Guestblog: Frank Heijmann – Customs

Guestblog: Frank Heijmann – Customs

Logistics is a world full of diversity. It involves many stakeholders, who are having lots of different interests. Shippers want to have their goods transported securely while forwarders require speed. Global carriers want full loads in their means of transport and agents want information to complete cross border formalities and to draw up trade documentation. All of these parties produce data. Reproduction of these data and a lack of re-use of these create additional costs. Even, as data of the source are not captured safe and secure and are not shared and re-used along with the movement of goods, global supply chains suffer from a lack visibility. Thus agents in the supply chain have lots of work gathering data to draw up declarations for customs and other inspection agencies. As these data do not come from the source and the owner of the goods often is not visible at the moment of crossing the border, it makes effective risk assessment difficult to authorities. This may cause more government inspections in cross border trade. It is estimated that these extra handlings and inspections raise global trade costs substantially.

Joining up actors in the supply chain, increase re-use of data, improve identification of cargo however still suffers from becoming reality. Innovations in global supply chains often seem to struggle from identification of the individual business case, ‘what’s in it for me?’ As may even seem that, talking about efficiency with logistics seems like discussing with the turkey about Christmas dinner.

Although many may not be aware of it, goods don’t move without finance and insurance. These worlds seem far away from the physical movement of goods. But often the most disruptive changes appear alongside. That’s were fintech can play an important role; expanding finance innovations to the logistic sector and joining up different world in logistics. New business cases may arise, and improved data sharing with the use of new technologies may even reduce barriers that are caused by procedures and inspections cross border trade.

The Netherlands is a global forerunner in innovations in logistics and in fintech. Combining these will help us to stay at the top.


About the Author

Frank Heijmann is Head of Trade Relations at Customs Administration of The Netherlands, leading the National Committee on Trade Facilitation. He is involved in supply chain research focussing on reduction of border formalities and identifying the right balance between enforcement and facilitation. He is initiator of the RSM MSc program Customs & Supply Chain Compliance, combining legal, supply chain, IT and compliance into one study for customs professionals in government and trade.