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Eye of Dubai
Business & Money | Thursday 25 January, 2024 10:10 am |

Dubai Customs Soars to New Heights: Achieving Record-

Dubai 23 January 2023: H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai

Customs, CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, confirmed the continuous

growth of the United Arab Emirates' role as a global trade hub and its influential position

in the world economy. He highlighted the significance of the “Economic Principles of the

UAE” document approved by the UAE government, emphasizing its role as a guide for

achieving worldwide Emirati leadership and establishing a sustainable national

economy. The UAE serves as a free and open economic model that enthusiastically

embraces international and regional economic and trade collaboration without

limitations, acting as a catalyst for foreign trade growth.

He noted that Dubai Customs actively supports the strategic plans of the UAE and

Dubai, achieving a remarkable performance in 2023 by successfully processing over

30.4 million customs transactions. This set a new record for the highest number of

customs transactions handled by Dubai Customs, showcasing a 17.5% growth

compared to the 25.8 million transactions in 2022. This success is attributed to the

ongoing success of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements program

launched in September 2021. Customer satisfaction for these electronic and intelligent

customs services reached an impressive 98%, available 24/7. On average, Dubai

Customs processes 84,000 daily customs transactions through its programs and


Dubai Agenda

Regarding the Dubai agenda, Musabih clarified that Dubai Customs aims to establish

and strengthen connections with Dubai's business partners while attracting new

collaborators to fulfill the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al

Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. This effort contributes to

achieving the targets outlined in the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), with the goal of

increasing the total volume of foreign trade from AED 14.2 trillion in the past decade to

AED 25.6 trillion for goods and services in the next decade. Furthermore, the objective is

to add 400 cities to the map of foreign trade by 2033. In this context, Dubai Customs has

held numerous meetings with partners, clients, diplomatic entities, and business councils

of countries as trade partners. The discussions focused on frameworks to enhance the


value of trade exchange, aligning with the UAE's goals for 2031 and the Dubai Economic

Agenda D33.

Digital Services

Dubai Customs has introduced digital initiatives and services to expedite business

processes and strengthen Dubai's global trade hub status. The "Cargo StatusTracking"

project offers customers an outstanding experience by enabling them to monitor

shipments from arrival to release, providing real-time oversight and comprehensive

insight into customs clearance across Dubai's borders. This project aims to boost

efficiency, cut costs for customs authorities and traders, and support increased returns

for businesses choosing Dubai as their operational base.

This initiative empowers customers to take swift actions based on shipment status,

offering rapid support to over 200,000 clients, including importers, customs brokers,

shipping companies, and transport firms. It enhances transparency in the cargo

clearance process, contributing to heightened customer satisfaction and striving to

reduce the annual volume of inquiries to the call center regarding shipments, currently

totaling 55,000 calls.

Furthermore, the “Post Audit Robotic Process Automation (PCA-RPA)" initiative is a

groundbreaking project designed to automate customs audit operations through AI-

driven robots. These robots extract, categorize, verify, and identify potential risks from

shipment-related documents. The automation of auditor decisions across various cases

is anticipated to cultivate new strategic capabilities focused on analysis, risk

management, and decision-making. The project aims to achieve 100% coverage for

audits of completed customs declarations in Dubai Customs annually, particularly for

high-value goods, categories, and customs situations, within the next five years.

In collaboration with the Dubai Government's Finance Department, Dubai Customs has

automated notifications for customs-imported transactions subject to tax between

government entities. This initiative aids in generating precise tax reports and reduces

discrepancies in transactions. Additionally, the government department has integrated

customs clearance systems with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International

Cooperation's electronic document authentication system. This simplifies interactions for

stakeholders, requiring them to input the electronic document authentication reference

number issued by the Ministry when organizing the customs declaration for import or re-

export. If authentication fees are settled before completing the customs declaration, the

reference number is necessary in the electronic customs systems.


