Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA)
Development of a comprehensive Transit & eTIR Management System Implementation roadmap for Pakistan Single Window Company
Posted date 5th June, 2023 Last date to apply 4th July, 2023
Category Consultancy
Status Closed

Republishing of RFP with extension in following deadlines.

Deadline for Questions and Answers (Q&A): June 26th, 2023

Deadline for Submission of Proposals: July 04th, 2023

Development of a comprehensive Transit & eTIR Management System Implementation roadmap for Pakistan Single Window Company

1.1.1            Background

The Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA) works to increase Pakistan’s access to regional and international markets and is a key economic growth project that stands to benefit numerous Pakistani businesses. This project has two components: Component 1 aims to improve Pakistan’s business enabling environment so that policies, laws, and regulations are adaptable and more reflective of on-the-ground needs; and Component 2 is geared towards improving Pakistan’s capacity to access regional markets by identifying bottlenecks and practical solutions for increasing export efficiency and lowering trade costs.

To help Pakistan achieve improved capacity to access regional markets, Component 2 addresses constraints at Pakistan’s borders that adversely affect trade and transit traffic with neighboring countries. PREIA’s technical assistance under this component is two-pronged: 1) improving customs facilitation; and 2) promoting regional integration. Towards that end, PREIA engages with key Government of Pakistan stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Commerce, the Federal Board of Revenue, and the Pakistan Single Window Company (PSWC).

In a further bid to enhance regional bilateral and transit trade through its territory, Pakistan acceded to the United Nation’s "Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR)" Convention on 24th July 2015 and notified the rules for operationalizing it on October 20, 2017. Pakistan was subsequently declared as a TIR operational country’ by the International Road Union (IRU) on April 19, 2018. The TIR Convention is a multilateral agreement signed in 1975 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and is widely used for international transit of goods in Europe, Middle East, and Asia. The TIR System aims at reducing the time and cost of international trade by simplifying, harmonizing, and standardizing the administrative and customs procedures for the international movement of goods.

In this context, PREIA is committed to developing and augmenting Pakistan’s capacity to handle transit flows under the TIR convention as a fundamental pre-requisite to enhancing regional integration.

The Pakistan Single Window Company:

The Pakistan Single Window initiative led by Pakistan Customs aims at reducing the time and cost of doing business by digitalizing Pakistan’s cross border trade and eliminating paper based manual processes. The PSWC, a public sector company incorporated under Section 42 of the companies Act, 2017 by Pakistan Customs has been notified as the ‘Operating Entity’ of the PSW system by the Federal Government under the provisions of the PSW Act, 2021. PSW aims to provide an integrated electronic platform that allows parties involved in international trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit regulatory requirements that are administered by various government departments and regulators involved in international trade.

The PSW system began rolling out in July 2021. Phase 1 of the system was completed in June 2022 in line with Pakistan’s commitment under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Currently more than 57,000 users are registered with PSW using it to register online with Customs, file declarations for customs processing, and apply for licenses, permits, certificates and other documents to other government agencies (OGAs) connected with PSW system. In one of most challenging activities, PSW has also achieved complete integration of 29 Authorized Dealers/Commercial Banks with the PSW system for exchange of cross border trade related financial information and eliminating the need for Electronic Import Forms (EIFs) and Electronic Forms for Export (EFEs) previously required to be issued by Authorized Dealers on every import/export shipment. All payments for Customs and government departments are being collected through e-payments offered by PSW.

The establishment of PSWC arises from Pakistan’s commitments under the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which contains provisions for addressing border inefficiencies, complex customs rules, and other trade barriers by removing red tape, increasing transparency and access to information, enhancing predictability in trade operations and processes, and taking advantage of new technologies and automation. Recently, management and administration of the propriety customs cargo processing system - WeBOC (Web based one customs) – has been transferred from Pakistan Customs to PSW.

1.1.2           Objectives and Scope

Since taking over the WeBOC system, PSW has been actively pursuing the implementation of eTIR in collaboration with IRU. However, the organization is of the view that the overall ecosystem, which encompasses transit and TIR both, will benefit if a review and reengineering of all transit processes including those pertaining to intermodal eTIR, the ATTA and the Uzbek transit agreement is carried out and a dedicated standalone transit and eTIR system is developed. This is all the more important considering that the current sub-optimal state of transit and TIR systems, regulations, and processes is one of the factors inhibiting the Government of Pakistan’s vision of transforming Pakistan into a regional transit and transshipment[1] hub and consequently preventing economic growth, integration with global value chains, and trade expansion.

