WCO week of technology and innovation hailed as a success

05 εδΈ€ζœˆ 2010

WCO week of technology and innovation hailed as a success

Brussels, 4 November 2010

Press Release

Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya, and Director General of the Egyptian Customs Authority, Ahmad Faraj Seoudi, hailed the success of the second WCO Technology and Innovation Forum that was organized by the WCO in Cairo, Egypt from 2 to 4 November 2010 in cooperation with the Egyptian Customs Authority.

Approximately 250 participants from 57 countries representing WCO Members, international organizations, academia, donors, technology vendors and service providers attended the Forum as part of a wider WCO Week of Technology and Innovation that included a regional non-intrusive inspection equipment workshop and a WCO Scientific Sub-Committee session focused on container security devices and track and trace technologies.

The success of the Forum with the theme ”Smart Borders, Enabling Technologies”, was assured by the well received address by Dr. Youssef Boutros-Ghali, Egypt’s Minister of Finance, who talked about the modernization programme of the Egyptian Customs Authority over the last 5 years.

"Our commitment to safe and secure international trade using trade management techniques such as risk management and the latest inspection technologies remain unwavering," said Kunio Mikuriya. "This second Technology and Innovation Forum enabled us to continue our dialogue on creative and innovative solutions to strengthen border integrity from criminal threats that could disrupt global trade, harm economies, and endanger the health and safety of people around the world," added the Secretary General.

Keynote addresses were delivered by the former Commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection agency and founding Partner of Command Consulting Group, W. Ralph Basham, and by the Senior Director of Cargo Solutions at L3 Communications – the Corporate Sponsor of the Forum – Paul Simpson.

The Forum was another concrete example of the international Customs and trade community’s commitment to enhancing the Customs-Business Partnership, the WCO’s theme for 2010 and a key building block in the WCO Customs in the 21st Century vision. This partnership was underlined throughout the week, especially the importance of seamless cooperation between Customs and technology providers as well as systems developers.

On the first day participants concentrated on the need to invest in technologies, business case development for technology acquisition, securing project funding and technology deployment, as well as maintenance and replacement. The second day focused on securing the workspace, occupational health and safety, vendor demonstrations of the latest developments in technology followed by a dialogue on container security devices, track and trace, and the technologies that support these products. The last day was devoted to a free ranging discussion on opportunities and challenges related to emerging technologies and innovation.

The key findings of the Forum included:

  • The acknowledgement that modern inspection technologies developed in public-private partnerships are an integral part of the Customs toolkit in detecting high-risk movements of goods, passengers and conveyances and that technologies need to be deployed as part of a wider risk management based approach.
  • Customs procurement of technologies needs to be forward-looking and preceded by a solid business case and a robust cost-benefit analysis detailing what business benefits will be achieved, what technologies are needed, where they are needed, and how they will be used.
  • The deployment of new technologies has human resource implications and changed working methods that can often include occupational health and safety considerations.
  • New technologies such as uniforms and special workwear are becoming available to ensure greater levels of officer safety and welfare.
  • The importance of innovation and constantly looking ”ahead of the curve” are fundamental ingredients that underpin the modern operating and technology environment.

A full report and speakers’ presentations will be available on the WCO website under the events section in the coming days.