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Happy Birthday Customs! It's International Customs Day: Scaling Up Digital Transformation

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

(FREE) On 26 January 2022, we celebrate the annual Customs Day! The theme is" Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem". Find out what it is about.



This year’s International Customs Day [Jan 26] – is dedicated to “scaling up customs digital transformation by embracing a digital culture and building a data ecosystem.”


We interviewed some of the UK and EU's brightest and most experienced customs and global trade minds on data, global trade and the role of customs. Read what they had to say.:


Data is essential for global business

"We know already that data is the future of international business, and its intelligent interpretation and use will be vital for businesses to discover new markets and embrace foreign opportunities". Lesley Batchelor, OBE and Leader of ExportBootcamps, said. "In fact, we use strategy and data to help our clients break into new markets


Towards a more transparent border

"At the level of customs authorities, there will be a drive to a more seamless and integrated border, relying on the repurposing of data already available somewhere in the system. We see that, for example, with the UK and their ambitious Customs Border Strategy 2025 Agenda", Customs Expert Corinne Nabavi added.


Assisting Customs to realise their ambitious digital transformation plans

Customs Director Mike Bing, with more than 35 years of experience, added: "To realise the ambitious customs digital transformation projects of many nations, like the Single Window for Customs concept or the One-Stop-Shop approach, Customs authorities need data. And lots of it! The trade community needs to contribute to this and be a genuine partner, supporting the efforts of Customs authorities worldwide. It's in our interest, too. It has the potential to make trade much smoother and transparent across borders".


Benefits of great customs data

Those trusted traders that can ensure customs that their data will be

  • accurate

  • timely

  • complete

should, in the future, benefit from further simplifications. For a start, making customs declarations can be much simplified if the data that was collected is correct ad complete. That means it is smooth sailing for drivers reaching the port. Miss a single LRN when you require one, and it's hours and hours of costly delays.


Best-In-Class Data

"It is about capturing, utilising and sharing data of businesses for compliance purposes and to optimize duty savings. If we invest in making our data, best in class, we will make the most useful contribution to Customs. Their efforts to use our data efficiently and with new technology will improve their service to us, the business community, and advance the detection of illicit goods, too. Data and analytics will also play a key role in overcoming the ongoing supply chain delays we experience today" said Arne Mielken, Managing Director of Customs Manager Ltd.


Customs Manager Ltd and our network of partners can help businesses to get their data up to speed. We offer innovative data analytics tools to identify compliance challenges and duty savings opportunities. Schedule a call with any of us to find out how we can help.



International Customs Day 2022 - Video message from Commissioner Gentiloni



Every year on the 26th of January, we recognise the crucial work of customs authorities around the world.


This International Customs Day, I want to pay tribute in particular to the hard working customs officials who form the backbone of the EU’s Customs Union – the largest of its kind in the world.


Our Member States’ customs authorities have a major role to play in implementing policies that support our Single Market and our common priorities.


They are indispensable actors in our climate change mitigation efforts and in our economic recovery.


And their work to facilitate delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and protective equipment has been central to our progress in fighting the pandemic.


Customs officials are in the front line in the fight against fraud, terrorism and organised crime, and strive to keep our citizens safe from illegal and dangerous goods.


They protect our financial interests by efficiently and effectively collecting duties and taxes.


And they support our businesses by helping goods to flow smoothly back and forth across borders.


As we reach the half-way point of this Commission’s mandate, it is a timely opportunity to re-emphasise President Von der Leyen’s ambition to take EU customs to the next level. 2022 is the decisive year of delivery: where big decisions are taken on how we get there.


Together with our Wise Person’s Group on the future of customs, the European Commission is exploring how best to deal with burning issues for EU customs: the digital transformation, the boom in e-commerce and the need for more cohesion between customs systems and processes.


We will build on their recommendations, delivering a proposal for new legislation by the end of this year, and will work with Member States to deliver real reform for our Customs Union.


We are also extremely active in the international sphere – leading by example and making efforts to raise global ambition in the World Customs Organisation - to the benefit of all.


EU customs have already shown themselves to be pioneers when it comes to taking on new challenges and embracing new ways of working.


On this International Customs Day, I want to sincerely thank our customs officials for their professionalism, reactivity and adaptability in this ever-changing world.


International Customs Day 2021 - Video message from Commissioner Gentiloni


International Customs Day 2021 - Video message from Commissioner Gentiloni


"The past year has shown more than ever the importance and professionalism of EU customs. When hospitals needed life-saving masks and ventilators, customs officers across the world worked tirelessly to ensure that crucial medical equipment reached those who needed it most. And as the UK left the EU, customs officers worked around the clock to limit border disruptions, and to protect our single market and our citizens.


The role of Customs officers goes so much farther than collecting duties. We are ramping up our capabilities to collect, analyse and share information that will help customs to better manage risk and fight fraud. We are further digitalising customs. Modern tools like the new Single Window and the reinforced Import Control System will make customs work easier and smarter, and contribute to a greener, paperless Customs Union.


The EU will also provide tools for training and funds for customs control equipment like scanners and sniffer dogs. State-of-the-art customs are essential to handle flows of goods efficiently while reducing opportunities for fraud. A well-functioning Customs Union is crucial for our recovery after the pandemic.


But while we will have to do everything we can to support our economy and protect our financial interests, we should not forget what makes us a real Union: Our shared values. The ability to cooperate. Our willingness to exchange information. And our drive to help one another improve. We should also spare no effort in reviving the multilateral system.


The EU is a firm believer in the strength and value of cooperating in the framework of international bodies, such as the World Customs Organisation, but also in leading the discussions on possible reforms.


So on International Customs Day, I would like to congratulate all customs officers in Europe and around the world for their determination and their resilience. Today, we pay tribute to their work to keep our trade flowing and our borders open.



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