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The Russian Customs Service Together with Foreign Colleagues and Business Community Is Seeking the Resolution of Traffic Congestion Issue in North West of Russia

November 19, 2007. The Federal Customs Service conducted a joint conference with Commercial and Industrial Camber of the Russian Federation "Directions of Resolving Border Crossing Problems at Check Points in the West and Northwest of Russia". The forum was attended by Andrey Belyaninov, the Head of FCS of Russia, Eugenie Moskvichev, the Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, Sergey Katyrin, the  Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Alexander Shpilevsky, the Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus and other Senior Officials of Customs Services of the Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia as well as the representatives of business communities from Russia and Belarus.

As stated by Andrey Belyaninov, the situation which had recently developed on the above named sections of the border between the Russian Federation and the European Union requires special attention.  Many multilateral automobile checkpoints (MACP) are congested with the trucks waiting in long lines which have grown due to a sharp upturn in inbound freight traffic, mainly from countries of the European Union to Russia and the failure of the entire frontier infrastructure to meet the increasing requirements. The most busy check points on the border are MACPs Bourachki, Oubylinka (on the border with Latvia), Torfianovka, Brusnichnoye (on the border with Finland), Ivangorod (on the border with Estonia).

With an objective to find a proper resolution of this problem the Federal Customs Service of Russia implements actions directed on acceleration of customs clearance procedures involving vehicles. A good example of such efforts will be the introduction by the Customs Authorities of new information technologies, such as electronic declaring and provision of preliminary information. Introduction of the preliminary information system is one of the most perspective directions of expediting customs procedures when crossing the Russian customs border. The Russian, Finnish and Swedish Customs Services have accumulated a particular experience of information exchange relating to the goods transported within the Green Corridor initiative being actively used during the recent several years. 

By this date the Russia - EU Subcommittee on Customs and Cross-Border Co-operation has reached a basic agreement with the Commission of the European Communities (CЕС) regarding the organization of the automated exchange of the preliminary customs information which is expected to become possible in the first Quarter 2009 and is being deemed as a first priority area of cooperation between Russia and the European Union.

The procedures applied at multilateral automobile checkpoints are currently being improved, organizational structure and manning levels of customs points are being optimized. In particular as pointed out by Andrey Belyaninov, even those check points that operate permanently under the standard procedure, have long been 2 to 2.5 times overloaded. 

According to the Head of the FCS of Russia, the struggle against the queuing transport is not a task only set before the Customs Authorities but the task requiring the involvement of other Government Regulating Authorities. 

Andrey Belyaninov has specified the need to reconstruct and upgrade the automobile checkpoints so that every МАCP be provided with reserved technical facilities capable of increasing the throughput minimum for 8 to 10 years ahead as the average annual traffic increase accounts for 15 to 20%. In this connection the Federal Customs Service of Russian Federation appealed to the carriers to review their logistic chains to use in particular the existing possibility to arrange transportation of their goods via the Belarus territory. Besides, according to the experts of the FCS of RF the big opportunities are offered by a more active engagement of railway and marine transports.

Furthermore, the Federal Target Program "State Border of the Russian Federation (2003 - 2010)" provides for forty four Inspection Complexes to be set up by the end of this year as follows: four light-structures ones (usable for vehicles checking) and forty mobile stations.

Andrey Belyaninov expressed confidence that the "proposed variants of the problem solution connected with the carriage of goods across the Russian border will lead to the realization of the national interests and on the other hand, will facilitate the development of foreign trade and support the participants of foreign business activities".