Successful Enhancement of Customs Revenues in El Salvador

Learn how Cotecna helped the Customs of El Salvador grow their customs revenue collection, improve security and efficiency at El Salvador border crossings through the implementation of a multi-border non-intrusive scanning system.

The Challenge

With approximately 50,000 vehicles passing through El Salvador’s borders every month, an integrated monitoring system was an essential priority for the country to improve security, efficiency and safety at El Salvador borders.

El Salvador, like many countries in the region, is not spared from drug or weapons trafficking and smuggling in general and needs to put in place a maximum level of security in order to quickly identify a possible illegal shipment but also to deter traffickers and smugglers with efficient inspection solutions. All of which must not restrict the flow of goods in order to comply with the WTO trade facilitation agreement.

The Solution

Cotecna was awarded a 10-year concession contract with the Ministry of Finance of El Salvador to finance, operate and maintain an integrated multi-border system based on non-intrusive inspection technologies.
Thus, Cotecna:

  • Supplied state-of-the-art non-intrusive technologies of which 8 are high energy X-ray scanners, 5 low energy X-ray scanners, 4 weighbridges, 6 trace detectors and CCTV cameras.
  • Carried out extensive civil engineering and construction works at the inspection sites.
  • Provided the required infrastructure with the aim of implementing a modern scanner technology solution, operating and maintaining it for the entire duration of the contract.

The Results

Cotecna helped improve security, efficiency and safety at El Salvador border crossings, port and airport through the implementation of a country wide scanning scheme, including 100% scanning at the port imports.

The integrated solution not only helped reduce the need for physical inspections but also significantly improved Customs operations and procedures. For instance, X-ray images are sent to Customs’ headquarters in San Bartolo’s Control Centre where they are dispatched among all customs agents which eliminates any risk of collusion and optimizes human resources. The results are then automatically sent back to the inspection site where Customs agents can proceed with appropriate measures.

Cotecna scanner in El Salvador

Additionally, the collaboration between Cotecna and the Salvadorian Customs have also generated many more achievements such as:

  • The inspection time has been significantly reduced at borders and port from up to 1 day to 15 min.
  • Customs clearance time can be reduced from more than 10 days to 1 day at the port after the implementation of 100% scanning scheme on imports.
  • Safer customs, ports and airports.
  • All kinds of fraud have been detected: Narcotics, weapons, migrants, weight, double funds, hidden compartments, contraband, badly declared merchandise.
  • 17% increase in Customs Duties and VAT collection from 2015-2018, compared to just an increase in the number of international trade operations of 2.5%

Overall this project has been recognized as an example by the main commercial partners: USA, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica or Panama. It is also, a project highly recognized by international organizations IDB, IMF, WB.