Cognizant of this situation, PSW has requested USAID PREIA to engage a consulting firm with international transit expertise onboard to help develop a transit and e-TIR blueprint that provides a comprehensive roadmap for implementation of a full-scale transit and TIR system for PSW. The roadmap will provide references to various architectures and technology, funding options, implementation framework, operating business models, resources required and timeline for the various essential activities. This consultancy will be provided in a way to incorporate international best practices and technical frameworks, such as those for eTIR specified by the IRU.

The objective of this consultancy to procure the services of a firm having intensive experience and knowledge of design and implementation of transit trade management systems, TIR systems, and customs operations. The service provider will assist PREIA in facilitating at a strategic and design level to proceed with the design of a comprehensive transit and TIR system.

The specific objectives of the proposed activity are as follows:

  1. Conduct a situation analysis to document the current state of in-play transit and TIR regimes. The situation analysis should look at the current technical, procedural, legal, IT, and regulatory frameworks, along with fee models, governance framework, and infrastructural capacities. The situation analysis should also look at the capacities of other government departments / regulatory bodies involved in the transit and TIR ecosystem on the aforesaid parameters.
  2. Gap analysis - conduct consultations with all key stakeholders involved in the transit and TIR ecosystem to identify variances and gaps against international best practices and recommendations for transit trade, transshipment, and TIR management (consider technical frameworks provided under the TIR convention, the TIR Handbook, international best practices, and use cases/scenarios implemented by transit hubs, such as the United Arab Emirates and TIR trailblazers, such as Turkey and Iran). The gap analysis will provide a comprehensive overview of use cases Pakistan currently does not enable in transit and TIR flows and reasons why transshipment is inhibited, along with the applicable regulatory or process changes needed to enable them. Develop stakeholder mapping/matrix using the appropriate tools.
  3. Based on the outcome of the situation analysis and gap analysis, develop a comprehensive design for international transit system covering all modes of transportation (rail, road, air, and intermodal) and all components of the transit system (trader/carrier registration, information and documentary requirements, payments and guarantee management, monitoring and tracking, cross border processes etc. The design should include detailed ‘As-Is’ and ‘To-be’ process flows for each component.

The technical design proposed by the consultants will form the basis for subsequent software development hence it should be closely aligned to recommended best practices on cross border transit and conform as closely as possible to the PSW architecture. The TIR process will form part of the overall transit system design.

1.1.3           Tasks (Performance Requirements) / Expected Outcome:

Development of a situational analysis report including legal gap analysis, and technical design to the satisfaction of USAID PREIA and PSW.

In line with the specified objectives and scope described above, the consulting firm would be required to perform the following specific tasks:

