Renewed enforcement of customs requirements that were first put into effect in 2011 appear to be holding up recent shipments ordered by several Qatar residents.
Numerous complaints about the delays have been circulating on Twitter this week:
@ianedelman yep! DHL have 7 containers stuck at customs. My passport is arriving tonight. Am never going to make my Friday flight 🙁
— Joanna Gasiorowska (@JoGasiorowska) May 21, 2014
One customer, Ben Haylock, told Doha News that he had ordered a personal package from Amazon to be delivered via a drop shipping service owned by DHL.
He said he finally received his package on Thursday, three days after it landed in Qatar.
Several courier services who spoke to Doha News confirmed that there were package delivery delays, but suggested the problem originated from Qatar’s General Authority of Customs.
However, the Customs department declined to comment to Doha News about any issues.
The backups have prompted some to theorize that the shifting of cargo operations to Qatar’s new Hamad International Airport could be the problem:
— Brady Creel د. بريدي كريل (@bradycreel) May 22, 2014
When asked about the matter, Jason Vital, customer services contact center executive at shop and ship company Aramex, said they recently received a message from clearance officials asking them to “expect delays due to new procedures.”
Vital hinted that the problem could be due to an online system that a number of couriers have been signing up for the past several months, called Al Nadeeb. The service is affiliated with Qatar Customs’ Qatar Clearance Single Window (QCCSW), which was introduced in 2011.
Al Nadeeb is an electronic system aimed to clear all custom transactions that take place between the General Authority of Customs and all government and private affiliated partners including ministries, shipping and navigation companies, and many more.
Initially, the system only covered items coming into Doha’s port, but by 2013 was expanded to include air shipping, which covers couriers.
The purpose of creating this system was to standardize all custom procedures and speed the completion of transactions, so that approvals can be granted electronically, and importers can conduct follow-ups on custom clearance transactions online.
According to Hukoomi, the clearance window allows registered users anywhere in the world, including trade brokers, importers and exporters, to perform the following activities online:
- View, modify, activate and suspend users;
- Access customs data and records;
- Make duty payments;
- Complete customs paperwork, including customs declaration and manifest; and
- View and modify company details.
So far, all courier companies including Aramex, FedEx, UPS and DHL are registered with Al Nadeeb. However, the clearance issue persists because shipping companies are still unfamiliar with the processes, one courier company suggested to Doha News.
Separately, Vital said that Aramex customers have been informed of delays, adding, “Right now, this issue is beyond our control because we have done our part.”
Meanwhile, Nael Attiyat, country manager of DHL Qatar, said that his company has not received any complaints about delays:
“There are currently no problems at DHL as we are fully registered with Al Nadeeb, and we make sure to contact our customers and to keep in touch with them in case there is anything.”
Have you been experiencing package delays? Thoughts?