AEB’s Customs Heroes drastically simplifies customs clearance and drives international growth
Published: 9 July 2019 - Rachel Tucker
AEB, a provider of global trade and logistics software, is proud to introduce a global innovation: Customs Heroes, a first-of-its-kind digital customs broker network. It was launched at the international trade show Transport Logistic, which took place in Munich from June 4 to 7, 2019. This new network brings together the global services of prestigious brokers such as Channel Ports, Rusak, Perinter, Portmade, and Nord Quest on a single platform. More information is available at www.customsheroes.com.
Customs Heroes digitises the interactions between customs brokers and businesses in the manufacturing, commercial, and transport sectors. Until now, these specialised processes have been largely fragmented.
“This new platform yields a range of benefits for shippers, freight forwarders and brokers alike. It accelerates customs clearance while eliminating the need for manual data entry. This in turn cuts costs and slashes the fees that customs brokers charge for their services by up to 50 per cent below the usual rates,” says Mark Brannan, director of International Business Development at AEB and the driving force behind Customs Heroes.
End-to-end digitisation of customs clearance
Until now, shippers or forwarders who work with customs brokers have had to perform many tasks manually. “A full 63 per cent of companies surveyed in AEB’s Global Trade Management Study 2018 reported still using email or phone to communicate with their customs brokers,” emphasises Steffen Frey, a member of the AEB Board of Directors. This means that the brokers must then manually input the data communicated to them into their own IT systems. This is expensive and prone to errors.
Customs Heroes replaces this with a process that is digital from start to finish. Users transmit the data needed for customs processing through a special interface to the Customs Heroes platform. The platform then automatically passes the data in the proper format to the system of the appropriate customs broker. After the customs declaration has been filed, the release documents and customs and tax assessments are sent back to the customer. Customers can also check the status of their declarations online at any time.
Network to expand to 30 countries by 2020
Another benefit: Businesses that use Customs Heroes contract with just one single partner to manage customs clearance in many countries through various brokers. “Until now, businesses had to look for the right customs service provider in each country and then negotiate, sign a contract, and work out a process with each one. Now, all they need is a single interface to the platform. We take care of the rest,” says Mark Brannan, summarising the advantage in a nutshell.
Customs Heroes is already available in 18 countries: Belgium, Canada, China, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And there are ambitious plans to roll out the platform to another 30 countries by the end of 2020.
Brannan and his team are vigilant about the brokers they select from around the world, applying strict quality standards covering everything from IT skills, financial stability, the ability to communicate in multiple languages – especially English – and a solid reputation on the market and among customs authorities. “We’re talking about trusted brokers,” Brannan adds.
Forwarders can use Customs Heroes to expand to new countries
Customs Heroes offers a special benefit to forwarders. They can offer customs services around the world without the expense or bother of establishing offices or building partner networks of customs specialists in the various countries.