Customs Connect

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Customs Connect's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Customs Connect is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Director Neil Sheppard
Eliminating hassle
Headquartered in Manchester, Customs Connect are a
group of expert consultants with offices around the world,
whose services allow companies trading in Europe to make
considerable savings where customs duty is concerned. Given the
changing nature of regulations, not every company has the time,
resources or specialist skills to ensure they are maximising their
potential savings. CEO Neil Sheppard offers a fuller insight into
this process and where he thinks things areheading.
As a duty consultancy, our goal is to work with our clients to ensure that their
trading in the EU incurs the minimum-possible cost. We do this through a variety
of professional advisory services, including but not limited to customs planning,
autonomous duty suspensions and export control. Our services are closely tailored to
each client’s needs, as every company has its own particular set ofcircumstances.
Real, measurable savings
The gains we make for companies are measurable, and we’re in it together, as
our model means we take a percentage of the savings that our client makes, so
we have every incentive to provide a value-for-money service. Moreover, to ensure
maximum ease and minimum time wastage, we take on as large a portion of the
workload as possible.
To give an example of the sort of savings we can make, Jaguar Land Rover had
their customs duty liabilities cut by more than 50 per cent as a result of our services.
In this particular instance, our success was so outstanding that it helped us win the
Best Procurement Consultancy Project award from CIPS Supply Management.
»CEO: Neil Sheppard
»Established in 2009
»Based in Manchester with
8offices across Europe
»Services: Customs planning,
compliance, VAT solutions
andBrexit advisory
»No. of employees: 14
»Customs Connect launched
Digital Solutions to develop
tools which help businesses
take control of customs
Customs Connect
Highlighting best practice
In addition to providing savings for
companies, we perform consultancy
services for those who are unsure as
to whether they’re entirely compliant
with EU regulations. Given the
fluctuating landscape of regulation
and how regularly customs checks
occur, many clients opt for this service.
Failure to meet obligations in this
area can incur burdensome penalties,
including expensive customs penalties,
seizures of goods, delays in the supply
chain, retractions of customs planning
authorisations and, perhaps worst of
all, a damaged reputation.
Once we have fully assessed a client’s
current customs strategy, we can
benchmark against firms that have
already been fully optimised. This lets
the client know where and how they
can make savings. We also review
previous failures of compliance, with
a view to minimising the risk of similar
occurrences in the future. Our broad-
ranging experience means that we
have a solution to nearly every problem
of thiskind.
Another important part of our offering
is bringing about Authorised Economic
Operator status for our clients by
creating tailored applications. Once
this has been achieved for them, we
show them how they can go about
maintaining this status. After having
done so, companies can confidently
claim that their processes are efficient
and compliant.
Navigating a changing
political backdrop
Given the nature of our company,
Brexit has clearly been of great interest
to us and our clients. We have tried
to provide proactive solutions that
minimise business disruption. One
example of this is Brexit modelling,
which allows them to plan in the
absence of certainty.
Essentially, we run a company’s
data through our algorithms to
report the customs impact against
a number of potential scenarios,
including a transition to World Trade
Organization rules and possible free
trade agreements. The resulting
analysis tells clients what they are
paying now in customs duty and
Effective planning
The gains we
make for
companies are
and we’re in it
together, as
our model
means we
take a
percentage of
the savings
that our client
what they might pay in future. With
the changing nature of international
trade, our analysis goes beyond just
customs duty, though; we also look
at how an event such as Brexit could
impact other customs areas such
as origin, valuation adjustments,
transfer pricing (and its impact on the
customs value) and export controls,
When the analysis is complete, it
allows us to plan effectively for these
developments and to mitigate negative
impacts accordingly. This is done by
breaking them down by value, time to
implementation, investment costs and
sensitivity to a range of scenarios. To
guarantee maximum accuracy of these
estimates, we revise our algorithms
and output data in light of changing
political developments.
Working towards a brighter
The big challenge for us in all of this
is ensuring that our technical staff
keep up with the gulf that will emerge
between UK and EU legislation. As we
enter into a future outside of the EU,
we have to make sure we remain a
go-to service for companies wanting to
trade in this part of the world.
Indeed, despite our sober
acknowledgement of the challenges,
we are nonetheless optimistic about
what the future holds for us, our
clients and the country as a whole.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: we
are one of the largest economies in
the world, and there is no reason why
we should have to stop doing business
with the EU after Brexit.
As a company, we are making exciting
new inroads into technologies that
will make trading easier. Our AI-driven
C3 solution, for example, will make
tax and regulatory compliance much
easier for many companies. Alongside
this, we are always improving our
processes and finding efficiencies
within our own company. Challenges
are a normal component of life in
business – in this area, the measure
of success is the extent to which you
move forward in spite of them. I have
total confidence that we at Customs
Connect will do just that.
As a company,
we are making
exciting in-
roads into
that will make
trading easier
Customs Connect Digital
Solutions team

This article was sponsored by Customs Connect. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster