Dr R. Santhosh Kumar, Assistant Director, NACIN, Cochin

Green Customs: Beyond borders, trade & environment forge a harmonious future, powered by innovation & global collaboration.

Green Customs has evolved into a holistic philosophy, weaving a future where every action, from Dubai's electric vehicle fleet in port terminals to India's pioneering paperless customs clearance system, EDI, contributes to a sustainable world. However, the cornerstone of Green Customs lies not solely in technological advancements, but rather in the active engagement of its workforce. Programs like "Green Champion" initiative empower employees to become agents of change within their own working environments, fostering a culture of environmental responsibility and propelling eco-friendly solutions. By embracing such holistic approaches, including the judicious implementation of smart lighting systems and energy-efficient equipment, alongside the responsible utilization of rainwater for landscaping, Customs Department can embark on a transformative journey towards internal sustainability. This commitment extends beyond internal operations, encompassing a priority on the procurement of environmentally friendly products and services, as well as the active promotion of paperless workflows. Ultimately, Green Customs is not merely a collection of green technologies and practices; it is a philosophy imbued within the very fabric of an organization, where every action, from carpooling initiatives to the responsible disposal of waste, contributes to a future where trade and environmental well-being coexist in harmony. 

Beyond Borders, Weaving a Greener Trade:

Green Customs extends its reach beyond internal practices, actively shaping a sustainable trade landscape. Brazil's "Green Corridor" paves the way for swift clearance of certified sustainable exports, while Colombia's dedicated units stand guard against illegal timber, safeguarding ecosystems. Similar echoes resonate in India, where the "Green Corridor" champions organic exports, and duty-free biorefinery imports propel green mobility. Paperless e-permits and officer training programs solidify India's proactive stance. Vigilant enforcement units tackle environmental crimes, from curbing wildlife trafficking to intercepting illegal timber and hazardous waste movement, in collaboration with agencies like the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. India's unwavering commitment to the Montreal Protocol, evident in stringent import regulations and robust monitoring, stands as a testament to its leadership in phasing out ozone-depleting substances. Thus, Green Customs in India transcends mere trade, weaving a future where environmental protection threads through every action, a future shaped by international collaboration and a shared vision of a greener world.

Harnessing Technology for Transformed Green Customs: A Vision for Sustainable Trade

Green Customs has transcended its initial focus on basic environmental measures to become a driving force for global sustainability. This evolution is fuelled by the strategic deployment of emerging technologies, pushing the boundaries of environmental protection and paving the way for a future where trade flourishes in harmony with our planet.

At the forefront of this transformation stands Artificial Intelligence (AI). In China, AI-powered facial recognition technology acts as a digital sentinel, safeguarding biodiversity by identifying endangered species concealed within shipments. Similarly, blockchain, with its immutable transparency, stands poised to revolutionize timber trade. Brazil’s pilot program leverages blockchain to track the provenance of timber, striking at the root of illegal deforestation.

Beyond static snapshots, drone technology equipped with hyperspectral sensors paint landscapes in real-time, revealing deforestation and pollution with unrivalled accuracy. This data feeds into advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS), creating dynamic maps that serve as laser-guided beacons for targeted interventions and resource allocation. Green Customs, empowered by these insights, combats environmental crimes with unparalleled precision.

The future holds even greater promise. The potential of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to train customs officers in complex environmental regulations and procedures offers enhanced efficiency and accuracy in enforcement. This continuous cycle of exploration and adaptation, fuelled by collaboration with stakeholders and the embrace of cutting-edge tools, positions Green Customs to become a global champion for a sustainable future.

By harnessing the power of technology, Green Customs transcends the mundane realm of trade facilitation. It becomes a transformative force, weaving a future where environmental well-being and responsible trade intertwine seamlessly.