WCO and IAPH launch their first ever Guidelines on Cooperation between Customs and Port authorities

03 November 2023

On 31 October 2023, the Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, participated in the session titled “Customs authorities as trade facilitators” at the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) World Ports Conference 2023.

The opening ceremony for the event was led by Captain K. Subramaniam Karuppiah, President of the IAPH, and Dr. Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director of the IAPH, with the participation of Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Before an audience of over 600 people made up exclusively of Port CEOs, maritime supply chain stakeholders, senior government officials and international advisors, the Deputy Secretary General provided delegates with an insight into how both Port authorities and their governing bodies can partner with Customs authorities to facilitate smoother trade and cargo flows in their maritime supply chains. According to Mr. Treviño Chapa, “the WCO has been at the forefront of border modernization and continues to promote Coordinated Border Management and Digitalization as important components of border modernization programmes”.

The launch of the “WCO-IAPH Joint Guidelines on Cooperation between Customs and Port Authorities” was announced in conjunction with the Managing Director of the IAPH, Dr. Patrick Verhoeven. It was followed by a panel session, moderated by Mr. Christian Doepgen, Publishing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the International Transport Journal. The session benefitted from the participation of the Deputy Secretary General and Mr. Pascal Ollivier, President of Maritime Street and Chair of the IAPH Data Collaboration Committee.

The panel discussion and related interviews addressed some of the current challenges for cooperation between Customs and Ports. Against a global context where enforcement requirements are increasing in parallel with the need to accelerate the flow of legal goods, it is important to understand how Customs administrations around the world are managing their relationships with maritime supply chain stakeholders, particularly Port authorities.  

The Deputy Secretary General highlighted the need for an established governance framework, the use of technology focused on interoperable systems, as well as better and more data management to boost the visibility and resilience of supply chains.

The event touched upon several major themes, including the need for greater innovation in the transition towards clean energies for the maritime trade sector.