Gaining a unique insight into the customs authorities' operations
DSV Belgium completed a successful information exchange project with the local customs authorities.
DSV was selected among 50 Belgian companies and invited to participate in an unusual and prestigious project together with the local customs authorities.
The project is aimed at strengthening the Belgian customs authorities' cooperation with the industry through a better understanding of the companies' daily operations and vice versa.
Just before year-end 2017, DSV and the Belgian customs authorities entered into a contract for mutual internships at each other's organisations. DSV customs officers switched places with Belgian customs officials to explore where we could learn from each other. Confidential information was exchanged and it goes without saying that the integrity all of the involved parties including our customers was protected.
The pilot part of the project comprised only Authorised Economic Operators, usually referred to as AEO certified companies, as these have already been screened thoroughly and are acknowledged as reliable customs partners. DSV is AEO certified, in Belgium as well as a whole range of other countries (see list).
What did we learn ?
Together with three colleagues Yannick Morisse, Customs Manager at DSV Solutions in Ghent spent time at the local customs authorities' office and he has the following comments about the experience:
"Almost immediately you realise how little you actually know about each other's work routines and processes. We wanted an insight in the way customs work but, simultaneously, we also wanted to provide customs with information about our own processes and the challenges we face on a daily basis."
Yannick is head of a total of five customs departments in four different locations and he continues: "Together with customs, we looked at a number of challenges on both sides and our aim was to see if we could find solutions to some of the problems - and we were successful. The entire experience was most rewarding."
We reached our goal : improved mutual understanding
"Usually we only see the administrative side of things and only part of the entire picture and as a result you do not always understand the implications a decision or a delayed reply has on the companies' side of the table," says Sarah Van Cotthem, Financial Expert at FPR Finance, Customs and Excise (FPR = Federal Public Service) and continues: "Now I have a much better insight and understanding of not only our own processes, but also the corresponding processes and challenges at the companies."
AEO = Authorised Economic Operator
The AEO concept is based on the customs-to-business partnership introduced by the World Customs Organisation (WCO). Traders who voluntarily meet a wide range of criteria work in close cooperation with customs authorities to assure the common objective of supply chain security and are entitled to enjoy benefits of being an AEO.
WCO = World Customs Organisation
The World Customs Organisation (WCO), is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations. The WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that process approximately 98% of world trade.