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EU4Digital: a key step to streamlining cross-border freight – discussing the results of eCustoms pilot between Moldova and Romania

The EU4Digital Facility last week held a post-pilot conference to discuss the results of the e-Customs pilot project on the automatic exchange of electronic customs information between the Republic of Moldova and Romania.

The conference on 7 April brought together the Romanian Customs Authority, the Moldovan Customs Authority, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, the EU Delegation to Moldova and the CEFTA Secretariat.

During the piloting of the SEED (Electronic Systematic Data Exchange) information system, which took place over 24 hours from 24-25 March at the Leușeni-Albita border crossing point, the participating customs administrations exchanged electronic data relating to 153 empty means of transport, which circulated in both directions.

The SEED solution ran smoothly and allowed for greater efficiency in crossing the border. Data could be entered into the system by the customs authority in the country of exit and was then verified and confirmed in the country of entry. This avoided duplication of data into the system by both customs authorities. At the same time, the risk assessment process became more dynamic, because the data could be analysed by the customs authority of the country of entry until the arrival of the means of transport in the customs control area.

The EU4Digital eCustoms pilot project between Moldova and Romania was designed after a successful pilot between Lithuania and Belarus and based on the experience of over ten years of using the SEED application for the exchange of customs data in the Western Balkans.

Following the pilot, EU experts have now elaborated a list of recommendations on how to implement the SEED solution on a larger scale, in order to capitalise on all the benefits it can bring. These recommendations include scaling up the solution to other border crossing points, the possibility to add additional data sets for exchange and greater functionality of SEED and ensuring a sound legal basis for future specific exchanges of customs-related information between the EU and Eastern partner countries and others.

The systematic exchange of electronic information between the customs authorities of the Republic of Moldova and Romania might reduce the waiting time at border of trucks without goods, but in the future also those with goods. As a result, it is expected to streamline cross-border freight traffic.

The customs authorities will analyse the conclusions and recommendations regarding the possibility of implementing the solution on a larger scale, extending the use of the solution to other customs points, as well as implementing several functionalities to facilitate border crossing and ensuring its security.

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