Djiboutian customs and operators on the same wavelength


“With the Djiboutian customs administration, we have an unambiguous working relationship.”
The words of Tayo, an Ethiopian operator, are unequivocal. If his words cannot lend themselves to any interpretation, it is because they are also unanimous among all his peers.
“Thanks to the use of cutting-edge technologies, the processing time for goods has been considerably reduced,” added one of his colleagues, specifying that “the customs clearance procedure only takes fifteen minutes”.
“It is important that the truth be restored as soon as possible”, insists a senior official of the Djiboutian customs administration. “If the regulations in force bring,” he says “a lot of facilities for the operators, they also imply obligations”.
Thus, faced with its Ethiopian interlocutors during the joint meeting held from March
21 to 23 at the Sheraton hotel, the Djiboutian side points a certain administrative heaviness.
The Djiboutian side also offered to fix this by requesting access to the Ethiopian customs system for the sole purpose of boosting fluidity in goods from Ethiopia and intended for export via the Djiboutian ports.
This is all the more true as customs clearance operations for import goods do not suffer from any delay.
“Only goods for export are therefore concerned and the delays observed are in no way attributable to Djiboutian customs services. Because they find their source in documentary discrepancies, forcing Djibouti freight forwarders to ask their Ethiopian partners for corrective action in order to file the declaration in good and due form with the customs services in Djibouti,” a Djibouti official said.
Before the deadline, the Djiboutian customs administration’s leeway are very limited because they are not even informed of the presence of these goods since no declaration is recorded at this stage.
Operators and customs come together around a very simple observation: a flaw exists. But this is otherwise much more damaging than it finds its source in any failure of the Djiboutian customs system.
As much to say it right away: “this is a non-issue and our administration has nothing to do with it”, as one operator who requested anonymity summed it up so well.
While denouncing what he considers to be a “false trial that we are doing to our customs services”, the Djiboutian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds the legal channels that should be taken if a logistics company or an operator intends to lodge a complaint.
In its press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also underlined the privileged nature of the cooperation relations between the Republic of Djibouti and its large Ethiopian neighbor, both of which are engines of regional economic integration.