05 May 2010

Subic locators now able to process shipment declarations online

Locators in Subic Special Economic and Freeport Zone (SSEFZ) can now process their export declarations online, thus sparing them from the time-consuming process of doing this physically at the local district of the Customs bureau.

This, as the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority signed a joint memorandum order to implement that same day the automated processing of export documents for SSEFZ-based companies.

"The implementation of the automated export documentation system will reduce the cost of doing business, as well as [save] time for the locators," Customs Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales told reporters at the signing event.

He noted that locators have had to go through the time-consuming manual system for processing their export documents, which could lead to delays in releasing the shipments.

Mr. Morales said this latest move is part of current efforts to harmonize export procedures among economic zones and ports.

Under the new system, a bar code will be placed on the export declaration submitted online once the processing is completed and the application approved.

Once the bar code is placed on the export declaration, it can then be printed to accompany the shipment from SSEFZ to either the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark Freeport or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

The shutdown last year of the Federal Express hub in Subic had forced exporters there to course their shipments through either DMIA or NAIA, thus adding to their costs.

The bar code of the export declaration will then be scanned at the SSEFZ gate and the receiving counters of airline companies at DMIA or NAIA, enabling both the sender in Subic and the intended receiver to track the departure, status and arrival of the shipments.

Alexander M. Arevalo, Customs deputy commissioner for management information systems, told reporters on the sidelines of the signing ceremony yesterday that the bureau plans to replicate the system in at least two other major ports by June.

"We are looking at Davao and Cagayan de Oro [next]," he said. (L. D. Desiderio, BusinessWorld)