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Dubai Customs: World Class Standards

The initiatives put on display by Dubai Customs (DC) at the Dubai International Government Achievements Exhibition (DIGAE) 2016 stood out among the rest at the mega exhibition. They were greatly applauded by visitors as they provided tools to deliver better Customs services to the public.

DC’s latest smart achievements and initiatives that were showcased at the exhibition are the Virtual Corridor, Smart Enterprise Capability, Enterprise Case Management, Smart Inspection Glasses, Smart Workspace and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program.

Dubai Customs’ pavilion was themed “Customs achievements… World-class standards”, and through its smart, user-friendly design, it enabled visitors to get ample information on the exhibited initiatives with much ease and convenience.

One of the DC initiatives that most attracted the crowds’ attention was the Virtual Corridor, as it offers a great way of cutting costs of business operations and, thus, helps companies enhance their earnings.

The Smart Inspection Glasses were also very popular and helped deliver greater footfall to the exhibition stand. This leading-edge technology makes containers inspection at Customs checkpoints quicker and easier, by displaying to inspectors the container’s Customs Declaration, its risk assessment and x-ray images in a one-stop little screen so they can accordingly take proper measures.

Commenting on Dubai Customs’ active participation in the international show, Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation HE Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, stated, “Dubai Customs is taking full advantage of its participation in the DIGAE to share with others its innovative ideas that specifically target client happiness and a faster trade flow. Innovation has become an integral part of our day-to-day operations at Dubai Customs.”

Bin Sulayem commended the 4th edition of the DIGAE which is seeing international participants for the first time, allowing an open dialogue between top government officials, decision makers as well as the public, in a bid to improve the efficiency and delivery of government services.

On the other hand, HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, the Director of Dubai Customs, said that “Our presence in the DIGAE 2016 is in line with DC’s commitment to sharing its experiences with interested parties and to shed light on the smart initiatives created to ensure our customers are happy.

“DIGAE has become a global hub for government authorities from across the planet to come together to share their insights and best practices on public sector service delivery. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss, as the fair serves to introduce both the local and international communities to latest offerings by government departments in Dubai.”


Advanced Container Scanning System (ACSS)

The Advanced Container Scanning System is the first innovative and comprehensive solution in the world that combines and integrates multiple components of inspection technologies. It is the latest world-class integrated system for container X-ray screening. The device is capable of scanning the contents of 150 containers per hour moving at 8 to 15 km/hour, that is one truck every 24 seconds.

Developed and deployed in house by Dubai Customs, the ACSS is aimed at enhancing border security, reducing waste of resources, and reinforcing risk mitigation while maintaining a smooth flow of trade.

In 2014, around 380,000 containers were referred to inspection by ACSS at Jebel Ali Customs Center.

Smart Customs Inspection System

A first-of-its-kind inspection system worldwide, the Bags Smart Inspection System has been invented by Dubai Customs to better facilitate the customs inspector’s functions, in a swift and innovative manner apart from any stalling or complexity. The system aims to improve the customs experience for air travellers, ensuring smooth and seamless airport procedures. The new invention has the capacity to conduct the whole inspection process in less than three minutes.

The integrated multi-function system is capable of recognising its operator, identifying risk level, recommending the safety level for manual inspection referral, timing the inspection process, generating an inspection end statement (positive/negative), establishing a record of the manually inspected bags, analyzing peak times for manual inspection, establishing a passengers’ data base record while measuring their levels of satisfaction and happiness post to their input in the feedback sheet linked to the system.


The Dubai Customs has launched a pair of innovative smart inspection glasses.The pioneering home-developed glasses were a big draw at the customs’ stand at the Dubai International Government Achievements Exhibition (DIGAE) 2016.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, said this cutting-edge technology makes container inspections at customs checkpoints quicker and easier.

“The glasses instantly display the container’s customs declaration, as well as its risk assessment and x-ray images on a one-stop little screen, and accordingly help inspectors take proper measures.”

The smart glasses have significantly cut the time needed for inspection process from one or two days to only two or three minutes.

The smart inspection glasses are Google Glass which is equipped with a new software application that connects it straightaway with three customs sections for faster, safer and more accurate transactions.

For the time being, the Dubai Customs has bought three pieces, each of which costs Dh3,500.

Smart Phone Services

Dubai Customs delivers its entire array of services to clients through smart gadgets. Its integrated system of smart services does not only allow clients to submit their requests through mobile phones, but also ensures the requested services are processed the moment they are received by the respective employee. E-mails are sent to clients immediately after the implementation begins, informing them about the time needed to deliver the services they requested.

Dubai Customs saved customers the time and trouble of filling out shipping details, as this information can be obtained automatically through the network points between DC and handling agencies.

