Meeting discusses challenges facing free zones clearance sector

Free zone
An aerial view of the Zarqa Free Zone. (Photo: Flickr)
AMMAN — Representatives of the Association of Owners of Clearance and Transport Companies on Sunday met at the Free Zones Investors Commission to examine the difficulties and challenges the clearance industry and its investors are facing.اضافة اعلان

The meeting was attended by the Free Zones Investors Commission director and his assistant, Zarqa Free Zone’s director of customs and his assistant, as well as a large number of clearance firms, members of the Free Zones Investor Commission’s Board of Directors, and a number of investors and traders.

Head of the Association of Owners of Clearance and Transport Companies DaifAllah Abu Aqouleh told Jordan News that the administration of free zones and customs faces major obstacles and challenges, including those related to technical and procedural matters, those that require regulations to be amended, and others that require procedures to be modified.

He added that there are numerous other challenges related to deposits, checkouts, the inspection forms, archiving, and updating data, and directly linking deposits.

The main reasons for the challenges the sector faces are the slow pace of procedures, the high pressure on free zones for vehicles, and deposits, as well as a severe shortage of personnel in the administration of free zones, inspection, and customs department cadres, which causes business disruption and data pile up with customs officials who are overworked and thus slow down the workflow, Abu Aqouleh added.

He said that many procedural matters must be tackled promptly by the administration of free zones and customs in order to facilitate the flow of entry and exit of goods, whether for the local market or in transit, and that it is time to find radical solutions to the existing problems because there is a major disruption in the entry of cars loaded with goods, inspection, taking out, and clearance of goods.

He also stated that procedures should be simplified for investors who should not have to bear expensive costs because of the interruption of the flow of their goods, to retain existing investors and to attract the greatest number of new investors.

Mohammad Al-Bustanji, head of the Jordanian Free Zones Investors Commission, told Jordan News that the meeting discussed the challenges facing the association within the free zone, with the goal of “reaching radical solutions to some of the obstacles that may limit the development of the work environment in general and attract investments”.

He emphasized the need to increase the number of free zone customs officials, particularly those working in Al-Dhalil Square and the Vehicle Customs Yard.

According to Bustanji, “there was a great response from the director of customs at the Free Zones and the director of the Free Zones”, a number of needed measures were taken “to directly achieve the claims”, and work is under way to increase the number of personnel soon.

He also said that in order to temporarily solve the problem, the customs cadres have extended hours and number of working days to serve the public interest.

Amjad Hilal, director of customs for the free zones, said that he “will do everything possible to resolve all of the issues expressed during the meeting”, and “try to help address issues that require the engagement of parties other than the free zone’s customs department”.

Organizing and participating in the meeting, he said, “is an important measure that falls within the participants’ responsibilities and their role in converging the views of all parties, with the goal of raising the level of performance and service provided to investors and traders”.

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