From our editorial office we have a daily view of the vibrant activities around Eindhoven Airport. This unique position allows us to take a fascinating look at the world of airport logistics, customs activities and the transport companies that serve the region. With the hustle and bustle of planes coming and going, the meticulous work of customs agents, and the constant flow of transport companies, Eindhoven Airport is a crucial hub in the chain of international trade and logistics.
Eindhoven Airport serves as an important link in both European and global trade. The airport facilitates a significant volume of freight traffic, ranging from high-tech products to everyday consumer goods. Various forwarding companies operate around Eindhoven Airport that are essential for the transport and logistics of imported and exported goods. Their role in coordinating logistics processes, from storage to transport, is indispensable.
Brexit, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, has had a significant impact on the mobility and import and export of goods between the EU and the UK. After Brexit, new trade barriers have been raised. This not only concerns tariffs, but also non-tariff barriers such as additional controls, paperwork and standards. These changes have a direct impact on the mobility of goods. Trucks and transport equipment experience delays at borders due to additional customs checks and documentation requirements.
Freight forwarding companies and customs agents both play an important role in international trade, but they often perform different functions. Importers and exporters now have to comply with more complex customs procedures. This includes the need for accurate customs documentation, such as export declarations, import permits and certificates of origin. For companies not used to these procedures, this can lead to significant delays and increased costs.
A forwarding company, also called a forwarder (expeditio), is a company that organizes the transport of goods for clients in its own name and on a commercial basis, without carrying out this transport itself. Dutch freight forwarding companies play a crucial role, especially when it comes to creating the necessary customs documents. In particular, their role in guiding companies through complex customs processes, ensuring trade continuity, and supporting adjustments to the new trade reality are core tasks of these companies.
A customs agent, also called a customs broker, plays a crucial role in the international trade process, especially in situations such as the post-Brexit trade context. A customs agent is responsible for preparing and submitting the required customs documents on behalf of the importer or exporter. This includes completing declarations, certificates of origin and other relevant documents. They ensure that all paperwork complies with national and international customs regulations and legislation.
Customs agents calculate the import duties and taxes due based on the value, origin and classification of the goods. They help facilitate the payment of these charges to customs authorities. They help communicate information and resolve any questions or issues that may arise and in some cases represent the company during customs inspections and audits. They provide their clients with advice on changes in customs legislation and trade agreements that may impact import and export processes and assist companies with strategic planning around import and export activities to ensure compliance and minimize costs.
Customs agents assist in resolving issues such as customs delays, missing or incorrect documentation, and misunderstandings about classifications or tariffs. They help manage risks associated with cross-border trade, including regulatory compliance and potential fines. In some cases, customs agents also coordinate the transportation of goods, including arranging transportation and storage. Their expertise and services ensure smooth and compliant handling of import and export activities, which is especially important in complex trade scenarios such as those post-Brexit.
The port of Rotterdam, known as one of the largest and most efficient ports in the world, plays a key role in European and global trade, with a particular emphasis on the transhipment of fruit and vegetables. Together with nearby Westland, known for its extensive greenhouses and agricultural innovation, this region forms a unique and vital combination in the global fruit industry. The Westland, often referred to as the 'Glass City', is an epicenter of horticulture and agricultural innovation. The proximity of the port of Rotterdam to the Westland creates unique synergies. The port facilitates the rapid distribution of products grown in the Westland to international markets, while it also serves as an import point for the supply of foreign products. And that requires a professional approach.
"One stop shop"
With a vision of providing specialized customs services, Bongers Expeditie BV was founded more than two decades ago. The collaboration between Bongers Expedition and AEB demonstrates how Dutch customs brokers have been able to successfully adapt to changing trading conditions. The story shows how innovation, flexibility and collaboration are essential for growth in the dynamic world of international trade and customs services.
The impact of Brexit can be viewed from different perspectives, including economic, political, social and cultural. Companies could also benefit from growth due to Brexit but had to adapt to the new reality. This has also brought new opportunities, but each opportunity came with its own challenges. For example, Bongers Expeditie, a leading Dutch customs broker, underwent a significant transformation at the time. This change was driven by the need to prepare for the new reality of post-Brexit trading.
The entire process is now handled within the company by one system. It took some time before all the necessary parts of a complex customs process came together. As an expert in customs clearance of perishable goods such as plants, flowers, vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy and general products, it was crucial that Bongers could continue to operate efficiently and quickly. The collaboration with General Conditions of Purchase has enabled Bongers to act as a broker and client and to offer customs services in multiple countries. Thanks to the AEO Customs status (Authorized Economic Operator), combined with a team of skilled and helpful colleagues, they can relieve any company by processing and entering the necessary export and customs documents and customs clearance.
Exporting goods involves a lot for entrepreneurs. For example, the United Kingdom recently announced that as of January 31, 2024, products within the so-called 'medium risk group' will be subject to a mandatory phytocertificate. This decision is in line with existing regulations for the 'high risk group', for which a phytocertificate is already a requirement. The specific products that fall under the 'medium risk group' have not yet been disclosed, leading to questions and uncertainties within the sectors involved. Clarification has been requested from various quarters in the UK regarding this category.
This new regulations has significant implications for trade and exports to and from the United Kingdom. With the extension of the phytocertificate obligation to a broader group of products, an increase in the number of required inspections is inevitable. This puts extra pressure on the inspection services. To cope with the expected increase in inspections and ensure efficiency in the process, the United Kingdom has created the Business Control System. This system enables recognized companies to carry out the required phytosanitary checks themselves. This approach reduces the burden on official inspection services and at the same time promotes self-regulation within the sector. It is important that the employees of these recognized companies are specifically trained as authorized phytosanitary employees, to guarantee the integrity and accuracy of the controls.
De Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status is an internationally recognized quality mark that indicates that a company's role in the international supply chain is secure and that their customs procedures are efficient and compliant with customs legislation. This status is issued by customs authorities in the European Union and is also recognized in countries outside the EU. The AEO certificate can be obtained by a variety of companies within the international trade chain, including manufacturers, exporters, importers, forwarders, customs agents and logistics service providers.V