Ahead of the UAE 49 th National Day celebrations, Dubai
Customs released trade figures, which reflected the significant role the oldest government
department played in developing and enhancing Dubai and the national economy through
the years. Dubai non-oil external trade has doubled about ten times between 2000 and
2019 rising from Dh143b in 2000 to Dh1.271tr. in 2019. In the first half of 2020, Dubai
trade made around Dh551b.
In its long journey, Dubai Customs has gone through different stages of development. In
the 1970’s, it established Customs Centers to control Dubai’s sea, air and land ports.
These included coastal customs centers at Dubai Creek, Port Rashid and Jebel Ali Customs
Center. With the development of airports, customs centers were established at Dubai
International Airport and Al Maktoum Airport, along with Air Cargo Customs centers. Other
land customs centers were set up to cope with the growing size of land trade between the
emirate and the neighboring countries.
As of first of April 2001, Dubai Customs went into a new development phase with the
launch of the Ports Customs and Free Zone Corporation. After His Highness Sheikh
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai
assumed his position on 4 January 2006, Dubai Customs witnessed significant development
in performance and services, which led to raise the UAE to first place on the Customs
“We do our job efficiently in facilitating legitimate trade and travel, and protecting the
society,” said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs. “Dubai
Customs keeps developing and evolving to keep abreast with the latest technologies,
provide its clients with the most advanced services, and maintain its global leading status.
We are celebrating the 49 th National Day with the development of new initiatives and
projects that will help catapult us to even higher status and enable us to serve our clients
in the best possible way.”
Dubai Customs has facilitated customs procedures through a number of leading projects
including the integrated customs system Mirsal 2, the smart risk engine and the electronic
business channel. Towards efficient communication with its clients, Dubai Customs
organizes regular meetings through the Dubai Customs Consultative Council, and it has
launched Ertebaat initiative for coordination with the diplomatic missions and the foreign
Dubai Customs has launched “Our 7 Star Centers Initiative”, which aims to provide a
hospitable and welcoming environment to its clients following the best world standards,
and this distinctive service has continued during the pandemic. The clients were able to
complete their transactions using the smart channels, and were able to have their goods
inspected and cleared without any delay.
Customs transactions completed by Dubai Customs grew 44% in 5 years (2015-2019) to 13m
transactions at the end of 2019 compared to 8.9m transactions in 2015. The growth
reflects the resilience of the national economy and the pivotal role Dubai plays in the
global trade. Customs transactions in the first half of 2020 grew 41% to 7.252m
transactions compared to 5.138m transactions in the corresponding period last year. For
better productivity and performance, Dubai Customs developed the Productivity Engine,
which was endorsed by the Dubai Executive Council to boost employees’ productivity
throughout the emirate by 10% and reduce working hours in two years by 16.8%.
One of the major projects that Dubai Customs launched under the auspices of the Federal
Customs Authority is the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), which helps member
companies with better access to the markets. Mutual recognition agreements have been
signed with Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and China who seek to benefit from the advantages
and facilitations this program offers. More than 60% of customs transactions (4.4m) were
completed through the program in the first half of 2020. There are now 77 companies,
who are members of Dubai Customs’ AEO program, achieving 36% saving in operational
costs and faster clearance by 53%.
Dubai Customs launched an initiative to establish an international platform for the best
AEO practices and agreement, and the World Customs Organization endorsed the
initiative. The 5 th WCO Global AEO Conference will be held in Dubai next year, with the
participation of 1,000 customs experts, and delegates from the WCO and customs
organizations around the world.
With regard to innovation, Dubai Customs has developed 237 innovations since 2010,
including 32 innovations in 2020. As a result, Dubai Customs bagged 14 renowned awards
to raise the total number of awards to 124.
Another important initiative is the launch of the Virtual Corridor, which enables the
movement of goods faster, easier and cheaper. Around 324,435 customs transactions were
completed through the initiative in 2018.
Safe society is one of the main priorities that Dubai Customs always works for to protect it
from the hazards of counterfeit goods. In 2005, the organization established the IPR
Department, which is the first of its type at the government level in the Middle East. The
IPR Department plays its role in protecting the society from counterfeited brands, and for
this, it launches a number of initiatives to raise awareness around the intellectual
property rights. The IPR Award for schools and universities has been launched, and more
than 198,000 students from 177 schools and 33 universities participated in the award since
its launch in 2007 until 2018-2019.
One of the leading initiatives launched by Dubai Customs is the Virtual Stock Guarantee.
The new facility supports re-export activity from free zones to external markets. More
than 18,000 companies based in 24 free zones and 37 customs warehouses can benefit
from the Virtual Stock Guarantee facility, in addition to customs warehouse companies
willing to use it to re-export their goods solely through Dubai’s air and seaports, and the
UAE land exits.
In addition, the Smart Berthing System was launched to facilitate the berthing of
commercial vessels in Dubai Creek using the latest smart AI applications.