By Aldona Akkermans, Lead Service Desk
After reading my colleague Jennifer Sanders’ article about going from using customs software to building it, it made me think. Before I joined C4T, I worked in logistics, and I had no idea customs automation software existed. I handled import and export shipments for several companies and applied various Incoterms® with only one type of automated procedure available to me—the transmission of the arrival or departure details and documents from or to another freight forwarder.
During my career working for freight forwarders, I learned how the operational and logistics chain works—and where it’s broken. I also learned that customs clearance is pretty much the most important part of the process. And now I know there is a much easier and more efficient way to manage customs throughout the supply chain.
As a freight forwarder agent, my projects included the entire supply chain process, from arrival at the port for customs clearance to departure to the buyer of the goods. I handled all of the steps in between, including the request for creation of customs declarations based on the information gained from my customer or provided by the freight forwarder at the other side of the chain. Since that was mainly being handled manually, it was very time-consuming. The biggest challenge was to gather all the information from several parties—the customer, an external party, other freight forwarders, the shipping company—so that I would be prepared to provide the required information to the customs broker on time. Preparation was a very crucial part of my mission. Even though I managed all of these steps leading up to and following the passage of goods through customs, I never handled the actual customs process. This meant I had very limited visibility into the process, and I needed that information in order to plan the further steps of the shipments.
CAS solves all of these problems, giving customers a real-time view of where goods are in the customs process at any time or place along the journey and sharing information across the supply chain. In my opinion, this makes the customer’s life a lot easier and it makes the supply chain a lot faster.