Highest Customs’ Waiting Time in Region

The waiting time for freight trucks in custom points is Albania is the highest compared to the 15 countries in the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) region with which there is a free trade agreement. According to official CEFTA data in June this year, a truck spent in general 197 minutes (3 hours and 20 minutes) on the waiting and processing procedures at customs points of entry in Albania. The waiting time in Albania was the highest in the CEFTA region and with a high difference from the second place occupied by Montenegro, where a truck has to wait 129 minutes (2 hours and 9 minutes).

The procedures include sanitary controls, scans, etc., while the customs procedure is performed online. During the year of the pandemic, this indicator deteriorated in Kosovo as the third country with the highest customs clearance time of 120 minutes (2 hours). Serbia is the country with the best services in this regard where trucks do not have waiting time at customs points, then comes North Macedonia where a truck waits for customs clearance only 37 minutes and in Bosnia, with only 81 minutes.

CEFTA has calculated the waiting time for a single crossing by calculating the time between the moment when the customs authority at the exit Customs Office completes the customs procedures and allows the exit, and the moment when the customs authority at the entry Customs Office accepts the customs declaration and allows a truck to enter the Customs territory. According to the CEFTA methodology, the waiting time includes a part of the time spent on the exit side (after the completion of customs formalities until the moment of departure from the customs territory of exit) and a whole time elapsed for all formalities on the export side entrance. The waiting time calculated by CEFTA does not include the time spent waiting on the road / highway nor the time required for all formalities before customs clearance at the exit.

In the Albanian territory, the customs clearance time of a truck is higher, although most of the cargoes are subject to customs scanning procedures. Unlike other countries, since 2013 in Albania the customs scanning service is offered through a private concession with public-private partnership. The concession in addition to charging the business with an additional fee of Euro 5 for customs declarations below or equal to Euro 1,000 and Euro 22 for customs declarations over Euro 1000 has also affected the waiting time.

According to internal data, 92% of customs services are already performed online, thanks to the implementation of digitalization reform, but the customs service in Albania remains problematic in terms of timeframes compared to other countries in the region.