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Customs has a number of trade-related initiatives that strive to provide better public services and enhanced border protection. Its main aim is to promote and protect New Zealand by clearing legitimate goods quickly and efficiently, while stopping illicit goods and catching the people involved.

In the international mail stream, Customs, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Post share a Memorandum of Understanding that formalises a two-year project which explored end-to-end processes to deliver greater internal efficiencies and services to the public.

Customs' Group Manager Border Operations, Paul Campbell, says changes have improved mail screening and processing times, inter-agency referrals, export assurance, and communication with customers. Continuous improvement remains a key focus and other initiatives are underway.

"Customs processed 52 million international mail items last year and, given increasing volumes through online shopping, this collaboration allows mail to move through faster while ensuring border security and revenue collection." Read more about this initiative.

In the fast freight industry, Customs, MPI and the Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers (CAPEC) also recently teamed up for greater efficiencies and quicker delivery of freight packages to businesses and the public.

Both agencies now inspect CAPEC consignments together at Customs' inspections site within a target time frame of four hours, and Customs' clearance times have significantly reduced. These changes also mean reduced costs for the agencies, CAPEC and their customers.

Mr Campbell says Customs recognised the expectations of this fast-growing express supply chain, and realised it had to keep pace with its requirements while maintaining border protection.

"This initiative is a first step for improving and streamlining this trade stream even further. It also ticks government's Future Direction for the Border Sector Programme, and is another example of Customs and MPI working together to serve businesses and the public better." Read more about this initiative.

In the sea cargo space, Customs has implemented a new telescopic conveyor system, possibly the world-first for a Customs organisation, to halve container inspection times, give its officers better work design, enhance border security and save Customs and the trade industry millions of dollars.

"The system allows much faster cargo clearance, improves Customs' inspections capabilities and reduces the risk of injury to our staff. Customs is also exploring future possibilities of unloading, x-ray screening and reloading goods all in one movement, for even better service to our traders," Mr Campbell says.

"Over 400,000 containers arrived in New Zealand last year with over half cleared through Auckland. As sea cargo volumes continue to grow, Customs has invested in this innovation that should have flow-on benefits for the economy and local consumers." Read more about this system.


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