Last week the international workshop “The Impact of Technologies and Customs Procedures on Facilitation of Border Crossing Processes” was organised in Vilnius. Participants of the workshop discussed the role of new technologies and innovations in speeding up the customs procedures and border crossing processes.

The event was organised by the International East-West Transport Corridor Association (EWTCA) together with the Lithuanian Customs Department and the U.S Department of Justice ICITAP e-customs project. The representatives of the customs, trade and academic community from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Sweden and the United States attended the workshop (a total of 40 participants).

Acceleration (simplification) of border-crossing procedures is very important for the EU Member States and for our neighbours. The EWTCA (functions of its secretariat are performed by the Competence Centre of Intermodal Transport and Logistics) coordinates the activity of 37 partners from 13 European and Asian countries. The focus is given to the identification of border-crossing problems and their solutions. During the workshop different positions were presented by cross-border customs services and transportation industry representatives. They discussed the issues related to the acceleration of border-crossing processes between the Baltic and Black Sea regions.

Participants of the workshop have also identified the problems related to the use of new technologies and highlighted that these technologies don’t always meet the expectations or give the expected maximum effect. The major problem is that so far all national institutions working in the border-crossing area consider problems separately and in fragmented manner. Participants also noted that current border customs infrastructure is unable to control the increasing flow of goods. Even when political decisions on modernisation of border-crossing procedures are made, it takes quite a lot of time to prepare relevant legal acts, purchase and install necessary equipment or change operational processes.

In order to improve the situation, participants of the workshop recommended the international research platform established by the EWTCA to commence the research activity.