Innovating for Customs Progress

Seven Singapore Customs officers received the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Certificate of Merit for their commitment towards promoting innovation. They received the certificates from Singapore Customs Director-General Fong Yong Kian when the agency celebrated International Customs Day 2013.

Recipients of the 2013 WCO Certificate of Merit from Singapore Customs: (clockwise from top left) Cheah Tuck Meng, Jonathan Loh, Roy Tan, Lim Chee Kiong, Alvin Tok, Cindy Yeo, and Goh Yeow Meng.

2013 has been designated the year of innovation by the WCO, with the theme of "Innovation for Customs Progress". In his International Customs Day 2013 message, WCO Secretary-General Kunio Mikuriya noted that innovation is a key driver for sustainable customs reform and modernisation. Innovation is necessary for customs administrations to "meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the 21st century border and trade environment".

He expressed confidence that the collective efforts of customs administrations to further innovate in 2013 will lead to greater economic competitiveness and generate global growth, when supported by enhanced trade facilitation – which involves a risk-based approach to supply chain security and deeper commitment to global compliance and good governance.

The seven Singapore Customs officers were commended for their work in promoting innovative ideas and practices, establishing new partnerships and adopting new solutions.

Customs Innovators

Goh Yeow Meng, Head of Risk Assessment, conceptualised and implemented various solutions to improve. These include collaborating with other agencies for a Whole-of-Government approach to target suspicious shipments and improving pre-clearance targeting through better use of data analytics.

Deputy Head of Company Compliance Cheah Tuck Meng enhanced the workflow of his Field Compliance section by introducing a tiered approach for supervision of stuffing and unstuffing operations, with less or no supervision for the more compliant companies. Tuck Meng is also looking into the use of mobile applications to enable his officers to access companies' compliance records while in the field.

Deputy Head of Intelligence Jonathan Loh is adept at combining traditional desk analysis with field surveillance to gain better insights into the operations of smuggling syndicates. He has helped to implement new technology and monitoring programs to enhance his branch's operational capabilities. His efforts contributed to the overall decline in cigarette smuggling over the years.

Alvin Tok, Deputy Head of Sea Checkpoints, and Cindy Yeo, Deputy Head of Procedures & Systems, were part of a multi-agency team which facilitated the set-up of Jurong Island Terminal, allowing hazardous chemicals to be transported between mainland Singapore and Jurong Island by sea instead of by road. Alvin also oversaw the setting up of the agency's new export scanning function.

Cindy played a significant role in implementing various projects including the Declaring Agent Governance Framework and Secure Trade Partnership programme.

Roy Tan, Deputy Head of International Relations, and Lim Chee Kiong, Deputy Head of Schemes & Licensing, were part of a multi-agency team involved in the setting-up of Singapore's Air Cargo Express Hub, which makes possible the unrestricted flow and quick turnaround of express air cargo.

Chee Kiong was also actively involved in other innovative projects including the TradeNet upgrade and the Declaring Agent Governance Framework.

Share this article