Reduced customs clearance time with virtual extension of sea ports

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Reduced customs clearance time with virtual extension of sea ports
GCTC logo 344x80.png
Singapore's High Technology Port
Team Organizations Customs and port authorities in Kenya
Dar es Salaam Tanzania
Port of Tanjung Priok Jakarta
Cikarang Thailand
Ascent Solutions
Team Leaders Chee Kean Lim
Participating Municipalities Singapore
Status Launched
Document None


Develop and deploy electronic cargo tracking solutions in different settings (sea port, dry port and manufacturing FTZ) and across geographies (traversing from landlocked locations to ports, in East Africa and in Asia), for expedited customs clearance and enhanced trade facilitations. The solution is integrated across technology stacks, including end-devices, platforms and analytics, by ecosystem of accredited vendors. Involves security/field enforcement officials, customs officials, application developers, telco service providers, shippers and consignees.


Manual checks and clearances of cargoes at multiple check-points:

  • are time-consuming and laborious;
  • are error-prone due to multiple hand-offs;
  • result in uncertainty in goods delivery schedules;
  • cause congestion, impeding overall traffic flow, and pollution


With an electronic cargo tacking system, stakeholders:

  • have visibility of the status and location of cargo;
  • be notified of exceptions for immediate action by field enforcement.

With a Customs-accredited tracking device, the cargo can flexibly move to its declared destination via an optimal route, and in a secure manner.

Major Requirements

  • Customs mandate on electronic cargo tracking & accreditation of tracking devices and solutions including integration with customs system(s)
  • Customs enforcement of process re-engineering and organization restructuring
  • Buy-ins from stakeholders like transport & logistics companies, shippers, etc.
  • Accredited vendors setting up device depots and monitoring control centres

Performance Targets

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Measurement Methods
  1. Reduction in the number of days for cargo customs clearance, of between 50% to 80%, i.e. improvement in the efficiency of cargo customs clearance of between two and five-fold
  2. Reduction in transshipment time between bonded areas, from the original days and hours, to less than half an hour

Efficiency improvements/cycle time reductions are computed based on data from:

  1. Current as-is or baseline statistics as per Customs, shippers or their proxies such as logistics providers
  2. Post implementation lead times from electronic cargo tracking system.

Standards, Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability

  • Tracking device complies with international standards for ruggedness e.g. ISO17712 for high security seal, IP65
  • Devices, middleware, visualization tool and user interface exchange data with web services

The solution (covering middleware, user interface and end-device) was originally deployed in Kenya, and has since been replicated to Indonesia, Thailand and Tanzania. It is being scaled further to Philippines, Vietnam, Panama and Brazil. Some of these deployment have been in operations for more than 5 years, a testament to their sustainability.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

There is a security module embedded in the device’s firmware and the middleware verifies the authenticity of devices reporting to it. Proprietary and open encryption standards/algorithms like AES256 are applied. At the application layer, devices which have not been associated to legitimate trips are ignored.


  • Trade facilitation impact – consignees receive goods on a timely basis means fewer idling production lines, higher velocity of sales, greater predictability leading to higher productivity and better use of resources. In brief, cities can run more efficiently.
  • Customs able to maximize tax revenue without increasing staff by effectively preventing tax leakage.
  • Provide visibility/assurance to private sector shippers and consignees of time critical sensitive and perishable goods.


The electronic cargo tracking system has been in use since 2012 in Asia and East Africa.