Kosovo businesses say plan to open a Kosovo customs office in the port of Durres in Albania will greatly simplify customs procedures, save time and increase the volume of trade.

Kosovo Businesses Welcome Expected Customs Office in Albanian Port

The harbour of Durres, Albania, February 2, 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/Malton Dibra

The Kosovo business community told BIRN they welcome the agreement between the governments of Albania and Kosovo on “collaboration and reciprocal assistance in customs matters,” which would eventually translate into Kosovo having its own customs office at the Albanian port of Durres on the Adriatic. The office will ease customs procedures and save businesses time.

“We have passed a bill to ratify the agreement with Kosovo on mutual facilities in customs procedures, as well as the control of products entering and exiting the country,” Albania’s Finance Minister, Delina Ibrahimaj, said on Wednesday, referring to an agreement reached by the two countries in November 2021. “The agreement provides for the opening of Kosovo customs point… at Durres port,” Ibrahimaj added.

Besir Cmega, owner of a Kosovo transport company, Railtrans LLC, told BIRN that a Kosovo customs at Durres would help his company by speeding up the arrival of goods in Kosovo.

“Clearance procedures would be carried out while the containers are still in port,” Cmega told BIRN, adding that costs would also be reduced because currently all inspections of goods arriving in Albania for Kosovo have to be done separately by both Kosovo and Albanian customs.

Berat Rukiqi, director of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, told BIRN the aim was “to facilitate the transit and the clearance of goods at the arrival point. This will facilitate the circulation of goods by easing the bureaucracy and reducing time”, he said, as trucks would no longer go through double or triple checks.

Minister Ibrahimaj added: “This deal will make it easier for our two countries to trade. All licenses issued by all border customs authorities will be recognized. It will unify the two countries’ customs controls, lowering the time it takes to complete them.”

One of the main difficulties in the transit of goods via Durres for Kosovo companies, according to Cmega, is dual procedures because “the transit procedures need to be completed by Albanian customs agencies with the same procedures as clearance in Kosovo. This takes time and creates delays”.

“Procedures often are not completed within the day and so the truck together with the driver have to stay in Albania for one extra day,” Cmega noted.

“If clearance can be finished in Durres, there won’t be extra terminal costs in transport to Kosovo, which costs 40 euros per truck per day,” Cmega added.

Astrit Panxha, from the Kosovo Producers’ Club, told BIRN the opening of the Durres port for Kosovo customs would aid the circulation of goods.

It “will shorten the procedures and the time of waiting because trucks will not need to stop at the border crossing point”, Panxha explained.

The agreement now goes to Albania’s parliament and will come into force “on the first day of the second month,” after the legal requirements for its enforcement are met by both countries.

Source link: balkaninsight.com