FBR to consult PNRA for new X-ray based scanners at port

New X-ray based scanners at ports: FBR required to coordinate with PNRA for health, safety of customs men, report reveales.

FBR to consult PNRA for new X-ray based scanners at port

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is required to coordinate with the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) for ensuring the health and safety of customs staff during the installation and operations of new X-ray based vehicle/container scanners at ports.

A FBR report on scanners revealed that as per PNRA Regulation, scanner users will have to obtain two types of licenses from the PNRA, ie, license to acquire X-ray-based scanners and another license to operate the scanners.

Port Qasim Authorities will be required to coordinate with PNRA’s regional office in Karachi to obtain license to acquire scanners. The supplier will install the scanners, perform test runs, ensures quality control and provide certificate of proper operation.

The PNRA will also ensure the quality assurance and quality control aspects of the scanners and provides registration and license to use the scanners.

The PNRA will continue to check the quality controls during operational phase as and when deemed necessary. According to the PNRA, radiation monitoring is required for those facilities and technology that use radioactive materials. X-ray based devices produce x-rays only when energized.

Therefore, X-ray-based scanners will not be monitored by the PNRA on a regular basis. Nevertheless, quality controls will be checked by the PNRA as described.

Pakistan Customs has the experience of using and managing the x-ray based scanners. A few scanners are already in place but require replacement similar to the existing ICT equipment. The required knowledge for scanner licensing, use and maintenance exists. Pakistan Customs also has the necessary knowledge with respect to health and safety from x-ray based scanners. Installation of new scanners will require coordination with the PNRA for licensing and use of scanners along with development of SOPs based on manufacturer’s guidelines/SOPs and PNRA recommendations, it said.

The regulations of PNRA concerning licensing and operation of x-ray-based vehicle/container scanners will apply to the project activity related to provision of x-ray-based scanners.

The report stated that Pakistan Customs is using x-ray-based scanners at seaports as well as one scanner at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. The scanners were installed before 2005. The scanners were imported in accordance with the PNRA regulations. The SOPs/guidelines are available for the safe use of scanners. The existing scanners are used for scanning the contents in the baggage inside containers to identify the restricted items. Necessary infrastructure facilities for scanners such as carriage way, open space and storage are available.

The report said that the sites proposed for the installation of new scanners will be located in highly commercial area of port. Infrastructure for movement of cargo and use of scanners is adequate. Space for new scanners will be allocated during the project implementation. Movement of cargo has been observed to be systematic at the ports.

The FBR will establish an Automated Entry-Exit System for customs through the supply and installation of ICT and cargo scanning equipment for non-intrusive inspection of cargo for imports, transit, and exports at seaports (Karachi East, Karachi West, Port Qasim, and Gwadar). X-ray based vehicle/container scanners using a drive through technology at seaports and stationery at airports will be installed at these identified ports as well as at airports.

This activity will provide ICT and scanning and weighing equipment for non-intrusive inspection of import, export and transit cargo at seaports and three airports with a view to reduce and improve the physical inspections procedures at the ports and implement pre-arrival/pre-clearance procedures. The type of scanners includes portable gantry and truck portal scanners. A remote image analyses center will be established consisting of physical room, equipment, communication software, etc that will serve the function of centralizing radioscopic image analyses with direct links to the central image repository.

The FBR will upgrade the network connectivity of all the FBR offices and custom control posts through the supply and installation of ICT equipment to support real-time data sharing and communications, the report added.

Originally published at the Business Recorder