ACTS: DRIVING FORCE FOR REGIONAL INTEGRATION
The ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) makes cross-border trade easier,
faster, and cost-efficient for businesses operating in the ASEAN region.
S. Pirithivaraj of the City Zone Express (CZE Express Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia) has been working on providing logistic services in ASEAN for over 15 years – connecting Europe with the shores of Singapore and Malaysia and connecting the rest of the ASEAN region with land transport.
One thing that Pirithivaraj knows well from his extensive experience is how much time transit operations can take. Transit operations involve the process of sharing information among many stakeholders from freight forwarders, transporters, customs, and transport authorities.
Supported by the European Union, the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) is an automated transit system with a secure distributed online IT system designed to make movement of goods in transit across the borders of ASEAN countries quicker and easier.
We have estimated time savings of around 30% – 40%’, Pirithivaraj said. ‘This is by far the most competitive advantage from using any other mode of transit available in ASEAN.
Key features of the ACTS include a temporary suspension of import duties and taxes, simplified and harmonised customs procedures, and reduced paperwork. The system links all customs offices at points of departure, border crossings and destinations across the region to simplify and speed up customs clearance formalities and provide detailed real time data on goods in transit. Goods can be transported across borders with a single guarantee covering all the countries involved in the transit operation and without the need to transfer the goods to a different truck in each country. According to Pirithivaraj, the less time spent in transit also means improved working conditions for drivers, ‘They don’t have to wait long at every border and can perform better’.
‘When we move goods under ACTS, the benefits that we obtain as the logistics service operator are also passed to our client, importer, exporter or manufacturer’, Pirithivaraj added. ‘At the end of the day, it is all about trust between public and private sector and systems such as ACTS provide for a perfect cooperation medium’.
To date, ASEAN has invested the equivalent of €5 million in the implementation of the ACTS which in combination with the €10 million invested by the EU, constitutes one of the biggest financial contributions towards the practical establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The EU’s support for the ACTS is provided through the ARISE+ Programme.