Road Cargo System
Customs and Excise Department

Exemplary Services@Gov
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(Cantonese with English subtitles)

Enhancing customs clearance to boost the economy

Nowhere is Hong Kong better known for its efficiency more than in the logistics sector, which is why logistics is one of the city's four pillar industries. The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED), the gatekeeper for imported and exported goods, has launched electronic customs clearance platforms to increase its efficiency, facilitate business and strengthen risk management.

After implementing the customs clearance platforms for sea and air logistics, the Road Cargo System (ROCARS) was also officially launched in May 2010. This new system significantly reduces the time needed for customs clearance and supports Hong Kong's economic development.

Aligned with international best practices

The C&ED's development of an electronic customs clearance platform has helped Hong Kong keep up with the global trend toward computerised clearance procedures. It also connects Hong Kong's customs clearance services internationally by expediting information exchange and cargo circulation.

Mr Li Wai-chiu, Senior Systems Manager of the Customs and Excise Department, said that the department has been developing electronic customs clearance platforms for several years. Unlike the relatively smooth development of the sea and air customs clearance, implementing the ROCARS has presented a number of challenges. To make the ROCARS user-friendly and efficient, the department needed to cater for the needs of its target users, specifically those small and medium enterprises and cross-border drivers that may not fully understand how to use new technology.

In order to encourage the use of the electronic customs clearance platform before the 18-month transitional period expires, the department has launched a comprehensive campaign that sends mobile promotion trucks and staff to assist drivers to use the new registration procedures at the borders. More than half of the drivers have already registered for the ROCARS.

Easy declarations by phone

The department has introduced an Interactive Voice Response System and security tokens for truck drivers who may not have easy access to the Internet while at work. These systems help drivers bundle cargo by phone 30 minutes before arriving at the borders by inputting the customs cargo reference number from shippers or agents.

Mr Leung Shung-chi, Senior Staff Officer of the Customs and Excise Department, said that drivers previously needed to complete immigration procedures at the Immigration Department's kiosks before proceeding to the C&ED's kiosks for customs clearance. On average, the whole process took more than 60 seconds. With the new system, immigration and customs clearance takes only 20 seconds. Using a computer-aided pre-risk assessment, the C&ED has been able to collect intelligence effectively and reduce manpower requirements at kiosks.

The department continues working to improve the effectiveness of its customs clearance process. With the ROCARS to be fully launched on 17 November 2011, the logistics industry will become even more efficient, bringing long-term economic benefits to Hong Kong.

The C&ED has launched electronic customs clearance platforms to enhance efficiency.
The ROCARS was also officially launched in May 2010.
With the ROCARS, immigration and customs clearance takes only 20 seconds.
The C&ED has launched mobile trucks to assist drivers with the ROCARS registration procedures.