Trieste to prepare the first international customs corridor in Europe
Port Authority and Customs Agency, with the support of freight forwarders, are working to implement a railway fast corridor between TMT and the Interport of Furnitz (Austria). Brussels’ pilot procedure was set aside
“By the end of the year the IT component will be fully operative. We plan to start in September, provided that the Customs of both countries carry out all the necessary bureaucratic and administrative procedures”, declared Alberto Cozzi, who is responsible for the implementation of a railway customs fast corridor from the port of Trieste on behalf of the Port Authority of Trieste. The corridor will be similar to those already existing between Tyrrhenian ports and several inland customs clearance sites, but in this case it will reach Austria.
“The project – financed by EU funds within the Italy-Austria Smartlogi program – involves LCA Logistik Center Austria Süd, the company which manages the Interport of Furnitz (Villach, Carinthia), next to the Tarvisio pass. We are developing the IT platform, while the two Customs Agencies are dealing with bureaucracy”, Cozzi added, pointing out that this was made possible through the setting aside of the Eu Pilot procedure initiated by Brussels against Italian fast corridors. This was made possible by the fast corridor regulations issued by the Customs Agency at the beginning of May.
“Initially the service will include only container trains departing from Pier VII in Trieste. We will subsequently evaluate if and how to apply it also to semi-trailers. Trieste-based freight forwarders were pleased with this operation”, the official explained.
This was confirmed by ASPT - Trieste freight forwarders association president Stefano Visintin: “We were among the promoters because we believe that the traffic increase resulting from the corridor will be much greater than the penalties which might be imposed on our category for it”.
At present “providing import services to non-Italian EU subjects is almost impossible. This is not a customs problem, rather fiscal, related to the VAT law which requires them to have a tax representative in Italy. If we are lucky, we manage to make some T1 documents, otherwise we make several International Freight Convention (documents for EU transit, ed.) but, in any case, we do not carry out 'valuable' transactions, we do not achieve customs revenues and we do not collect VAT”.
Visintin has long been complaining about the Italian tax regulation since Italy renounces to one third of the duties that it might withhold by importing on behalf of third countries. The corridor does not amend such regulation, rather it increases opportunities for Austrian customs agents: “The point is that the fast corridor will make the port more attractive, thus increasing traffics and our potential. We do not want to deal with T1 documents, we want to import. Market opening and competition with the Austrians are not a problem, much less with 2020 and centralized customs clearance around the corner”, the freight forwarders president concluded, confirming that “the Trieste-Furnitz corridor will be the first international customs corridor in Europe”.