  1. Submit Inception Report that will serve to provide the methodology, approach, and project plan for the entire activity. The report is expected to include background, methodology, work schedule, and risk mitigation measures.
  2. Conduct consultations with PSW, Pakistan Customs, Ministry of Commerce, and Business Application Users (Traders, regulators, PNC-ICC, TIR Licensees, Bonded Carriers, Terminal Operators, Shipping Lines, etc.) to identify requirements and operational challenges. The purpose of these consultations is to obtain firsthand information from the stakeholders regarding the current transit trade operations and to identify the key requirements and operational challenges that need to be addressed in the development of proposed comprehensive transit trade and TIR management system.
  3. Complete Situational Analysis report covering the following: -
    1. An analysis of the “as is” transit and TIR related operations of the PSW / Pakistan Customs at various points (border posts, seaports, airports, in-land cargo processing, etc.) in terms of processes, requirements, infrastructure, and resources.
    2. A catalogue of all data elements and information collected from the various Stakeholders at different stages of the transit chain.
    3. An inventory of all ICT facilities and assets (computer equipment, networks, data centers, application systems, system software, etc.) available with all Stakeholders.
  4. Complete Gap Analysis.
    1. Conduct consultations with all key stakeholders involved in the transit and TIR ecosystem to identify variances and gaps against international best practices and recommendations for transit trade, transshipment, and TIR management (consider technical frameworks provided under the TIR convention, the TIR Handbook, international best practices, and use cases/scenarios implemented by transit hubs, such as the United Arab Emirates and TIR trailblazers, such as Turkey and Iran).
    2. The gap analysis will provide a comprehensive overview of use cases Pakistan currently does not enable in transit and TIR flows and reasons why transshipment is inhibited, along with the applicable regulatory or process changes needed to enable them.
    3. Develop stakeholder mapping/matrix using the appropriate tools
  5. Develop detailed Business, Technical & Functional Design Specifications/Documentation including requirements, architecture, and design for a unified international transit and eTIR system covering sea, air, and land routes and intermodal scenarios, capable of scaling as Pakistan inks transit agreements in the future. Develop detailed BRS and SRS based on the situation analysis, gap analysis, and the stakeholder discussions. The technical documentation should be at a granularity detailed enough to allow PSW to subsequently develop the system (development is not a party of this RFP). In addition to the requirements specified in the Objectives and Scope section, the design should cover the following: -
    1. ’As-Is’ and ‘To-be’ Business processes for all components.
    2. Role of different stakeholders in the transit chain as it relates to achieving the objectives of the proposed transit system.
    3. Recommendations on the legal framework for the transit system based on analysis and international best practices.
    4. Governance and business models including a financial model that would be recommended to be adopted for implementation and operations of the transit system.
    5. Estimate of costs for the development and procurement of the facilities and services required to implement them.
    6. Provide suitable options for integrating the transit trade management system with other relevant systems and platforms, such as core PSW systems, TIR, and port community system, etc.
    7. Suggest a suitable platform/mechanism for monitoring, reporting, and addressing transit trade-related issues and concerns.
    8. At a bare minimum, the design of the system (SRS/BRS/Functional Specifications) should align with the UNECE’s eTIR functional and technical specifications and reference model; carnet life cycle use cases; carnet and transit scenarios detailed in the UNECE’s TIR Handbook; and modern practices related to international transit and TIR.

Validate all reports, plans, and designs with PREIA, Pakistan Single Window, Pakistan Customs, and other stakeholders involved in the transit and TIR ecosystem in Pakistan. Revise and finalize all deliverables in light of the validation exercise. Provide a Power Point Presentation on the exercise for future stakeholder/change management/dissemination workshops/round tables.

1.1.4           Required Deliverables

The deliverables resulting from the consultancy are listed below:

  1. Completed ‘Inception Report’ that includes include project scope, team structure, roles and responsibilities, work plan, project execution/ implementation methodology, risks and mitigation actions.
  2. Completed ‘Situational Analysis’ report that documents in detail the status of PSW’s existing transit trade operations and identifies areas that require improvement.
  3. Completed ‘Gap Analysis’ report as described in the Objectives and Scope and Performance Requirements above.
  4. Completed ‘Business, Technical & Functional Design Specifications’ document for the processes and modules as per the scope.

1.1.5           Qualification and Experience

Eligible entity should have the following qualifications and experience:

·       Experience working with complex, multi-system environments including data extraction and interfaces, system and process architecture, troubleshooting, reengineering and process mapping.

·       Experience of operations of trade related ICT systems, trade environment and practices.

·       Demonstrated experience of writing requirement/specifications of technology related products.

·       Firms having knowledge / experience of business processes of supply chain, freight forwarding, imports, exports, transit, TIR, and customs clearance will be given preference.

·       Team Leaders proposed by the firm must have a minimum of 10 years’ relevant prior experience and should possess basic knowledge of project management, product design trends and good practices.

·       The proposed team must include at least one international transit and TIR expert with experience of TIR/transit operations in other countries.

·       Proposed individuals of the firm must be familiar with Software Development Life Cycle (SLDC) methodologies.

·       Proposed individuals must have working knowledge of business process mapping tools such as Visio and Microsoft Office applications.

·      Proposed individuals must have bachelor’s degree from a recognized university preferably in Computer Science, Information Technology, Systems Engineering, or other related fields.International experience of successfully delivering projects of a similar nature.

1.1.6           Base of Operations: 

Islamabad, Pakistan (flexible). USAID PREIA will cover all travel related expenses.

1.1.7           Reporting:

Component 2 Lead of USAID PREIA.

[1] Transshipment: The term in this context, specifically means, the shipment of goods/containers arriving from one country to an intermediate destination (in this case Pakistan), for possible storage or cross-loading into a different container/ship, before shipment to a final destination.

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Email address for submission of Proposals:         [email protected]