Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) continues to work with the WCO to digitalize the air cargo environment to implement the TFA and facilitate trade

06 December 2022

As part of its ongoing capacity building and technical assistance support to the Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA), the WCO conducted a mission to Zambia from 14-18-November 2022 under the aegis of the United Kingdom-supported HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme.  Within the framework of the Mercator Programme, the ZRA has been receiving technical assistance since 2018 on organizational development and selected WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) measures through the HMRC Programme.  In TFA-related measures, a key area of capacity building has been to support the implementation of the WCO Immediate Release Guidelines leading to the digitalization of clearance for air cargo consignments and increased alignment with Article 7.8 of the TFA.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCO’s Air Cargo streamlining support started in July 2020 on a remote basis as part of a blended capacity building approach. The mission aimed to effect in-country validation and consolidation of the rendered support. It focused on reviewing the progress made in the implementation of the WCO Immediate Release Guidelines at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. Following WCO capacity building support, the air cargo clearance process has been re-engineered, incorporating elements of the Immediate Release Guidelines and the provisions of TFA Measure 7.8 on Expedited Shipments pending implementation. The WCO and ZRA met with air cargo handlers, leading courier companies and other border agencies to explore the possibility of electronically submitting the air cargo manifest as a vital enabler in progressing towards a digital clearance environment. The various stakeholders have welcomed the initiative with an assurance of their support to make this partnership a reality. “This is what we have been looking forward to for so many years. We know that this would make our work much simpler and reduce cost and time considerably”, remarked the manager from DHL. As a result of the mission, a preliminary road map was finalised that aims for pilots with express carriers starting by April 2023 and a launch of the new process by July 2023.

The above-mentioned mission took place in conjunction with a capacity building mission on Authorized Economic Operators as well as a strategic mission of the Head of the WCO Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme and HMRC as part of a strategic & donor monitoring mission.

See for more information on the ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’ Programme here.

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