Dubai Customs has achieved the distinction of being the first Arab and global institution,

outside the United Kingdom, to receive an Honorary Fellowship from the Idea UK

Organization. In the Ideas UK Awards 2023 ceremony, the government department


excelled by securing the first position for the innovation of the smart bag and the second

position in the Innovation category for the creation of the large vehicle scanner.

Moreover, it maintained its top global ranking in the 14th consecutive Platinum

Classification Index from the Ideas UK Organization for the third consecutive year.

Additionally, the department garnered the CMO ASIA award and recognition from the

Asian Excellence Organization in 2023 for being the Best Innovative Institution and

having the Best Innovative Design, both attributed to the giant inspection device. It also

earned the prestigious ISO 56002 – 2023 for Innovation from the globally recognized

company TUV. Further achievements include four new awards, including two gold

awards and two gold medals, at the World Inventions Exhibition organized by the

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai. Dubai Customs

culminated its persistent innovation efforts by securing the first place in the Global

Customs Innovation Award for 2023 in the category of Innovative Value-driven Solutions.

This accolade, presented by the European Customs Practitioners Network in

collaboration with the Cross-Border Research Organization, acknowledged Dubai

Customs for its Cross-Border E-Commerce project. Over 20 customs institutions

worldwide, including Germany, Hungary, and Australia, participated in this competition.

The evaluation by the expert customs committee witnessed fierce competition among

global customs projects offering innovative solutions to expedite and streamline

business operations. Remarkably, employees of Dubai Customs submitted a total of

6,081 new ideas and innovations.

Security Stability

Dubai Customs, in line with its national duty to safeguard borders and contribute to

enhancing the security stability is steadfast in firmly addressing all attempts of smuggling

prohibited, restricted, and counterfeit goods. In the past year, the government

department successfully executed 3,748 seizure reports, including 1,704 cases and

2,044 customs reports. These efforts align with the department's 2021-2026 plan for

global leadership in secure customs. The department is committed to utilizing and

advancing the best technologies to tackle security challenges threatening the safety of

the economy and society. This involves the Intelligence Customs Management program,

managing the massive volume of customs transactions and identifying suspicious


Dubai Customs also focuses on training and developing its officers and customs

inspectors across all customs ports. This includes educating them on modern and

innovative methods for detecting narcotics, using advanced machinery and modern

inspection devices, and acquainting them with the latest technologies in drug detection

and the substances used in its manufacturing. The aim is to empower them to identify

prohibited substances in all forms and deal with various smuggling methods.


The "Remote Inspection" project, launched by Dubai Customs in collaboration with

Dubai South, is a groundbreaking initiative to facilitate inspection procedures and

expedite processes for clients. The initiative leverages advanced technologies, artificial

intelligence, and a dedicated robot to inspect shipments within company warehouses

efficiently, securely, and with high precision from Dubai Customs' remote operations

room. This innovative project significantly reduces time and costs, eliminating the need

for customs officers to physically visit cargo warehouses for inspection. Equipped with

multi-purpose high-resolution cameras for risk detection, the new remote inspection

system includes quality devices such as thermal and infrared cameras, long-lasting

lithium batteries with fast-charging capabilities, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

These features support effective and precise inspection operations for shipments.

Recycling 694,000 Pieces:

The number of intellectual property dispute cases handled by Dubai customs in 2023

reached approximately 333 cases, involving over 15 million counterfeit goods with a total

value of around AED 73.4 million. The recycling of counterfeit goods involved 122

operations, encompassing around 694,000 pieces of counterfeit merchandise.

In 2023, the government department conducted 131 workshops and awareness events

on intellectual property, with 1,618 participants from various categories. Additionally, 407

trademarks and 231 commercial agencies were registered, and 8 intellectual property

assets for employee innovations at Dubai Customs were recorded.

