AFAFGIT to be implemented in peninsular Malaysia from Jan 1, 2024

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 21: The ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit (AFAFGIT), which will facilitate the movement of goods in transit in ASEAN member states will be implemented in Peninsular Malaysia from Jan 1, 2024.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke, in a media conference after chairing the National Logistics Task Force (NLTF) meeting today, said AFAFGIT would be implemented in Sabah, Sarawak, and the Federal Territory of Labuan after Brunei, Indonesia, and the Philippines are included in the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS).

ACTS is an electronic software system which was developed for the operationalisation of AFAFGIT that employs a single vehicle, single guarantee, and single transit declaration.

It aims to facilitate the movement of goods in transit across the borders of ASEAN member countries, starting from the country of origin, transit country, to the country of destination without having to redeclare or change vehicles along the way.

On Dec 16, 1998, ASEAN member countries signed AFAFGIT for the purpose of facilitating transportation and trade to support the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

Loke said the government yesterday gazetted two subsidiary legislations, namely the  Land Public Transport (International Circulation) (Asean Cross-Border Goods Vehicle) Regulations 2023 and the Commercial Vehicle Licencing Board (International Circulation) (Asean Cross-Border Goods Vehicle) Rules 2023.

In accordance with AFAFGIT ruling, the domestic competent agency of each ASEAN member country is eligible to issue 500 ASEAN Goods Vehicle Cross-Border (AGVCB) permits based on the terms and conditions set and the number of permits can be increased with the agreement of all ASEAN member countries.

Loke said the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) was appointed as the competent agency that will issue AGVCB permits in Malaysia, while the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) will operate and be responsible for the ACTS system.

“Local goods vehicle operator companies that meet the requirements can submit an online application to APAD from Jan 1, 2024,” he said.

Loke said AFAFGIT implementation will drastically change the landscape of the country’s logistics sector where the movement of cargo and commercial vehicles among ASEAN countries will move seamlessly through smooth coordination of the clearance process at the borders, thereby increasing the amount of national trade, especially with ASEAN member countries.

In another development, Loke said the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the detention, inspection, and release of containers will be extended to other federal ports to enhance port productivity and the country’s competitiveness starting Jan 1, 2024.

On May 1, 2022, the MoT developed and enforced the SOP for the detention, inspection, and release of containers to address delays in cargo release at federal ports, where a pilot project to implement the SOP was carried out at Port Klang.

Loke said the  detention of containers by other government agencies (OGA) or permit issuing agencies (PIA) had implications on the  country’s competitiveness and port productivity, causing significant losses to the trading community.

Based on the SOP that was developed, OGA or PIA must release the containers within three days, unless the containers are seized or require further inspection based on statutory requirements, he said.

“Before the SOP was enforced, only 70 to 75 per cent of containers were released after inspection within three working days. However, since the SOP enforcement, 92 per cent were released within three days from May 1, 2022, to Aug 31, 2023, at Port Klang,” he said.