UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme study visit to Haifa port in Israel

19 November 2018

From 11 to 13 November 2018, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme and the Israel Customs Directorate organized a seminar and study visit to Haifa port for ten officers from Port Control Units based in Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The seminar featured presentations by Customs and port experts, as well as professional discussions covering a wide range of topics relating to working procedures at the port of Haifa and to Israel Customs as a whole.

The first day of the seminar largely focused on security and procedures at Haifa port and the regional Customs office, and included a tour of the port and scanner site. The second day revolved around core Customs areas and procedures, such as risk assessment, legality of importations and intellectual property rights. The programme for the third day covered security issues, Customs inspections, drugs and money laundering.

The seminar enabled the participating officers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the procedures in place at Haifa port and the container-scanner site from various perspectives, raise pertinent questions and draw conclusions applicable to the same areas in their home administrations. The seminar also served as a platform for networking.

During the closing session, participants shared their impressions of the Customs inspection and risk assessment systems in Israel, emphasizing the quality of the service rendered to the trade community and which did not compromise on enforcement of and compliance with rules and regulations. Speakers from the host Administration shared their views on the importance of human capital versus technological equipment, recognizing that while technologies could be purchased, investment in human capital, capacity building, training and knowledge-based decision-making remained the supporting pillars of a competent Customs administration.

The container-scanner site and its ongoing operation attracted participants' attention and motivated them to hold further discussions. In addition, participants expressed an interest in learning about the scanner site's work with regard to seaports, warehouses and bonded warehouses, the trade community, ongoing communication with Customs and ship agents, and the criteria used for the risk assessment system.