The Chattogram Custom House on Sunday started a token system to curb the spread of novel coronavirus by ensuring social distancing.
Following the new token system, clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents will not need to gather in front of custom house officials during assessment of bill of entry for shipment.
All documents related to shipment will be assessed maintaining a serial and given back to C&F agents as per the new token system.
Customs authorities said that the token system has been introduced to maintain social distancing on the premises as 25 customs officials had already tested positive and a revenue officer had died.
Custom house's Audit Investigation and Research Unit Assistant Commissioner Hasna Sanjida Onsuya told The Business Standard that C&F agents will submit their documents and wait outside in the new system.
"There will be a token above the bill of entry with the bill of entry number, date, C&F agent's name and phone number written on it. The documents will be received with the token serial number in a specific counter," she added.
C&F agent officials will not have to stay there anymore after submitting the documents. The customs authorities will deliver the documents after assessing them following a serial.
The customs authorities will call C&F representatives at the phone numbers provided with the documents if any further information or document is needed.
Hasna Sanjida further said that the usual gathering of C&F agents in front of customs officials can be avoided following the new system.
Chattogram C&F Agent Association's First Deputy General Secretary Kazi Mahmud Imam Bilu said, "There are always huge gatherings in front of customs officials' desks while they assess shipment documents. As it increases the risk of virus spread, the authorities have decided to introduce the token system."
"This new system was implemented today (Sunday). We think that it will reduce the risk of virus spread in the custom house," he added.