data exchange platform developed and maintained by the WCO.
The SSTL project has already resulted in reduced clearance times and increased predictability in the maritime supply chain through close cooperation between customs in China and Hong Kong and the EU member states.
The first air freight shipment from Europe under the project was exported in May 2017 and left from Schiphol to Baiyun airport in Guangzhou.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol director of business development cargo Saskia van Pelt said the cockpit instruments flown to Baiyun were cleared by China customs and dispatched to a nearby aircraft manufacturer within 21 minutes of landing.
Looking ahead, more SSTL flight routes are expected to follow between Schiphol and Baiyun.
The SSTL was launched in 2006 and its founding members were the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and China. Phase two saw the project expand with new members Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Hong Kong customs.
The SSTL pilot project was expanded to cover more than 120 trade lanes and 16 ports. Phase three has further extended the scope of the pilot, geographically and from ocean to air and rail transport, increasing the volume of consignments covered. The European Commission said traders joining SSTL will have quicker customs clearance and better predictability.

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