In the fast-paced world of global trade, efficiency is key. But for years, customs clearance has been a common cause of delays: the customs processes in some countries are complex and often paper-based.

Customs declarations can often only be submitted after the goods have physically arrived in the country, which leaves little time for processing declarations and often results in delays and disruptions to the supply chain.

Making customs more efficient

A private and public cooperation to streamline trade

That’s where the 'Digitising Global Maritime Trade' (DGMT) project comes in, aiming to streamline and digitise customs procedures. The DGMT project brings together public and private partners, all onboard to make customs clearance more efficient and focus on facilitating trade.

The project is funded by the German Ministry of Development, developed by the United Nations, with industry input and testing from Maersk, and two pilot countries: Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Input from each of these parties is a joint effort to boost trade facilitation and slash paperwork.

Technology at the heart of making customs more efficient

At the heart of 'Digitising Global Maritime Trade' is ASYHUB, a software developed by the United Nations. ASYHUB is an open, standardised platform connecting carrier data to national customs systems.

Instead of giving customs officials very little notice about the cargo that’s arriving, carriers and traders can send cargo information and customs documents electronically weeks in advance into ASYHUB, which enables the pre-arrival processing of declarations. Customs authorities can use that data to perform risk analysis and plan the clearing process of cargo prior to its arrival at the port. That means only high-risk cargo is inspected and the rest is free to move through customs quickly.

Beyond just saving time and money, the DGMT project aims to reduce emissions. By cutting down on delays and optimising operations, it is expected to slash emissions by 20 kg per container—helping us sail towards a greener future.

As the DGMT project kicks off in Sri Lanka and Cambodia, there work has already started to expand to more countries, making global trade smoother, faster, and more digital than ever.

About Maersk

A.P. Moller - Maersk is an integrated logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As a global leader in logistics services, the company operates in more than 130 countries and employs around 100,000 people. Maersk is aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2040 across the entire business with new technologies, new vessels, and green fuels.

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