TT scans more containers than US and EU says Imbert

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TT scans more containers than US and EU says Imbert

Finance Minister Colm Imbert says Trinidad and Tobago scans five times as many containers entering the local ports
than the USA and eleven times more than the EU.

His statement via a release today, is in response to commentary in the media regarding a recent disclosure that the Customs and Excise Division scans 17 per cent of containers entering Trinidad and Tobago at official ports of entry.

According to Imbert, this statistic has led to further commentary from business spokespersons who have complained about the current level of examination of containers by Customs.

Imbert said: “However, if the Express had checked the July 2021 American Journal of Transportation, it would have discovered the following published data: “Customs and Border Protection (CBP) currently scans 3.7% of the roughly 11 million containers entering the US each year. Only about 1% of that total, or 104,000 containers, are checked at ports overseas. Similar figures can be found for the EU. Around 1.5% of all cargo arriving to EU ports is scanned.”

Imbert added: “Further, if the Express had read a paper entitled “Monitoring container traffic and analysing risk”, a publication of the European Commission, it would have discovered that only TWO PERCENT (2%) of containers are physically inspected worldwide, whereas Trinidad and Tobago physically inspects over TWENTY PERCENT (20%) of containers, or TEN (10) times the world average. In all of this, one has to balance the need for trade facilitation against the urgent need to stem the flow of illegal items.”

The Finance Minister said if Customs and Excise were to move to 50 per cent or 100 per cent image scanning and/or physical inspection of shipping containers, trade could grind to a halt, with severe adverse effects on commerce.

In addition to better equipment, Imbert said what is needed is better intelligence gathering and better profiling of importers.

He said he is acutely aware of the very harmful impact of crime and criminal elements and continues to do all that is legal and within his power to ensure efficiency and focus in the Customs and Excise Division.