The first customs clearance point using the Single E-Lock Scheme (SELS) has opened at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), according to news.gov.hk, the online news platform of the Hong Kong government.
The system makes use of the single e-lock technology and GPS devices to monitor the condition of goods during transport.
Among the benefits cited for this advanced trade facilitation system include streamlined clearance processing and speedy cargo flow.
The online portal of the city government of Zhuhai reported that on the day the clearance point was opened, goods from the Chinese mainland were passing quickly and smoothly between Customs at each end of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
“Under normal circumstances, it now takes less than three minutes for a truck (passing through the clearance point) to be examined and fewer than 10 seconds for other vehicles,” it said.
Wang Jingfei, deputy director of HZMB Customs, was quoted in the report as saying that the advance examination of cargoes passing through bridge ports has been enabled by the Nationwide Customs Clearance Integration Program, paperless customs filing reform, and other measures.
The news.gov.hk report said the clearance points under the scheme in Guangdong Province increased from 32 to 51 this month. The new additions include the clearance point at HZMB and seven others in the bay area.
Last year, it said more than six million cargo shipments were handled under the scheme.
HZMB, a 55-kilometer bridge–tunnel system linking China, Hong Kong and Macau, opened to traffic on Oct 24. Between Hong Kong and Zhuhai, travel time has been reportedly slashed from three hours to 30 minutes.
The Single E-Lock Scheme was formally launched in March 2016 to facilitate trade through the application of advanced technology.
“One single electronic lock and global positioning system (GPS) technology are applied to monitor and safeguard the security of the transshipment cargo by the two Customs authorities on the principle of "Across the Boundary with One Single E-lock under Separate Monitoring," the Hong Kong government portal reported at the time of the launch.
“By using a single e-lock, duplicate inspection on the same shipment by both Customs authorities will be reduced at the boundary, which helps to streamline the clearance process and expedite the flow of transshipment cargo,” it added.
With the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Hong Kong government has been actively exploring with Mainland authorities the extension of the scheme to more parts of the bay area.
Interested parties are required to register with the ITFS of Hong Kong Customs and the SCC of the Customs administrations of Guangdong Province as well as to install the e-lock and GPS equipment accredited by both Customs authorities on their vehicles.