Customs transactions recorded by Dubai Customs saw a significant rise of 23% to reach 16 million in 2020, despite the challenging global environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The strong growth from the 13 million transactions registered in 2019 reflects the resilience of Dubai’s economy and its ability to turn challenges into opportunities. Around 15.9 million (99.3%) of last year’s transactions were completed through the organisation’s smart and electronic channels.
The number of customs declarations grew 30% in 2020 to 13.8 million from 10.6 million in 2019, an average of 1.1 million a month. The Smart Workspace Platform enables completion of a declaration in less than five minutes, and 97% of transactions receive automatic approval without any human intervention.
In yet another strong indication of investors’ trust in the national economy, business registration requests grew 37% to 250,000 from 182,000 in 2019. Customs refund requests saw 875,000 applications and certificates, while there were 475,000 report and certificate requests, and 334,000 inspection booking requests.
Around 99.3% of customs transactions were completed through smart and electronic channels: 61.8% for smart channels (9.9 million transactions) and 37.5% for electronic channels (6 million transactions), whereas physical visits to the customer service centres did not exceed 0.6% (only 102,000 transactions).
Commenting on these figures, HE Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said:
“Dubai Government has implemented strong plans and programmes to ensure quick recovery from the impact of the pandemic. The AED7.1 billion stimulus package launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has enhanced liquidity, reduced the impact of the global economic situation, and ensured continuous flow of local and foreign investments.
We are optimistic and confident that this year, Dubai’s economy will grow 4% and external trade will improve, with all businesses now returning to normalcy.
The growth in demand on Dubai Customs’ services during the pandemic reflects the exceptional efforts of the government department in serving the local and national community while also effectively securing our borders from any violation. The staggering growth of 23% in Dubai Customs’ transactions was made possible by its advanced systems and reflects the organisation’s quick response to challenges posed by the pandemic.”
HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs said the intensive investments in digital transformation to build a robust infrastructure has ensured an uninterrupted workflow. Our smart systems helped speed up processes to achieve record numbers in 2020. It is the first time we completed 89,000 transactions in a single day on 8 December, and 441,800 transactions in one single week, between 6 and 12 December. This makes December the most productive month in 2020, and this trend and momentum is expected to continue in 2021.
“Our Future Center for Research and Development has received the “Innovation Lab” accreditation from GInI to become the first customs department in the world to have such an accreditation. In 2020, Dubai Customs was named the ‘Best PMO in the World 2020’ at the PMO Global Awards organised by the PMO Global Alliance, the leading global community of project management professionals. The award recognises the consistent international standards and exceptional project management practices maintained by Dubai Customs. The International Monetary Fund described Dubai Customs as a world-leading department in digital transformation. It said Dubai Customs is one among a few customs organisations in the world that have integrated paperless blockchain strategies in its operations. Recently, Dubai Customs developed the Cross Border e-Commerce Platform, which is expected to play a key role in future transformation of trade.”