The first WCO Regional Railway Workshop was held for Asia Pacific Members from 3 to 5 May 2022, in a hybrid mode at Seoul, Korea

05 May 2022

From 3 to 5 May 20202, the World Customs Organization (WCO) successfully held the first WCO Regional Railway Workshop for Asia Pacific (AP) Members in a hybrid mode in Seoul, Korea, with the support of CCF Korea. This regional workshop, in cooperation with Asia Pacific’s Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB AP), aimed to enhance the implementation of simplified and improved Customs procedures for railway transportation at national levels with the global standards incorporated in the WCO Railway Guidance to be published in June 2022. 16 onsite participants and 11 online participants from 14 AP Members, including 5 speakers and 5 international organizations (IOs), namely OTIF, UPU, CIT, CER and UIC, shared their experiences related to Customs procedures for railway transportation at the workshop.  

In the opening session, Pranab Kumar Das, WCO Director of Compliance and Facilitation, welcomed participants and drew their attention to the expansion of railway freight transportation and the demands for harmonized and effective Customs procedures and controls in railway transport. The Director noted that the WCO Railway Guidance aimed to promote harmonized and digitized Customs procedures applicable to railway transportation by providing practical guidance, further highlighting that this workshop would be the next step for Members to implement global standards, in terms of Capacity Building.

Norikazu Kuramoto, the Head of ROCB AP, underlined the importance of the Capacity Building Activity and congratulated the organizers and participants for holding this workshop in a hybrid mode. On behalf of CCF-Korea, Chol-Jae Lee, Director of External Relations Division of Korea Customs Service (KCS), welcomed participants attending the workshop at Seoul, and online participants as well wishing continued cooperation among Customs in AP region and between the WCO and KCS.

During the workshop, participants had an opportunity to exchange experiences and views on railway transportation, including current transit procedures and cooperation with the railway sector and adjacent Customs for better control of railway cargo. The need to use Advance Electronic Information (AEI) was strongly advocated for and experiences in the use of advance technologies such as railway x-ray stations, e-seals and the monitoring of railway movement were shared. Furthermore, speakers from railway sector IOs shared their role, vision and detailed project plans for improving railway transportation in cooperation with government agencies, including Customs administrations.

It is evident that this workshop will contribute to enhanced implementation of simplified and improved Customs procedures among AP Members, and the results of this workshop, including the results of the forthcoming other five regional workshops, will be reflected in the next version of the Railway Guidance.“ stated Brendan O’Hearn, Deputy Director in charge of the Facilitation Sub-Directorate, in his closing remarks.