Facilitating free trade

A new Control Tower for customs services and a growing network of local DHL Freight customs offices make cross-border trade easier than ever.

For retail businesses, the world is getting smaller every day. Nevertheless, it is easy to lose your bearings in the labyrinth of international customs regulations and compliance guidelines. This applies in particular to companies with supply chains that extend across various customs regions.

For these companies, border clearance across several customs jurisdictions is one of the challenges they face. In view of the multitude of different laws, guidelines and procedures, they run the permanent risk of having to bear additional costs through customs confiscations.

The international trade and legal compliance environment is constantly changing, posing major challenges for global supply chains.

John Peeters, Managing Director at Gerlach Benelux & UK, strengthens international customers in terms of legal certainty.

“The environment for international trade and legal compliance is constantly changing, creating major challenges for global supply chains,” explains John Peeters, Managing Director at Gerlach Benelux & UK. “The Gerlach Control Tower provides a solution for customs that reduces complexity while providing data and cost transparency. At the same time, our customers can rely on compliance with legal requirements.”

Risk factors for international supply chains

  • The increasing importance of securing end-to-end supply chains.
  • Uncertainty about import taxes, VAT and customs duties.
  • Costs of integrating partners into IT solutions along the supply chain.
  • The need to monitor transport brokers.
  • Gaps in regulatory compliance arising from different customs clearance procedures and processes.
  • Increased risk of penalties for non-compliance.
  • The need to comply with complex reporting obligations.
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Together, DHL Freight Customs Services and Gerlach Zolldienste, a wholly owned subsidiary of DHL Freight, are the leading customs service providers in the pan-European region. They offer all types of services, including the latest IT solutions for customs clearance. DHL Freight Customs Services is present in 27 European countries. With international partners in more than 200 countries worldwide, this division provides access to approximately 750 customs experts and consultants.

We are the largest provider of customs services in Europe. To maintain this position, we plan to further expand our network and open up new regions.

Thomas Vogel, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at DHL Freight, is driving the expansion of customs services.

New: the Customs Control Tower

DHL Freight’s answer to these challenges is the new Customs Control Tower. The Control Tower takes over the work of several customs brokers in one place, offers maximum transparency and guarantees compliance with all international customs regulations. The core elements of the Control Tower include centralized key account management, communication via a central contact point, data validation and centralized billing and reporting.

Customers benefit from the bundling of competencies

For customers, this bundling of customs clearance and conformity control offers numerous advantages. Strategically, these include:

  • lower costs for customs clearance
  • support for air, sea, land and rail freight
  • process harmonization and
  • more compliance and cost savings in the future due to continuous improvements.

There are also a number of operational advantages:

  • faster, more consistent handling
  • expert support as well as
  • centralized reporting, archiving and accounting.

The Control Tower recently began working with a major international pharmaceutical company. DHL Freight processes freight volumes in six European countries from a central location via its customized customs solution. In addition, the division handles special services such as the review of country-specific drug approvals and documentation for humans and animals as well as the pre-audit of whether such approvals are required prior to shipment.

Flexible services through a single point of contact

Elsewhere, the Control Tower provides support for a project of a leading European conglomerate. The contract, which includes suppliers from all over Europe, dispenses with standard handling lanes and special handling points. Instead, it offers a flexible approach to handling services. This includes:

  • import and export
  • T1 documentation
  • implementation management and
  • conformity checks via a contact point.

New locations create optimal customer proximity

In addition to the Control Tower for customs services, DHL Freight Customs Services is expanding its geographic footprint within the EU and expanding its service offering to stay even closer to its customers.

Most recently, DHL Freight expanded its customs services to the port city of Algeciras in Spain. The new location is ideally located for RoRo ferry transport and employs a five-man team that provides customs services of all kinds daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The new location is also the ideal base for the company’s RoRo ferry service.

Like other branches within the DHL Freight Customs Services network, Algeciras is certified as an “Authorized Economic Operator” (AEO) by Customs and offers customers the benefit of limited inspection and warranty requirements. National Central Customs Clearance (DCN) procedures for shipments within the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands are handled from the Barcelona location. DHL Freight also provides customs services in Algeciras:

  • import, export and transit clearance
  • tax representation
  • temporary storage
  • Intrastat
  • excise duty and
  • import duties.

The competences include:

  • consulting
  • training in international trade and customs
  • HS code classification
  • posting
  • customs certificates and
  • monthly reports.

DHL Freight expands customs services in Europe

In addition to its long-established customs broker in Dover, DHL Freight Customs Services recently opened a new location in the English city of Southampton. New locations were also opened in Trieste, Italy and Bobrowniki, Poland. “We are the largest provider of customs services in Europe,” says Dr. Thomas Vogel, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at DHL Freight. “To maintain this position, we plan to further expand our network and open up new regions. This will enable us to best meet the needs of our customers.”


Further information

Author: Paul Embleton

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