July 24, 2017: The Customs Export Application went live to serve the BRUcargo forwarders community on July 1. This application is one of the many apps made possible by the BRUcloud, the open community platform based on Nallian’s data-sharing technology and initiated by the cargo department of Brussels Airport Company about three years ago.
BRUcargo is the dedicated cargo area of Brussels Airport which handles 650,000 tonnes of freight annually, almost 500,000 tonnes flown.
The app combines manifest data, which has been made available in the BRUcloud since 2016, with newly added data from the forwarders. The app matches the collected data at AWB level and reports a complete set of information (which could not be reported by the forwarder himself) automatically to customs. “It is the first result whereby information from different sources can be linked to one new solution, without much effort, but with great impact on the day-to-day operation of the companies participating,” says Steven Polmans, head of Cargo and Logistics at Brussels Airport Company. “This is one of the several benefits we aimed for when developing our community platform,” he adds.
Forwarders who opt to connect to the Customs Export App can drastically improve their efficiency by avoiding having to wait in lines at the Customs offices for the stamping of AWBs, avoiding having to create Excel list reports and having to collect alternative evidence manually, thus eliminating paper-based procedures and the resulting errors. Moreover, the Customs authorities give clearance priority to forwarders’ shipments handled via the Customs Export App.
Before this procedure it could sometimes take a long time before documents were verified, as this had to be done manually. This resulted in a lot of work and had a negative impact on customer satisfaction.
The initiative to develop this quick-win app came from the Customs working group, one of the working groups of Air Cargo Belgium (ACB), the air cargo community representation which strives to make BRUcargo the most attractive, efficient, innovative and successful logistical platform. “This app is a win win for both the Customs authorities and the forwarders. “A fine example of the fruitful cooperation between the stakeholders at BRUcargo,” says BDP International NV, one of the 6 companies already using the app on a daily basis.
“It was great to see the collaborative approach in the community resulted in an application that addressed the urgent needs of the entire forwarding community. Together with the other members of BAFI, DHL Global Forwarding was happy to provide support in developing it,” adds David Bellon, director Airfreight of DHL Global Forwarding Belgium. And more are following… over 25 companies have already confirmed that they will roll out the app in the coming weeks, covering 90 percent of the volumes handled at BRUcargo.
“This collaboratively created app results in a lower administrative burden for all the parties. Digitisation within BRUcargo will further lower the chances of errors and will help to drastically decrease lead times,” says Bart Vleugels, Advisory General at Federal Public Service of Finance, Customs and Excise Duties.
Later this year, the BRUcargo slot application will be introduced, reducing waiting times at the handlers’ premises. “The application is undergoing final testing with the partners in our project group and the results are meeting our expectations,” says Sara Van Gelder, leading the BRUcloud project at BRUcargo. “We are excited and look forward going live with additional partners in the last quarter of this year.”