EghtesadOnline: Ninety percent of Iran's imports and transit will be controlled by advanced inspection technology by the Iranian yearend (March 20, 2019), the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration said.
“Equipping the country’s customs terminals with advanced X-ray systems that conduct speedy scans and help control ports of entry is one of IRICA’s main plans,” the administration’s news outlet also quoted Foroud Asgari as saying.
The customs of Sarakhs, the northeastern border crossing on the Iran-Turkmenistan frontier, and Dogharoun in the border city of Taybad located on the Iran-Afghanistan border, both in Khorasan Razavi Province, were equipped with advanced X-ray trucks this week.
The X-ray scanning system of Dogharoun can check 120 trucks per hour and send their information to operators in the destination customs offices. It can also be configured to scan just the cargo, and not the driver's cabin, according to Financial Tribune.
This is the second X-ray machine provided for Dogharoun customs, which is the largest official land border crossing with Afghanistan for export-import of goods and equipment. It cross-checks 500-700 containers per day, as well as the entry and exit of thousands of Afghans, which signify the importance of this customs terminal to counter the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan, as well as other smuggled commodities.
Last month, IRICA announced that the number of X-rays at Iranian customs offices has quadrupled compared with the fiscal 2013-14. The administration has ordered six X-ray machines with domestic producers and plans to purchase five new advanced mobile X-ray machines.
According to the Rapporteur of Majlis Industries and Mining Commission Saeed Bastani, smuggling is now estimated to hover around $13 billion in Iran per year.
> Fight Against Smuggling
Smuggling has had a downtrend since Hassan Rouhani took office as Iran’s president in August 2013.
The total value of smuggled goods during the three fiscal years March 2013-16 stood at $25 billion, $19.8 billion and $15 billion respectively.
In the fiscal 2016-17, the figure shrank to $12-13 billion, indicating a substantial decrease of 50% compared to the year Rouhani came to power, Qasem Khorshidi, the spokesman of the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“In 2013, less than 1% of all the goods smuggled into Iran were confiscated. The rate stood at 32% last year, during which 146 trillion rials ($3.47 billion) worth of contraband were seized.”
Reza Beheshtizadeh, an official with the headquarters, said that in March more than 36.21 trillion rials ($810.38 million) worth of contraband goods were confiscated in Iran during the 10 months to Jan. 20, 2018, registering a 23.3% increase compared with the similar period of last year.
> 1st in Combating Narcotics, 2nd in Fighting Smuggling
The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration is ranked first in combating narcotics and second in fighting smuggling, according to a World Customs Organization report.
The report published by WCO's Regional Intelligence Liaison Office maps the countries' customs performance in battling the trafficking, transit and confiscation of different kinds of narcotics, psychedelics, illegal drug raw material and new psychoactive substances, as well as combating the smuggling of fuel, endangered species, pharmaceuticals and fake products from January up to the end of September 2017.
According to RILO experts, Iran's top ranking is because of the successful implementation of electronic customs systems.
Nonetheless, smuggling remains one of the main issues overshadowing Iran’s economy.
According to the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange, per capita consumption of contraband in Iran stood at $197 last year.
Contraband comprises 83% of the mobile phone market, 47% of toy market, 27% of the apparel market and 21% of the household appliances market.
Chairman of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Mojtaba Khosrotaj said apparel smuggling into Iran stood at more than $940 million in the last fiscal year (March 2017-18).
According to Abdolmajid Negaresh-Nejad, an official with the headquarters, every $1 billion worth of contraband smuggled into the country destroys 100,000 jobs.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, which has been assigned the task of tackling commodity smuggling in the Persian Gulf, will support the administration in the broader war on smuggling, IRGC's Spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said in March.