Guidelines on Cooperation between Customs and Port Authorities launched at the World Ports Conference

Ports and customs authorities from Australia, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Indonesia, Jamaica, Morocco and United States outline best practices

Ports and customs authorities from Australia, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Indonesia, Jamaica, Morocco and United States outline best practices

IAPH 2023 World Ports Conference, Abu Dhabi, 1 November

The World Customs Organization, with the support of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), are pleased to announce the launch of their Guidelines on Cooperation between Customs and Port Authorities.

The guidelines provide clear and practical guidance on how both parties can work together better in order to improve the speed and predictability of trade flows, while ensuring the security and integrity of global supply chain.

A practical approach has been taken with a variety of best practices covering advanced, emerging and developing countries with specific attention being paid to Small Isand States (SIDS) to review their journey in the field of cooperation to accelerate digitalization and sustainability.

In his speech at the IAPH 2023 World Ports Conference during the session that officially launched the guidelines, WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Treviño Chapa commented : “The WCO has long advocated for digitalization in cross-border trade procedures, developing standards to facilitate the process. This includes a Data Model encompassing Customs procedures and those under the purview of international organizations. Our collaboration with the IMO to update the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business aims to enhance interoperability between Customs’ and Port's digital systems. It's now up to Customs administrations and port authorities to take and advance this digitalization agenda. These Guidelines offer insights on improving operations and efficiency in Customs processes at ports and ensuring harmonization with the WCO Data Model.”

In the foreword, IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven states : “In our own project to identify gaps in global port infrastructure last year, our principle finding on trade facilitation was the issue of trust and the challenge of sharing data in a collaborative manner between port community stakeholders to optimize a vessel port call and minimize berth waiting time. By adopting a common agenda with a solid, sustainable governance structure in place to exchange “single truth” data, ports and customs authorities can ensure supply chain security, thus improving trade facilitation in their respective countries.”

To view or download the guidelines :

To view the latest WCO News edition with additional cases studies and an introductory overview by WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya :

Contacts :

WCO Communications and Information Officer : Laure Tempier –

IAPH Communications Director : Victor Shieh

About IAPH

Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has developed into a global alliance of 180 port authorities as well as 148 port-related businesses. Comprised of 84 different nationalities across the world’s continents, member ports handle approximately one third of the world’s sea-borne trade and well over 60% of the world container traffic. IAPH leads global port industry initiatives on decarbonization and energy transition, risk and resilience management, and accelerating digitalization in the maritime transport chain. The IAPH’s World Ports Sustainability Program has grown into the reference database of best practices of ports applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals and integrating them into their businesses –

About the WCO

The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. Today, the WCO represents 185 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. As the global centre of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.

Picture credits :

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