Colleagues from Mozambique and Namibia Customs visit the screening surveillance the system at Cat Lai port, 2022.
Efficiency in implementation
According to the Risk Management Department, the General Department of Customs, in the first quarter of 2023, the whole Customs sector scanned a total of 20,655 containers (average 491 containers/day). Compared to the same period in 2022, the total volume of containers for screening in the first quarter of 2023 increased by 14.42% due to the addition of container scanners such as Hai Phong (2 scanners), Vung Tau (2 scanners), Ho Chi Minh City (2 scanners), Lao Cai (1 scanner), Quang Tri (1 scanner).
Also, through scanning, the Customs force detected 1,128 suspicious containers (accounting for 5.46% of total scanned containers) and detected violations of 88 containers (accounting for 7.8% of total suspicious containers). The main violations are transporting banned goods, declaring wrong types and quantities, and importing undeclared goods. Typically, through the selection and inspection through screening, 2 consignments of hidden goods have been detected and arrested with over 600 kg of ivory from Africa that arrived at Lach Huyen port, Hai Phong.
As a large-scale unit and quite complicated work, in the past, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has been interested in the General Department of Customs to equip many baggage scanners, cargo scanners and container scanners located at check-in points. As a result, seven container scanners are located at 3 ports: Cat Lai, ICD Phuoc Long and VICT port; 23 scanners for checked baggage and parcels (of which 15 are used in conjunction with the airport’s screening force of the port’s scanners); 18 hand baggage scanners (12 machines used in conjunction with the airport’s screening force are port scanners); 9 parcel scanners at the Express Customs Sub-Department.
To promote the scanner’s effectiveness, the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department directed professional units to coordinate to increase the screening rate to ensure strict control of import and export goods while facilitating and shortening the clearance time. As a result, the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department promptly detected many violations through the screening of goods and luggage. Notably, thanks to being equipped with container scanners at some seaport border gates, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department performed pre-screening of import and export goods to reduce customs clearance time and improve efficiency in the fight against anti-smuggling and commercial fraud.
In the first two months of 2023, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department coordinated to screen 1,934 containers before customs clearance, detecting 66 containers with suspicious signs.
In addition to the suspicious screening images being transferred to the Customs units where the enterprises opened the customs declarations to check and identify violations, according to the HCM City Customs Department, the screening also has a deterrent effect on the subjects at risk of violations, because when the Customs has published the list of scanned containers on the website of the General Department of Customs, enterprises that know they are screened first will have a sense of declaring the true goods, comply with the law better.
Because the volume of goods increases, the crime situation at home and abroad are having very complicated developments, potentially posing the risk of hiding goods, illegally trading and transporting drugs and infringing goods CITES, prohibited goods along with normal import-export goods to smuggle into Vietnam. Meanwhile, the skills of most officials and employees to analyze images of goods through scanners and containers are still limited due to frequent rotation, leading to very few scanning results to detect fraudulent trade goods.
Facing that situation, the Vietnam Customs School has actively organized a training program to equip leaders and civil servants with basic knowledge of image analysis through cargo scanners and container scanners that are working at professional customs units whose functions and tasks are directly related to the use and operation of scanners or the officers expected to be assigned to perform screening tasks.
According to Ms Vu Hong Van, Vice-President of Vietnam Customs School, this is a highly specialized field; in addition to requiring professional work, and experience, it also requires skills, logical analysis, and multi-dimensional judgments about images. However, the training needs of the units are huge. Because through the registration list, 212 students from 17 customs departments of provinces and cities have a professional need to analyze images through scanners of goods and containers for Customs officers and employees in the form online.
To meet the demand, Vietnam Customs School has invited lecturers who are leading experts with practical experience in the field of screening under the Hai Phong Customs Department and Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department. In particular, to ensure the effective transmission of knowledge and experience, the school invited an expert to teach container control from UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO) who does civil servant Dinh Anh Lam of the Customs Control team ( Hai Phong Customs Department ), and civil servant To Giang Nam, Deputy Head of Customs Control Team ( HCMC Customs Department ) directly participate in the lecture.
Ms Vu Hong Van said, with extensive experience, in-depth knowledge in the field of operation, use and image analysis of cargo and container scanners, enthusiasm and pedagogical skills, lecturers To Giang Nam and Dinh Anh Lam shared with students useful experiences which serve the civil servants directly doing this work.
In the lessons, the lecturers focused on in-depth knowledge related to how to recognize, use, operate and analyze images of cargo and container scanners; compare the similarities and differences in operating principles of cargo scanners with container scanners, which are currently equipped by the sector; some common errors, simple troubleshooting methods of cargo scanners, container scanners; discuss and solve problems and obstacles.
Although the course took place for a short duration, the officials and civil servants were equipped with relatively sufficient basic knowledge on operating, using and analyzing images of cargo and container scanners to help each trainee with additional skills and knowledge to meet the requirements and tasks of the unit, ready to complete the assigned tasks to meet the requirements in the assigned position.