New rules for cross-border goods delivery

Azlan Othman

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah yesterday announced that updates have been made to the guidelines for cross-border travel for transport operators and runners.

“With the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), with cooperation from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications, the guidelines have been updated for business and transport companies using commercial vehicles registered in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, or transport operators who intend to make border crossings through land control posts,” he said at a press conference on the latest developments of the COVID-19 situation.

“This includes introducing new guidelines for companies or individuals providing delivery or freight services, commonly referred to as runners during the COVID-19 outbreak, for the purpose of picking up and delivering goods for personal or commercial use.”

“The updated guidelines are intended to not impede the movement of goods, in order to ensure economic activity and the functioning of the supply chain in Brunei Darussalam during the enforced border crossing restrictions for the COVID-19 situation. It is a government effort to mitigate the negative effects on the source of revenue for business runners.

The preparation of these guidelines is also meant to ensure that the government’s efforts in addressing COVID-19 are not compromised.”

The guidelines will require transport operators and runners to obtain travel authorisation in advance, by completing an application form on the Prime Minister’s Office website at www.pmo.gov.bn.

Transport operators will only be required to complete the Job Order Sheet for each authorised trip. Transport companies are allowed to transport goods on a point-to-point basis. Travel from the assigned destination to the delivery point must be made without any transits or stops, and they are required to return to the country of origin on the same day to reduce the risk of close contact, especially during overseas travel.

‘iMSafe’ tracking bracelets will be provided to transport operators at land control posts, to keep track of their compliance with the point-to-point travel requirements, while also ensuring that the operators complete the trips and return to their country of origin on the same day.

“For transport companies registered in Brunei Darussalam, there is a time limit between each journey out of the country and the return trip to Brunei Darussalam,” said Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew.

He cited a time limit of five hours each for the Sungai Tujoh and Labu checkpoints, and three hours each for the Ujong Jalan and Kuala Lurah checkpoints.

“For registered transport operators in Malaysia who have been authorised to enter Brunei Darussalam with the intention of bringing in perishable goods that require a permit from Brunei Darussalam’s Government agencies, they should be accompanied by the relevant government agencies throughout the journey from the control post to the delivery point in Brunei Darussalam, and also while making the return journey,” said the minister.

“Meanwhile, transport operators registered in Malaysia with commodities that do not require permits from government agencies or are non-perishable, will only be allowed to deliver or retrieve goods at approved loading places at the Inland Container Depot near Sungai Tujoh Immigration Control Post in Kuala Belait and the Kuala Lurah Immigration Control Post.

“To further streamline the process of checkpoint clearance for transport companies, the Prime Minister’s Office has provided a workflow document for cross-border transport operators as a guide on the relevant procedures and conditions during border crossings.

“Operation Protocol Documents are also provided, which are intended to provide guidance to transport companies regarding their operating protocol during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to provide guidance for those who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with those infected with COVID-19 while during or after carrying out their transportation and delivery duties.

“For runners that normally do not have registered commercial vehicles, the Prime Minister’s Office permits only those registered as companies to pick up and deliver at a specific location at the border crossing – or a checkpoint exchange – provided that they return to Brunei Darussalam, as soon as the retrieval or delivery of goods is completed.

“This is a more practical option, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Transport operators and runners are required to update the health status on their own assessment application at healthinfo.gov.bn, for 14 days after their journey.

“All goods brought in by transport operators and runners must be stored or quarantined for 72 hours, or three days, at their company premises before they are shipped to customers.”
The stated guidelines and conditions will come into effect today. For information, visit the PMO’s website at www.pmo.gov.bn, or contact the hotline at 120.