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07 December 2023

Customs procedures at borders to be speeded up

By Wam

The National Transport Authority (NTA) on Tuesday signed an agreement with the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) aimed at simplifying and speeding up customs procedures at border crossings for motorists and truck operators, while steering travellers away from trouble when driving overseas.

The agreement was signed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, chairman of the National Transport Authority, and ATCUAE president Dr. Mohammed bin Sulayem.

It recognises the ATCUAE as an official authority in the UAE legally authorised to issue Carnet de Passage en Douane (CPDs) or "trip tickets" for motorists, as well as TIR Carnets, the international equivalent for truck operators, and International Driving Permits (IDPs).

The agreement is the first to be concluded by the NTA as part of the implementation of Federal Law No. 9 of 2011 on Land Transport

"This is a law of vital importance as it sets out to regulate the land transport sector, which has a key part to play in the growth of the national economy, and supports the UAE's role as a link amongst the neighbouring countries," said Sheikh Hamdan.

"Federal Law No. 9 stipulates the conditions for the granting of licences which regulate the land transport sector. This new agreement allows us to work closer together with the ATCUAE, which is the first authority to be licensed under the law," he added.

ATCUAE has been a supplier of legitimate CPDs and IDPs since 1965, and for several years has been working in conjunction with the NTA and other government authorities to counter the presence in the market of unofficial versions.

The new agreement with the NTA also extends to the issuing of TIR (International Road Transport) Carnets on behalf of the International Road Transport Union (IRU), which looks after the interests of bus, coach, taxi and truck operators.

The only global customs transit system in existence, the TIR System offers transport operators and customs authorities a simple, flexible, cost-effective and secure system for the international transport of goods across frontiers.

ATCUAE, which is a member of the IRU, expects to introduce the TIR system in the country in the near future. The system currently links 68 countries worldwide, and its introduction in the UAE, which annually sends 700,000 trucks across its border into Saudi Arabia, will be welcomed by the transport industry, by a multitude of goods manufacturers and suppliers, by customers, as well as customs authorities.

"This step reinforces the partnership between the public and private sectors, and the TIR system can cut the time trucks spend at the borders from three to five days at present, to three to four hours," said Sulayem.

Once activated, the TIR system reduces transport costs by minimising formalities and delays through the use of standardised and reduced controls and simplified documentation. Customs authorities like the system because it means duties and taxes at risk are guaranteed, and the need for physical inspection of goods in transit is greatly reduced.

CPDs simplify customs formalities for motoring tourists when presented along with a Certificate of Tourism which allows a vehicle to be driven across borders to destinations beyond the GCC.

In recent years, many UAE travellers carrying unofficial CPDs have been refused entry to countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Similarly, unofficial international driving licences can create major problems for those driving rental cars or private vehicles abroad, making their insurance invalid in the event of accidents.

Official IDPs available from ATCUAE offices and appointed agents are now even more recognisable as they carry the official logos of both the Club and the NTA, distinguishing them from unauthorised versions still finding their way into the market.