Waiting for E-Customs

News published on May 8th, 2015 on the business portal eKapija

 

Waiting for E-Customs – Simplified procedures and building of Cargo centers will improve logistics in Serbia

According to the newest report of the World Bank, Serbia is on 63rd place regarding logistics. Germany is on 1st, while most of our neighbor countries are better ranked than us: Croatia 55th, Romania 40th, Slovenia 38th and Hungary 33th. If it’s any consolation, Serbia has advanced from the 75th place in 2012.
The states are ranked through few criteria according to the report, with most important factors: customs efficiency, quality of infrastructure, transport quality and time of delivery.

Since Serbia has favorable geographical location and Belgrade is the center of the region we wonder how to make use of this potential.

Neđo Mandić, the president of Chamber of International transport and logistics, states for “eGate”, that  prosperity is expected as early as next year.
– There was a 24 hour delay on the Nickelsdorf border crossing and a 10 km line of cargo trucks, before Hungary was accepted in EU. There are no hold backs there anymore, but the crowding has moved to our border.

The problem will be solved in 2015 when Serbia joins EU/EFTA Convention for joint transit procedure, when functioning will be as if we were in the EU.
As Mr. Mandić states, with a single shipping document from the point of loading to unloading point without any additional papers the transport will be much more efficient. As for the quality of Serbian transport operators Mr. Mandić says both quality and professionalism are on a very high level and adds that the international road transport regulations are coordinated with EU regulations.

“Since we’ve built our house next to the road, it would be good to make a use of that position” – Mandić states.
– “By building the Cargo Center in our country there would be an opportunity to attract the goods from Turkey and Middle East. Logistics centers should be built in the vicinity of Belgrade like the ones near Budapest.”
Duško Radović, the director of  Transfera, also names Hungary as a good example.
– “By the end of the nineties and the beginning of 2000 Budapest has flowered as a regional logistics and warehousing center of the region. During that time more than 2bn EUR was invested in the “Budapest ring” for the development of infrastructure and warehousing capacity. Budapest has for long held prime as the  regional center for logistics in Southeastern Europe” – Mr. Radović explains.

On the other hand Mr. Radović points out Belgrade’s good geographical position as its main advantage. The capitals of the region are only 400-500 km away and are mostly well connected by roads.
– More and more foreign companies are opening representation offices in Belgrade and tie their logistics to  Serbia. At the end of the year 2000 Belgrade started taking the prime role as the regional center for the countries of Southern Europe and the Balkans and that rising trend should be continued through simplifying legal regulations in the customs procedures, as well as the prompter permit issuing for the investors and through the reduction of the administrative obstacles.

The good news comes from the Customs Management. Namely NCTS – New Computerized Transit System, the first electronic paperless customs procedure in Serbia will be tested by the end of 2014. The nationwide application is planned for the next year and the entry to the Joint Transit Convention for the mid 2015.

– “According to the plan the system will be tested throughout the fall of 2014 after which the application for the OPS status would be made immediately. The base for the OPS status are the companies that use the simplified customs procedures, as well as the other successful companies” – the Customs Office explains.
As Customs Office states, the implementation of all the innovations is a very complicated process and needs many adjustments, adding both technical and staff challenges that need to be overcome.

– “Considering the other countries in the region like Croatia, with similar experiences during the process of joining the EU, we are trying to learn from those examples to avoid the most of the difficulties and prevent the delays.
Series of changes await us during the negotiations for joining the EU with the implementation of e-custom procedures in all segments, as a final goal.. The whole system will evolve by solving piece by piece of this great puzzle so the final product will be the Serbian Customs functioning entirely by the European standards.

Logistics Performance Index (LPI)
Logistics Performance Index is the interactive tool made with a goal to help the countries to identify the challenges and the possibilities they face in the field of trade and logistics as well as the recommendations about what the countries can do to improve their performances.