Dubai Customs announces achievements in 2Q 2019

Tuesday 30 July 2019
Dubai - MENA Herald:

Dubai Customs announced its new achievements in 2Q 2019 as a leading customs organization that supports sustainable economic development in the UAE.

“We go above and beyond in fulfilment of our vision of becoming the leading customs administration in the world supporting legitimate trade and following the directives and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai” Director of Dubai Customs Ahmed Mahboob Musabih said. “We are applying and adopting the latest AI applications to enhance and upgrade our services and facilities to our clients. This includes carrying out a number of ambitious projects and engaging in the emirate’s bold initiatives such as Dubai Silk Road, one of the 50-year charter articles.”


In conjunction with the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Dubai Customs announced its latest seizures in Q1 2019. A total of 421 drug smuggling bids have been foiled across Dubai’s various land, sea and air ports of entry.

The top narcotics seized were tramadol, captagon, opium, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, cannabis seeds, khat, and other drugs.

The biggest illegal drug seizure of Q1 2019 occurred in Jebel Ali Customs Centers in a case that saw a failed attempt to smuggle 5.715 million captagon pills. Airport Passenger Operations made 269 seizures of narcotics, while Land Customs Centers thwarted 98 drug smuggling bids, with 50 more seizures happening in Air Customs Centers, and 3 in Coastal Customs Centers.

Additionally, operational cooperation between the UK’s HMRC and Dubai Customs contributed to the seizure of 198 million cigarettes and 122 tons of other illicit tobacco products destined for the UK / UAE domestic market

Productivity engine

Dubai Executive Council approved the AI based productivity engine, built and developed by Dubai Customs. The engine has many features which include the ideal time calculator, productivity predictor, and leadership nudges. Most importantly, the innovative engine encompasses an auto-time tracker that highlights productive and unaccounted time and notifies decision makers of productivity scores for each department and employee.

There are certain targets that Dubai Customs looks forward to in the next two years which include reducing workload by 16.8%, increasing productivity capacity by 15%, automation of operations by 0.5%, and better employee commitment by 5.2%. This will save 1,280,000 work hours. Dubai Customs grew productivity 15% year-on-year after Mirsal 2 joined the service.

Smart berthing

Dubai Customs launched a new disruptive berthing service for the vessels using the Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai). The new system: (Smart Vessel Berthing System) will help vessels load and unload their goods with the help of an advanced AI based service. It was built in-house by Dubai Customs employees to facilitate traffic of vessels through the historic waterway.

The “Smart Vessel Berthing System” will enable trading vessels finalize their transactions online. They can register at the operations room of Dubai Creek Customs Center which will direct the vessels to the waiting quays using the Smart Vessel Berthing System. The vessels are then directed to certain wharfs to load or unload their goods. Dubai Creek Port deals with around 50 other ports in 9 countries.

The Smart Vessel Berthing System is another achievement to be added to a number of milestones achieved by Dubai Customs within its vision of facilitating trade and protecting society. The new berthing system will enable to fast-track work at the Creek and help vessels load and unload goods faster and easier. Dubai Creek Customs Center dealt with 15,603 vessels in 2018 (7,828 incoming and 7,775 outgoing vessels). In 1Q 2019, the center dealt with 4,190 vessels (2,078 incoming and 2,112 outgoing).

More cooperation with partners

Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation received a delegation from Dubai Police headed by Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police. The meeting covered different issues of cooperation in security, and paved the way to a future agreement on different aspects in fulfilment of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Bin Sulayem took the visitors on a tour where they saw different facilities at Dubai Customs. They viewed the customs operation room, the first of its kind in the region, that controls 500 surveillance cameras in 25 customs entry points in Dubai. 

The delegates also visited the Customs Declarations Management, which is in charge of clearance of all goods around-the-clock using Mirsal 2 system. The management did 7.5 million declarations in 2018, and achieved 95% client happiness thanks to its advanced services and facilities including early clearance.

Growth in trade

Dubai non-oil foreign trade figure recorded AED 339bn in the first quarter of 2019, which represents an increase of 7% year-on-year from AED 316bn in 1Q last year. Export figures increased the most at 30% to AED 42bn, Re-export was up 7% at AED 106bn and imports were up 4% at AED 190bn. 

 Data released by Dubai Customs showed that 1Q 2019 Dubai non-oil trade volumes increased by 32% to 28m tons (21m tons in 1Q 2018). Exports rose by 94% to 6m tons, Re-exports are up 41% at 4m tons and imports are up 16% at 17m tons.

Dubai trade grew 58% through the 2010-2019 decade; an increase of AED 124bn compared to 1Q 2010 trade which made AED 215bn.