Dubai Customs was the first government department in Dubai to provide 100% of its services to clients through smart phone devices and tablets in October 2013. And almost two years ago, on July 2014, DC launched smart watch services, offering its customers more convenience and accessibility to services.

This is an added value for customers, as it cuts down their business costs, saves their time and reduces the need for personnel to carry out customs transactions.

Risk Engine

The in-house developed Risk Engine is primarily fed with information from various sources to identify the suspected shipments at a high level of accuracy and refer them to inspection according to intelligence standards and bases, so as to reach the best results in combating smuggling and save the time and effort in inspections to enable customers to get their shipments cleared in a time-efficient manner.

Consequently, 84% of the safe transactions (i.e. risk-free) are evaluated by the Risk Engine and cleared electronically without any human intervention in less than two minutes.

In 2014, around 5.9 million declarations were submitted to Dubai Customs. The Risk Engine referred 4.7% of these declarations (281,300 declarations) to the Risk Mitigation Team at the Customs Declaration Management for further investigation, as per the plan proposed by the Intelligence Department.

The smart system helped in scoring numerous seizures since its launch. Some of the major seizures that resulted following referral from the Risk Engine are a Tramadol seizure in 2014 that contained 108 boxes of this substance, a 550,000 Captagon pills seizure, a major 171.2 kg Cocaine seizure which is considered as one of the largest nationwide during the past five years, besides numerous seizures of ivory, bladed arms, and items of sorcery and witchcraft.

Virtual Corridor

The “Virtual Corridor” is a newly adopted customs procedure for the transportation of goods under a Cargo Transport Request between two Dubai Customs centres and only by Dubai roads connecting the center of entry (access from the outer world) to the center of exit (destination in Dubai).

The new initiative aims to facilitate the movement of transit goods and reduce operational costs for clients in order to further consolidate Dubai’s business competitiveness and sustain its economic growth by attracting in more traders and investments.

Among its main benefits, the Virtual Corridor helps expedite the process of moving cargo form one customs center to another inside Dubai. It is also cost-efficient for traders as they move their goods across different customs centers; participants in the Virtual Corridor can avail themselves of a virtual financial guarantee granted by Dubai Customs. In addition, customs processes are now made simpler and more streamlined with automated cargo transport requests.

The pilot phase of the project, which involved 16 leading handlers and freight companies, was well received by all participants. A total of 10,024 transactions were processed using the Virtual Corridor between August 26, 2014 through March 21, 2015.

Amphibious Craft (Mobile Laboratory)

The Amphibious Craft is an environment friendly vehicle, equipped with 10 cutting-edge inspection devices, all operated with solar power around the clock. The high-tech vehicle is created for the purpose of detecting maritime customs threats which Customs inspectors may be prone to while performing their tasks, considering the high traffic of vessels and dhows at Dubai Creek.

This project is actuated as per the suggestions of the Customs Intelligence cadre at Dubai Customs. The Amphibious Craft conducts maritime patrols nearby vessels and dhows at Dubai Creek, capable of detecting hazardous and prohibited items within a span of 300 meters by exploring the vessel’s parameter, hull and even the farfetched internal compartments. The Craft is equipped with a live streaming camcorders documenting the inspection, while being remotely monitored by DC’s Command and Control Room.

Post Clearance Audit (PCA)

The Post Clearance Audit or PCA is an audit-based control conducted by Dubai Customs subsequent to the release of goods to ensure compliance with Customs and other related laws and regulations.

Dubai Customs has reinforced its PCA processes with new technologies, making them smart and fully integrated. DC’s clients were invited to “innovation labs” and their optimal feedback was incorporated during the process of making this first of its kind system.

Robotic Inspector

The first of its kind “Robotic Inspector” is a robust robotic device used in large vehicles inspections at the inland inspection centers. It helps in reducing the needed time of inspection down to half an hour, rather than earlier 4 hours average for the same process.

Inspection Motor Trike

Dubai Customs has come up with the idea of using a motor trike for inspection at Hatta Border Port. The Trike is fully equipped with latest technologies in customs processes for inspecting vehicles prior to their arrival at the port’s customs zone. The Trike is set to streamline the flow of travellers and increase security at the port.

Safe Customs Inspector

Dubai Customs is always keen on providing its inspection team with the utmost of care and attention, being the society’s first line of defense. This effort is interpreted in providing a safe working environment meeting day-to-day field operations needs and functions across all customs ports of entry.

DC has provided its team of inspectors with a high-end gear, aiding the inspection process and helping them meet the work environment demands in air, sea and inland Customs centres.

Dubai Customs’ Safe Customs Inpector outfit and gear comprise of a field inspection outfit, head protection (cap), moisture wicking jacket, protective handgloves, protective shoes, toxic gas detector, respirator mask (protective against toxic scents and fumes), protective glasses (day/night) and portable camcorder.