Traders in trouble
Local exporters and importers say they are facing computer problems in trying to navigate Yangon’s new automated customs system.
EXPORTERS and importers are encountering issues with Yangon’s new automated customs system, but are hoping the problems will be sorted out soon.
The customs department finished a trial run of the Myanmar Automated Cargo Clearance System (MACCS) on November 3, which threw up a variety of IT issues that MACCS director U Win Thant said the department then addressed.
MACCS is designed to automate most of the manual processes involved in Yangon customs, including registration, payment of fees and tax valuations.
The system started running across shipping lines, airlines and ports in Yangon and Thilawa special economic zone from November 12. But Myanmar’s import-export community has hit several snags in using the system at Yangon port.
U Soe Htun, chair of the Myanmar Automobile Manufacturers and Distributors Association, said that customs staff are still getting to grips with the new system. He has encountered difficulties with officials unfamiliar with the new system and computer problems, including servers going down, that have made it hard to send information through MACCS. “Because of that it’s made it hard to [get goods through] the port,” he said.
U Aung Win, vice president of the Authorized Automobile Distributors Association, said that exporters and importers simply needed to be patient with the new system.
“The system has been very successful in Japan,” he said. “People just need to give it time. There are difficulties in any new system during the initial period. People just need to realise that.”
The system was installed by customs experts from Japan and officials from the Myanmar customs department with help from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Ko Aung Naing Tun, managing direction of Sakura Auction Center, also took heart from the fact that the system has been tried and tested by Japan.
“The aim is make things much easier than the manual system,” he said, but added that there have been some initial problems in the port.
“The internet connection [of the MACCS system] isn’t good, that’s one factor,” he said. “Some of the processes jam and it’s inconvenient, but we don’t know who we should ask.”
Ko Aung Naing Tun said that the customs department had urged patience and tolerance during the transition period.
“We’ll wait and see how long we have to be patient for,” Ko Aung Naing Tun said.
The customs department could not be reached for comment.
Although the system is only being rolled out in Yangon and Thilawa there are plans to extend MACCS to border trade centres like Myawady and Tachileik on the Thai border and Muse on the border with China if the system proves successful, U Win Thant said previously.
A women sets up a mobile stall in front of cargo containers piled at Yangon port.