Fabian Demicoli

GRTU carries out a study on the burdens at customs


In an exercise carried out amongst its members GRTU presented the authorities with the burdens they still encounter at customs.


It was widely reported that since Malta's entry in the EU burdens have been heavily diminished and our frequent meetings with customs have helped in making the system less bureaucratic. GRTU represents not only importers but also cargo hauliers so we meet with customs very frequently to discuss any issues they feel are bureaucratic. Some problems however are still present when it comes to imports outside the EU.

Overtime Charges

Customs work till 13.00 hrs after which importers are made to sign a paper and customs would charge them for over time

Free port work till 16.00 hrs after which overtime is also charged

For urgent releases needed on Saturday importers are charged overtime as well

Clearance of imports outside EU

Some instances were reported that when groupage is at Hal Far depot and customs officials are not always available and they have to wait until they show up

Jewellers: unlike any other good all non-EU imports coming through UPS have to be cleared by the consul. This can be done by either the consul coming to clear it himself of the good is sealed and has to be taken by the importer to the consul for clearance.

CITES (Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species)

Opens only 2 days a week 10.00 – 12.00

Applies to all non-EU imports of leather, imitation jewellery, live animals and plants, food products, etc…

Limit in opening hours and need to physically go there sometimes creates a huge delay in release of product.

IT system

It has been reported that computers crash very often sometimes causing after hours delay and overtime is charged. Cashier system also crashes very frequently.


Acknowledge reduction but still frequent and costly for imports outside the EU

Cost: Average 3 hauliers for half day

Frequency: Should be a ballot system. Out of 10 imports – 2/3 stripped

Consequences: Damaged goods, stolen items

A system exists where customs officials go to premises were goods are unloaded and inspection is carried out there. Even though this takes place during office hours they still charge overtime

We urge member to contact GRTU if they would like to add to/clarify any of the above.

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