The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (May 17) officially launched the Road Cargo System (ROCARS), an electronic system designed to facilitate customs clearance of road cargoes, and started an 18-month transitional period before its mandatory implementation.
Officiating at the launching ceremony, the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, said: "The launching of the ROCARS today is in line with the international trend to use information technology to enhance customs clearance. The new system will help strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international trading and logistics centre and promote the further development of the logistics industry in Hong Kong and Guangdong.
"With this new electronic information platform and building on the foundation of mutual cooperation and benefit, I firmly believe that Hong Kong and Shenzhen Customs will be able to make further contribution to enhance customs clearance efficiency and facilitate cross-boundary movement of goods," he added.
The official launch of the new system also signifies the coming into effect of the Import and Export (Amendment) Ordinance 2007. The ordinance stipulates that the Import and Export (Electronic Cargo Information) Regulation will commence 18 months thereafter, i.e. on November 17, 2011, when it will become mandatory for shippers or freight forwarders to use ROCARS for all import and export of road cargo.
Under ROCARS, a Customs reference number will be issued to a shipper or freight forwarder to confirm the receipt of the details of the goods by the C&ED. The shipper or freight forwarder will pass on the Customs reference number to the relevant trucker who will be required to provide it to the C&ED together with the vehicle's registration number not less than 30 minutes before the truck passes through a land boundary control point.
When the truck arrives at the control point, a visual display unit will indicate to the trucker whether his cargo has been selected for inspection. A truck not selected for inspection may leave immediately after the trucker has completed immigration clearance.
Mr Yuen said: "Our long-term objective, in addition to providing a fast and time-saving customs clearance system for the logistics industry, is to make use of the new electronic information platform to simplify customs clearance procedures for inter-modal operators, so that cargoes involving, say, air and land transfer, which may be subject to customs inspections twice at both the land boundary and the airport now, will be subject to one inspection at one control point only in future."
The Commissioner also thanked members of the Commerce and Industry Panel of the Legislative Council for their support for the new system, and representatives of the industry for their comments and suggestions which have helped to ensure the system meets the needs of the users.
He urged industry players handling cross-boundary road cargoes to register and use the ROCARS as early as possible in order to enjoy fast and convenient customs clearance services.
Other guests attending the ceremony included Legislative Council members Mr Vincent Fang Kang, Mr Tommy Cheung Yu-yan and Mr Wong Ting-kwong, representatives of the logistics industry and trade federations, as well as a delegation led by Mr Chen Zhenchong, the Deputy Director-General of Shenzhen Customs District.
Details of the ROCARS can be found at the website www.rocars.gov.hk. Enquiries can be made by calling the ROCARS hotline at 3669 0000.
Ends/Monday, May 17, 2010