Owing to its geographical position, the UAE represents a connection between the East and the West. Research conducted by Danish archaeological mission proved that Island of Umm Al Nar adjacent to Abu Dhabi was a prosperous seaport about five thousand years ago and had been a center of active trade with the Indian subcontinent. Given these advantages, the wise leadership was very insightful when deciding to create and develop customs departments.
Abu Dhabi Customs is among the first government departments in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Peace be upon his soul) issued an Emiri Decree in 1966 to establish number of governmental departments, installing Al Nahyan Sheikhs and experts as chairmen to share responsibility of the country and citizens. These departments included the departments of finance, customs and ports. The late Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan chaired the customs department and the ports department with staff of only three employees. The port was only barrels filled with cement with no docks. Ships had to anchor away from the land and workers were wading in the water to move the goods. In September 1968 scope of work was widened and the number of staff was increased to fifteen employees.
Recently, the General Administration of Customs has continued to achieve its goals and has recorded very solid figures of revenues that add to the income of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The number of employees is now above 1500 employees.
The General Administration of Customs aims to implement the customs policy prescribed by the relevant authorities, supervise goods entry and exit and collect customs duties assessed on goods in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi General Administration of Customs uses the latest detection and computer systems for the development of work and facilitation of customs inspections while completing transactions quickly and accurately. The customs centers use a variety of systems for inspection of trucks and tourist buses and vans, luggage and individuals including fixed and portable X-ray operated truck inspection devices, fixed scanners for tourist buses and vans, and scanning vehicles used for trucks and personal luggage as well as airport and post office scanners.
The General Administration of Customs has achieved a milestone by the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Customs Institute. Abu Dhabi Customs and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement signed an MoU that aims at providing technical assistance and advice to establish and develop Abu Dhabi Customs Academy in Abu Dhabi.
Another MoU was signed between the General Administration of Customs and Higher Colleges of Technology- Abu Dhabi. The agreement aimed to develop the customs staff and enrich them with knowledge and skills required to improve customs work and provide them with Academic Certificates.
Hosting of the Regional Office of Capacity Building is also one of the most important achievements of Abu Dhabi Customs. The office was activated directly after signing an MoU in this regard by the World Customs Organization, the UAE Federal Customs Authority, and Abu Dhabi General Administration of Customs.
The Abu Dhabi General Administration of Customs continues to walk steadily towards achieving its vision of homeland security and prosperous economy. It also seeks to strengthen cooperation with customs administrations in various parts of the world through the incorporation of modern technology to keep pace with modern innovations and developments. Its achievements were a harvest added to its prestigious status among its peers.