Source: “Trading across borders”, Doing Business database. In days.
Transactional delays are still significant in international trade, but there is a variation in their efficiency. They can be measured in terms of the average number of days it takes from a contractual agreement between the exporter and the importer until the goods are shipped or received, excluding maritime transport. Customs clearance time is particularly relevant since it includes the time taken to unload shipments, transport and carry them to bonded areas, make import declarations, and have the declarations accepted by the authorities, which implies that the shipment is then cleared to be delivered to its consignee.
Although trading times have decreased across the board, substantial regional variations exist. Time to import is always longer than for exports, particularly since customs tend to pay more attention to imports because of concerns related to duties, security, health, and illicit trade. It is rather fast for locations that are import-dependent or gateways such as the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, or Singapore. For entities mired in bureaucratic processes, such as Russia, India, and Brazil, it can be substantially longer. The measures that have been the most effective at improving trading time include electronic data interchange, risk-based inspections (using physical inspections in proportion to the potential risk of consignments), and providing a single window for traders to provide custom-based information.