Your company has options
There are four main options for companies who need to make required import and export declarations. The only prerequisite for all four options is to have an EORI number, which legally identifies your company.
1. Manual declaration
This is the easiest way to create declarations. Customs offers a web portal, which can be accessed via a weblink and a digital access code such as an eID or a token. The required information can be manually entered.
2. Outsourcing declarations requirements
If manually entering data is too much of a hassle, you can leave the customs formalities to a broker or to your transport partner. Paying for this service makes your life easier, but may leave you with questions concerning reports and the handling of your data. To address these questions, you can set up a communication channel between your company and your broker that allows the exchange of Excel files or even an EDI interface.
3. Customs software
Several customs software packages exist, which are mostly cloud-based and localized for one or more countries. They serve as an intermediary, transmitting your data to customs via a certified line. You can also enter your data manually using these tools, but they can also be integrated with your system software. The advantage here is that while you have to invest in additional software tools, you remain in control of your data and also have access to reporting functions.
4. SAP Global Trade Services
SAP offers a custom software package to its customers, SAP Global Trade Services (GTS). This tool not only communicates with customs, but also exercises legal control and the management of other customs procedures, such as bonded warehouse and excise management. The advantage here is the native integration of the tool with your SAP system, for an audit-proof process that’s usable all over the world.
Selecting the best option for your business can be difficult. When considering your options, examine the number of shipments you make and the number of different applications you communicate with. Are you looking for a solution with more functionality than simple electronic filing? Are there more customs procedures that you have to take into account?
Remember: UK partners and authorities are also trying to answer the same questions. If your company is based in Belgium, refer to this website for more information (in Dutch).
Our global trade experts are standing by to help you with your customs questions. Get in touch.