New measures simplify China’s international shipping procedures and costs
Containers await shipping at a port in Xiamen. (Photo by WANG XIEYUN/CHINA DAILY)

The National Immigration Administration issued 16 new measures to simplify work formalities and procedures to reduce the cost of shipping enterprises on Friday. All of the measures come into effect immediately.

Under the background of sustained growth in China’s foreign trade, the new measures aim to serve major visionary development blueprints such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, said Liu Haitao, director of the administration’s border inspection department.

Liu said the targeted measures can benefit enterprises, reduce operating costs, help market entities get out of trouble and stimulate vitality.

From January to May this year, imports and exports of goods totaled 14.76 trillion yuan ($2.29 trillion), up 28.2 percent year-on-year. The number of international cargo ships increased steadily, up 3.2 percent year-on-year. Cross-border freight cars and trains increased by 1.4 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Shipping enterprises can apply for an administrative license for border inspection in a city’s port and use the license within a larger designated region, instead of applying for the license in every port they arrived at, according to the measures.

International vessels that plan to leave the country within 24 hours can go through entry and exit formalities at the same time, and ships from other countries no longer need border inspection formalities when moving among domestic ports in China.

Port and shipping enterprises can access customs clearance, and international vessels can do formalities for entering and leaving the port at any time. Besides, international vessels need to carry out online pre-declaration and pre-inspection and apply for a border inspection administrative license online.

These measures will save an average of 1.5 hours of berthing time for each ship with international voyages, further reduce the operating costs and improve production efficiency, said Jin Weicheng, deputy head of the border inspection department.

Additionally, the facilitation arrangements for customs clearance will be expanded to cover more border ports and countries along the Belt and Road area to ensure unimpeded international logistics channels.

Fast border inspection and customs clearance have also been implemented for inbound and outbound vehicles, and immigration authorities would improve the traffic efficiency of vehicles and drivers by means of information filing, data exchange and reservation for inspection, Jin said.