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Tax and Customs Board purchases new x-ray inspection equipment

18 August 2016
Mr Fu Qiyuan (Nuctech Warsaw Company Limited) and Mr Marek Helm (Estonian Tax and Customs Board)

Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) concluded a procurement contract of 12, 1 mln euros on Tuesday with the Chinese technology company Nuctech for the purchase of five additional x-ray scanners.

According to Marek Helm, Director General of ETCB, this is the biggest investment in the history of ETCB, which enables the customs to streamline customs checks for traders.

‘With x-ray technology five minutes and one scanned image is enough to make a decision on the need for a first-level control. Physical examination, by contrast, would take several hours including loading and unloading,’ Mr Helm explained.

‘The experience so far related to the existing x-ray equipment has shown that this is the most efficient solution for the inspection of goods traffic and detection of illicit goods. According to Estonian and other states’ experience border crossing points where such technology is not used have proved to be the preferred checkpoints for smugglers,’ Mr Helm said.

By the end of next year it is planned to install fixed x-ray units at Narva railway station and Luhamaa and Koidula border crossing points. Two mobile x-ray units will presumably be completed by the second half of 2017 and used at Narva road border crossing point, the ports of Sillamäe and Tallinn and border crossing points between Latvia and Estonia.  

The biggest smuggling case detected with the help of x-ray scanner was in Paldiski in 2015 resulting in a seizure of 7, 7 million illicit cigarettes (1.3 mln euro loss of tax revenues).

ETCB concluded the procurement contract with the European branch of the Chinese company, Nuctech Warsaw Company Limited, based in Poland. The value of the procurement contract is 10.1 mln euros plus VAT of 2 mln euros.

The purchase of the equipment is financed from the European Cohesion Fund in the amount of 2.55 mln euros, and from the state budget in the amount of 9.57 mln euros.  

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