A peek behind the scenes of customs declarations with Fred
23 August 2016
A customs declaration of a sea or air freight can be complicated. That is why the customs declarant does this for you. Fred is manager of Ritra Cargo’s Customs Department. In this interview, he will give you a peek behind the scenes. What exactly does a customs declarant do for you on a daily basis, and why?
The complexity of the custom clearance certificate
If you are an importer, you want to receive your customs clearance as soon as possible. With this form you can obtain your goods. At first sight this might seem like a simple document, but appearances can be deceiving.
Fred: “Imagine that anywhere in the world, each product needs to be granted a commodity code. To determine this, the material, country of origin, and so on, have to be assigned. The correct classification of a product can only be made if there are enough details at hand. Take for example a simple T-shirt. Depending on the country of origin, import duties can vary from 0% to 12%”.
A customs declaration can’t be made without sufficient details. Without a customs declaration the custom clearance certificate can not be made. In most cases, this problem can be solved by contacting the customer: “To minimize confusion, communication with our customers always goes via the dedicated Customer Service Representative. The customer’s response will help us to finalize the customs clearance”.
A customs declarant needs to have a wide range of knowledge. For example, he or she has to know about legislation extending to new products of all shapes and sizes and the many changes in the rules of the European Union: “It makes my job interesting and challenging. Our goal is to make as many correct declarations as possible”.
Fred: “In my opinion, a major contribution to the quality of our advice is delivered by participating in groups. That is why I participate in the customs steering committee of the FENEX and some of their study groups as well. Next to that, I regularly visit conferences and information sessions that are held by the Dutch Customs. In those meetings they discuss the new legislation for example, because often there is more than one interpretation possible. The fact that the Dutch customs participate so much in the industry is truly unique. This is also very important to the position of Dutch logistics internationally”
After many years of discussion, the new EU legislation was adopted this year. It went into effect on May 1st, 2016. Many conferences regarding this subject have been organized for stakeholders: “One of our customers asked whether I was interested in joining him for a conference organized by his platform. I immediately said yes. This enabled me to explain the impact of the new regulation on his business and provide him with more specific advice. It was a useful and a fun experience for the both of us”.
A correct customs declaration prevents problems
Why exactly is a correct customs declaration important? Fines may be imposed, when customs find a commodity code that does not match the product. The same goes for customs values that are not calculated correctly. This measure can be taken even after five years: “That is why we keep an eye on any changes in the classification of goods. These change quite often. The way to calculate the customs value has been adjusted with the new EU legislation as well”.
The Declarations Department at Ritra Cargo
Ritra Cargo has an in-house team of customs declarants. Knowledge about customers and products travels fast and the turnaround time for custom clearances is short. Ritra Cargo is AEO certified. In order to maintain this certificate and ensure quality, processes and procedures are continually adjusted whenever necessary.
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