As we are celebrating our 15th birthday, we would like to take a walk down memory lane and reflect on our amazing journey so far with some important milestones.
It was in 2004 that Pieter founded Customs4trade. In the early years Pieter was advising enterprise companies in the domain of customs and international trade. From the beginning however, Pieter believed the only way businesses could shift from reactive to proactive mode with regards to customs was to abandon the time consuming, error-prone manual processes in favor of technology. He promised to himself to transform customs management from a cost center to an organisational epicenter of information, supporting growth and global expansion. This was the foundation for C4T in 2004 and this is what still drives us today.
Ilse joined in 2006 to assist Pieter with setting up C4T as an organisation, assembling a team of experts who shared this vision and worked side-by-side to develop solutions to simplify customs and international trade. The pair bootstrapped the company for several years, financing the necessary investments with their own means.
By 2009, the first solutions for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) and Dual Use, were introduced which streamlined customs processes that would push companies ahead of the competition and which communicated with customs authority systems to support audits and customs compliance. But Pieter’s long-term vision was to transform customs as we know it—which meant a much larger undertaking.
In 2015, the C4T team started working on a concept the customs community had never seen before—a centralised platform that manages the complex mechanics of customs legal requirements and integrates with an organisation’s ERP or WMS, allowing them to share data, automate customs procedures, and manage customs compliance via a straightforward user interface.
We named it Customs Accounting System (CAS), a one-source-code, multi-tenant, multi-country customs management solution, built on Microsoft Azure. The offering is uniquely complemented with various managed and expert services to ensure an all-in-one approach for customs compliance in various EU countries.
After two years of intense development and testing, we launched CAS in 2017 at the same time in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium. Since the CAS solution tracks and manages interactions between companies, the respective customs authorities and eventually business partners and third parties, it enables companies to save precious time while processing data via fully automated processes. In addition, it allows the application of various special procedures that impact bottom line. Today Customs4trade offers the CAS solution with full service-level agreement support.
In 2018, we secured our first investment from 42CAP and 10x group, allowing us to further grow the team. Visibility and analytics are now available through our Insights module, customs duty savings can be easily identified and achieved through CAS Special Procedures, our clients have the ability to share data with business partners seamlessly, we’ve implemented fast onboarding and configuration, we are integrating with more and more customs authorities such as the integration with French customs, Brexit flows are readily available and we are incorporating machine learning to ensure a higher level of compliance and make CAS better every day.
Only one year later, in December 2019 we were able to close an additional investment provided by both current investors 42CAP and 10x group as well as Hi-Inov stepping in as additional investor. This funding will be used to put C4T on the EU map as reference for customs & trade solutions and services.
Along the way we have established partnerships with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Academy, International Chamber of Commerce in Belgium (ICC Belgium), and our customers to continually improve our solution and services, prepare companies for the impacts of Brexit, and open the doors to expansion worldwide. Next to these partnerships, our SaaS solution CAS was recognized in the latest “Gartner Market Guide for Global Trade Management Software”, published on July 10, 2019, as a Representative Vendor in Global Trade Management — Compliance Focus.
Our journey is fueled by an inspiring work environment which cherishes innovation and creativity, while maintaining balance through our corporate running program and healthy surroundings. These give us the ability to power on, and live up to our vision: “Together with our excellent employees and world-class international partners, we always come up with solutions that provide added value for the challenges with which our customers are confronted in the complicated and rapidly changing world of customs, excise, and international trade.” Today we have grown to more than 40 employees strong and have built a company culture that is passionate about developing excellent customs & trade solutions.
Together we go beyond compliance! The next chapters are waiting to be written…