China Airlines (CAL) has marked a major milestone in its efforts to speed up cargo service and protect the environment by becoming the first airline in Taiwan to successfully test a new paperless import customs clearance system implemented by the Taipei Customs Office. The system successfully passed its inaugural test on December 1, 2010, using four manifests transported on CAL flight CI-722 from Kuala Lumpur to Taoyuan International Airport.
The test is just the latest step in CAL’s efforts to implement fully paperless import and export cargo clearance procedures in step with global environmental trends. In 2007, CAL became Taiwan’s first airline to take part in the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) “e-Freight Message Improvement Program.” In 2009, CAL responded to IATA’s “e-Freight” project by implementing fully paper-free manifests for export clearances bound for Hong Kong, becoming Taiwan’s first IATA “e-Freight” qualified carrier. Starting this year, CAL has cooperated with Taipei Customs Office and private contractors to implement a new paperless system for clearance of goods imported into Taiwan.
For the initial test, shippers and receivers successfully exchanged information traditionally recorded on paper manifests and reported the data to customs authorities, which processed the information by computer instead of by hand, saving time and cost and reducing paper consumption. The initial test passed verification checks with the Taipei Customs Office, as well as shippers and receivers of the goods. The test also proved that CAL is fully capable of going paperless when clearing both exported and imported shipments.
While the system will continue being tested on the Kuala Lumpur-Taoyuan route, CAL will work to expand paperless cargo import clearance capability to other major routes in the near future. Implementing a paperless import and export clearance system will enable CAL to achieve its goal of boosting competitiveness by providing increased transparency and mutual benefit to cargo contractors, while also reducing costs and simplifying cargo clearance procedures.
CAL has long worked to protect the environment by reducing waste and emissions. In November of 2009, CAL received “Reasonable Assurance Status” certification from the government’s Environmental Protection Administration, becoming the first airline in Taiwan to complete the greenhouse gas inventory and verification process and effectively implement low pollution and high-energy conservation environmental standards. CAL has also actively participated in numerous environmental protection campaigns, such as the 2010 “World Record Tree Planting Attempt” recently organized by the Hsinchu City Government. By vastly reducing the amount of paper used in import customs clearance, CAL will not only improve efficiency, but also help protect the planet.