Customs Facilitations:

Dubai Customs granted invoicing facilities free zone companies, contributing to the

growth of trade for companies benefiting from these facilities. The department provided

opinions on 120 projects for legislation, including 42 customs legislations, 20 local

legislations, and 58 federal legislations. The self-audit service was launched, increasing

the efficiency and effectiveness of the 2023 audit plan by 39% compared to the

achievement in 2022. Dubai Customs' efforts resulted in issuing classification decisions

for approximately 24,000 tariff items and responding to around 1,850 inquiries regarding

customs tariffs, prohibitions, and restrictions. The department supported the

implementation of economic partnership agreements by issuing organized customs

policies for their execution.


Tourism Support:

Dubai Customs enhanced its efforts to facilitate travel and tourism at Dubai airports. The

department provides various qualitative facilitations for tourists and travelers. The

iDeckare program aims to expedite the passage of travelers through the red channel,

completing customs procedures in less than 4 minutes. The program allows incoming

passengers to pre-disclose goods, personal belongings, gifts, coins, and cash amounts


accompanying the traveler. The application provides information on Dubai International

Airport's facilities, including restaurant locations, duty-free shops, exit gates, and

Customs Dubai employee areas. The smart project enhances the efficiency of the

customs inspection system at Dubai airports, increases awareness about prohibited and

restricted items for travelers, and can be accessed through the Google Play and Apple

App Store.


Dubai Customs, in partnership with the Finance Department of the Dubai Government,

has introduced the automation of customs-import transactions subject to taxation among

various government entities. This initiative aids in generating precise tax reports and

minimizes discrepancies in transactions.

Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program:

Dubai Customs is consistently backing the Authorized Economic Operator program,

enhancing the operations of affiliated companies. Recognized as a significant

advancement in customs procedures within the UAE, the Authorized Economic Operator

program simplifies customs clearance processes for compliant companies. As a

nationwide federal initiative, the program aims to connect the country both commercially

and customs-wise with the global community. It empowers participating companies with

streamlined access to their goods in international markets, particularly in countries with

mutual recognition agreements.

Quality Assurance:

Dubai Customs has implemented 17 quality specifications across diverse areas,

encompassing ISO 9001 Quality Management System, ISO 37000 Governance

Management System, ISO 30414 Human Capital Internal and External Reporting

System, ISO 26000 Social Responsibility System, ISO 56002 Innovation Management

System, and ISO 1000 Dispute Resolution Management System.

175 Community Initiatives:

Dubai Customs has intensified its commitment to community support through a

comprehensive initiative aligned with its social responsibility strategic plan. The

initiatives span social, health, environmental, and charitable activities, aiming to address

societal issues. In 2023, the department successfully executed a total of 175 community

initiatives, benefiting 238,000 individuals from various societal segments. The

community expressed a high satisfaction rate of 98%, as per a happiness study

conducted by the department.

The initiatives encompassed diverse projects, including the "Sawae'd Al Furdah"

initiative, programs for people of determination, the "Green Customs" initiative, as well

as awareness and educational workshops for school students, health-related awareness

sessions for employees, and sports initiatives commemorating international and national


days. These efforts were directed toward all segments of society, including children,

youth, senior citizens, people with special needs, assistance groups, and students from

schools and universities.

85 Events:

Over the past year, Dubai Customs organized 85 events, engaging 31,000 participants.

The satisfaction rate for these events reached an impressive 90%, according to post-

event surveys. Noteworthy events included the 8th Dubai Customs Week, UAE

Innovation Month, participation in GITEX Global Exhibition, UAE National Day

celebrations, Intellectual Property events, monthly customer recognition programs, and

Etibat initiative, fostering stronger diplomatic relations.

Specialized Courses:

Dubai Customs, represented by the Customs Training Center, conducted a total of 3,913

training courses by the end of 2023, benefitting 14,317 employees. The training sessions

for each employee amounted to 24 training hours. Additionally, smart training was

provided through various educational platforms, accounting for 40%.

The training programs covered a diverse range, encompassing courses in security and

information technology, customer satisfaction, innovation, inspection, safety and

occupational health, customs work, general administrative skills, human resources,

leadership development, intellectual property rights protection, data science, artificial

intelligence, career progression, and various general awareness workshops, along with

institutional differentiation courses.

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