Corona shutdown accelerates customs processing

More targeted inspection of goods and less bureaucratic communication.

The corona shutdown in Germany, which is valid until at least April 19, has a positive effect on customs clearance. This is the result of a recent survey of a. hartrodt customers. "Many things are happening faster in the current difficult situation," says Jan-Eike Boonstoppel, Customs and Export Control Officer at a. hartrodt in Norderstedt near Hamburg. On the one hand, there are generally fewer goods in circulation at present. "On the other hand, there are more targeted inspections of goods because of the contact ban," the expert reports. Even if some customs officers work partly from their home office in order to avoid infection with the corona virus, "the customs offices are still heavily staffed and fully capable of acting".

Customs simplifications due to corona crisis

Boonstoppel welcomes the fact that communication with customs is currently less bureaucratic. Normally, there is still "an alarming amount of paperwork", despite the actual electronic processing. Examples are permits, applications or fee notifications. He hopes that the simplifications will be retained after the corona crisis. As a direct customs representative, a. hartrodt prepares among other things export accompanying documents for customers, handles the import for free circulation or takes over transit procedures for customs goods.

Export control and classification of goods

When it comes to customs clearance, the required documents, trade constellations or foreign trade law are often underestimated. "We push the customer in the right direction," says Boonstoppel with a wink. "Whether German, European or, for example, US law – in our fast-moving times you have to stop and take a closer look," he reminds. This has already helped to protect customers from violation of export guidelines.

Customs tariff numbers prove to be tricky: "Classifying goods precisely requires the expert knowledge of the manufacturers or dealers of the product. The information we have is often not sufficient for this," says Boonstoppel.

Despite EU-wide networking, most customs transactions are physically limited to national borders. "As part of our broad-based international network, we can support customers with incoming and outgoing goods through our colleagues abroad," says Boonstoppel.