Ukraine to drastically overhaul customs processes in 2016

Moving containers through Ukraine ports will be significantly simpler in 2016 as a result of an agreement between the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure and State Fiscal Service.

The agreement is expected to cut transit times, reduce paperwork, and create savings for shippers in an effort to perk up the country’s sagging container trade.

According to the Minister of Infrastructure, Andrew Pivovarsky, the new policy will allow customs clearance to begin before the arrival of a container vessel at a Ukraine port while risk-free goods will be able to immediately receive all customs clearance before the arrival of a container ship to port.

The number of regulatory bodies that a shipper must deal with when importing and exporting from Ukraine will be reduced sharply from between eight and 10 to one or two, while a single window and electronic documentation will also be established.

The changes will take effect in the first quarter and reduce container handling time in ports to 30 minutes from the current two to three hours, Pivovarsky said.

He said that the government expects that the changes will save shippers between 30 and 35 percent of their regular costs.

The program will be rolled out in two stages, with the first applying to trans-shipment and exports, while the second stage will see the program expanded to imports.

Ukraine hopes that the cheaper and more efficient processes will help foster a recovery in the country’s struggling container trade.

Container traffic at Ukraine seaports from January to November of 2015 fell by 29 percent to 435,800 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) compared to the same period of 2014, according to data from the Administration of Seaports of Ukraine.

Of these, exports fell by 28 percent to 195,020 TEUs, while imports were down by 28.6 percent to 206,900 TEUs. Trans-shipment traffic for the reporting period fell 39 percent to 32,450 TEUs.

The losses in Ukraine’s container trade have mounted throughout the year with a decline of 23.5 percent in the first quarter of 2015, 25 percent in the second quarter, and 28 percent for the third quarter.

The results for the fourth quarter and the entirety of 2015 have not yet been disclosed. 

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