Xinjiang’s two land ports improve customs clearance services, helping boost cross-border trade
Published: Nov 09, 2023 03:49 PM
Trucks queue outside Khorgos Customs on November 7, 2023. Photo: Feng Fan/GT

Trucks queue outside Khorgos Customs on November 7, 2023. Photo: Feng Fan/GT

Two major land ports in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are improving clearance services, aided with new and smarter customs clearing system. Both Alashankou and Khorgos customs will further integrate clearance and inspection services, enhancing customs efficiency to help boost cross-border trade.

In the border city Khorgos and Alashankou, local customs have rolled out an online booking system which allows freight drivers to book for custom clearance services in advance. The smart system categorizes different freight classes for inspection, compared to random checks in the past.

The new system reduces queuing time of customs clearing. In the past, drivers need to come to the port two days in advance to queue for clearance, now with the help of the newly installed online booking system, drivers can make online reservations without physically visiting the port, Hu Laijie, a senior official from Ili Khorgos port, told Global Times on Tuesday.

Khorgos port and Alashankou port are among the most important land ports in China. Exports from China are shipped to Kazakhstan and on to Central Asian and European markets through the two ports. As the BRI continues to integrate economies of China and Central Asian countries, Khorgos and Alashankou have become increasingly critical to the region's trade growth and connectivity. 

Over 830,000 vehicles passed through Khorgos Port last year, with a cargo volume near 870,000 tons. As of October 31 this year, 210,000 trucks have passed through the port, recorded a 187-percent increase compared with the same period last year, with the cargo volume hitting 1.57 million tons, up 109 percent year-on-year, Hu said.

Lorries queue outside Khorgos Customs on November 7, 2023. Photo: Feng Fan/GT

Lorries queue outside Khorgos Customs on November 7, 2023. Photo: Feng Fan/GT

The average customs clearance time for imports and exports at the two ports was decreased by 72.6 percent and 66.4 percent compared with December 2017, respectively, Chen Pengde, deputy commissioner of Khorgos Customs told Global Times on Tuesday.

Khorgos port has simplified the process for cargo handover, meaning it now takes only two hours for trucks to transport cargo to the Kazakh side of the port, Hu said.

Alashankou port has also adopted a smart system to smooth its custom clearance service for both cargo trucks and trains, which has greatly improved customs clearing efficiency there, according to Alashankou Customs.

The newly adopted "Internet + Customs" smart system has installed platforms that help reduce custom clearance time, as the port is now promoting digital transformation which is expected to continuously improve the speed of passenger clearance and the quality and efficiency of customs services, Chen said.

From August 14 to September 30, Khorgos port adopted a 24-hour clearance service, the first among China's all land ports. With the new clearance, the port reached a new peak in single-day traffic on September 27, with 1,927 trucks passing through the customs on a single day, Hu said.