Customs: accelerator of your supply chain

06 November 2017

What if the customs were no longer a constraint but an accelerator of your supply chain?

Find out how GEFCO supports international companies in the management and optimization of customs.

Ives TaelmanCorporate Customs & Tax director at GEFCO gives us a brief look at the current customs environment in the European Union and the solutions to make customs expertise the oil in the engine of international logistics and a real opportunity to create value.  


1. When we look at customs today, compared to the environment dating back to the 80’s and 90’s what are the main differences?  

The main differences are definitively to be found in 3 areas: the focus on trade facilitation, the focus on modernization, not in the least around electronic interchange and last but not least: the unconditional focus on security

2. What governs the customs processes and largely international trade in the EU today? When will full electronic processes replace paper procedures? 

Since May 2016, customs processes in EU are governed by the UCC (Union customs Code). We are currently still in a transitional period where member states who are ready, use electronic interchange while others still apply paper procedures. This period is to end on 31 December 2025. By that date all economic operators and customs administrations must be on full electronic operating modus. In GEFCO we are ready to support and advise our customer to deal with digitalization of customs processes across the board. 

3. In an increasingly complex international supply chain environment, how do we make customs expertise the oil in the engine of international logistics and a real opportunity to create value​?

The overall international business environment has become more and more complex. This trend is sustainable. The supply chain landscape is evolving and it is increasingly tough to maintain oversight, exert control, and ensure that customers get the best experience.

In a PWC survey of 209 global companies, 95% agreed that discrepancies between supply chain entities have increased in the past three years; 94% felt that changes in the extended supply chain network configuration occur more frequently, and 74% agreed that the number of entities in the supply chain has increased.

Effective customs management can elevate business to the next level while at the same time providing a competitive edge and ensuring supply continuity all along the supply chain. That’s why we initiate for our customers a dedicated Customs Control Tower solution. This allows for a  single point of contact, centralizing and improving their international trade and customs activities.

4. What are the main pillars of a customs control tower? ​

Mainly the expertise of our 200 in-house customs experts, build up during long years in international industries, a cloud based platform dedicated to customs management and connected with supply chain mechanisms and advanced analytical tools.  

5. What are the main services we provide through a Customs Control Tower? ​

Within our customs control tower solution, we aim at synchronizing all customs operations (amongst others: order management, tracking, legal compliance checks, clearance performance) in synchronization with our network agencies which manage the flows & local customs operations on a daily basis. We also monitor the overall performance (daily and monthly) and centralize invoicing. The main objective is obviously compliance but also ensuring supply chain continuity and predictability to increase end-customer service quality and last but not least cost optimization.