Trade through free zones made AED 147bn (+20% YoY). Direct trade is the largest contributor to total trade at AED 189bn (-0.5% YoY) and customs warehousing accounted for AED 2bn (-21% YoY).

Air and sea trade accounted for 85% of the total trade, and have both witnessed double digit increases. Air trade accounted for AED 158bn (+11% YoY) and sea trade recorded AED 129bn (+10% YoY). Trade by land made AED 52bn.

Asia, the largest trading region with Dubai, increased by 7% to AED 208bn. Trade with Europe, the second largest partner, made AED 58bn. Africa witnessed the biggest growth, up 36% at AED 42bn. Americas and Oceania also contributed with high single digit growth, up 7% (AED 27bn) and up 9% (AED 4bn) respectively.

Happier clients

Dubai Customs held 3 client recognition ceremonies in 2Q to honor best performing clients and businesses in various categories. As a token of appreciation to the outstanding clients, and following directives of the Director General of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih the event has turned into a monthly celebration instead of an annual occasion.

Dubai Customs topped other government departments on the Happiness Meter in 2018 at 97.49% and 98% in 1Q, 2019.   

Consultative Council

Director of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih chaired the Consultative Council meeting which was set to discuss means of developing cooperation with the vegetable and fruit sector. The meeting focused on how this sector can benefit from the enormous advantages and facilities Dubai Customs offers and how to overcome any challenges that may face them.

Customs operations room

Dubai Customs completely redeveloped its customs operations room at Jebel Ali & Tecom Customs Center. Director General of Dubai Customs Ahmed Mahboob Musabih inaugurated the new operations room which is equipped with the most advanced and smart electronic systems to efficiently aid in customs activities and operations. The inauguration was attended by a host of executive directors and heads of customs departments.

 The redevelopment was carried out in-house and was based on the employees’ efforts and intellect. It helps streamline inspection activities and reduce time needed for inspection. The Dubai Customs booking system has been linked to that of DP World, which enables clients book inspection slots directly once they receive codes from DP World. 

The redeveloped room helps towards easier and more efficient inspection of goods and facilitating their flow into the local and regional markets and free zones. Jebel Ali’s Operation Room dealt with 208, 247 inspection requests in 2018, and 43,462 in 1Q 2019.

Intellectual property

Dubai Customs celebrated the World Intellectual Property Day 2019. In 1Q 2019, IPR Department made 68 intellectual property seizures with a market value of AED 11m and around 23,000 counterfeit items were recycled. 

Through its IP Award for Schools and Universities, Dubai Customs enhanced awareness and encouraged young generations towards more innovation in line with its IPR Department’s plan to encourage full community engagement in IPR protection and to educate students on their intellectual rights.

The first edition of the award was launched in 2007 as part of the IPR Department’s efforts to measure the upcoming generation’s awareness of IPR and educate the public about the risks of counterfeiting on consumers’ health and the country’s economy.

Since its launch in 2007, the award has seen the participation of more than 198,000 students from 172 schools and 30 universities. We are happy today to award the schools and universities that have won the 2018-2019 cycle.


During their participation in the WCO Council 133rd/134th Sessions in Brussels, Belgium Dubai Customs announced the hosting of the 5th WCO GLOBAL AEO CONFERENCE from 10-12 March 2010, which will be held in cooperation with the World Customs Organization.

The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program is a partnership between Trade community and Customs, in which actors in the global supply chain can apply for AEO status to receive trade facilitation benefits and, at the same time, verify and increase their level of compliance and security.

International Students Conference

Dubai Customs took part in the 5-day International Student Conference in Azirbaijan under the title “Contemporary Issues and Challenges in Customs Management”. The conference was organized by the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU) Baku Regional Office together with the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan Customs Academy.

Ramadan initiatives

Dubai Customs carried out 19 social initiatives during the Holy Month of Ramadan that benefited more than 45,000 people.

The initiatives varied to include donations, distribution of iftar meals among motorists and pedestrians, and organizing lectures.

As part of Al Furdah Hands initiative, 20,000 meals were handed out to motorists as they stopped at the traffic lights around sunset time. Around 200 volunteers of Ghayath Volunteer Team took part in the initiative along with their children and members of the port Police Station. Dubai Customs also distributed basic foodstuff items to 2,000 families in need, in cooperation with authorized charities in the country.

Passengers arriving at the Dubai Airport were received with Ramadan snacks which reflects the welcoming and hospitable face of Dubai. There were also meals that went to mosques to help worshippers break their fasting. This initiative targeted 15,000 people.

Awareness messages were sent across the social media channels during the Holy Month, and 550 meals were distributed daily to clients of Land Customs Centers and domestic workers. Another initiative saw Dubai Customs employees donate money to orphans. 

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