Region’s first e-gov site live

Delivering on its ‘IT Vision Year 2000’ plan, Dubai Ports and Customs (DPC) launched ‘E-Mirsal’, the first e-government e-commerce solution to go live.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

Delivering on its ‘IT Vision Year 2000’ plan, Dubai Ports and Customs (DPC) launched ‘E-Mirsal’, the first e-government e-commerce solution to go live.

This announcement is the first solution to be delivered following on from the vision and directive given by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defense.

E-Mirsal is the e-commerce version of the ‘Mirsal’ Cargo Community System developed by its Information Technology Center (ITC).

Built on Microsoft Windows NT Server and Microsoft SQL Server platform, E-Mirsal allows agents, shippers, transport companies and other organisations in the cargo business to process their customs clearing documents and payments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using the Internet.

8,000 Transactions Per Day

The Windows DNA application allowed the Mirsal client-server Cargo Community System to processes up to 8,000 transactions per day for Dubai’s air, land and sea customs offices.

“Following the recent call from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence for government departments to use the Internet to deliver more efficient systems, Dubai Ports and Customs is proud to be able to announce the first e-commerce initiative for customs clearing in the Middle East region,” said Dr. Obaid Saqer Busit, chairman of UAE Customs Council and director general of Dubai Customs.

“We believe that E-Mirsal will provide the region with an excellent example of how governments and businesses can work more efficiently together using the latest Internet technologies.

"We expect E-Mirsal to make customs transactions a great deal more efficient for both the Dubai Ports and Customs organisation and its customers, in addition to making our customers’ clearance requests more convenient and trouble free.”

"Exceptional Example"

“Microsoft technology provides the shortest time to complete reliable and yet comprehensive Internet based projects. Microsoft recognised early on that the Mirsal initiative was an exceptional example of how government processes can be improved using technology.

"Mirsal’s suite of applications are all the more impressive due to the fact that DPC’s team has totally owned and driven the Mirsal project,” said Bahram Mohazzebi, general manager of Microsoft Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean (GEM).

“E-Mirsal, takes the proven benefits of the Mirsal cargo community system to a much wider audience and offers access to the system via any Internet-connected PC.

"This shows the power of e-government—offering businesses the opportunity to reap benefits by using Internet-enabled service applications, which in turn bring new efficiencies to the government departments concerned,” Mohazzebi added.

E-Mirsal allows importers to enter the necessary information for customs clearance processing via a secure Web site. The Web site automatically calculates duties and fees, allowing the customer to pay using either a standing order or a credit account.

No More Paperwork

The launch of E-Mirsal allows companies to process almost all of their paperwork online, eliminating the old physical system and providing greater efficiencies and customer service. Some customers will not need to visit customs counters at all by taking their own computer print out to the port to collect their consignment.

The E-Mirsal system will automatically determine whether a counter visit is required for each shipment based on its contents, customer history and any intelligence gathered about the shipment that may make it suspect.

“Mirsal has already streamlined the process of applying for customs clearance for import, export and re-export for many customers of Dubai Ports and Customs,” said Dr. Busit.

“However, the Mirsal client /server solution requires the customer to make a significant IT investment, which may not be within the reach of every customer. E-Mirsal makes this service available to anyone who has access to the Internet.”

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