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Customs clearance made easy with Declaron

Declaron is a highly automated customs clearance platform backed-up by a team of experienced customs agents

The Declaron  service includes a comprehensive training suite to help users get to grips with the customs declaration process

The Declaron service includes a comprehensive training suite to help users get to grips with the customs declaration process

 

With more customs declarations made in the month of January than during the whole of 2020, the true scale of the impact of Brexit on trade with the UK has become evident. For many companies the real challenge has been in finding a customs clearance agent to make the declarations on their behalf.

“It has been evident since 2019 that there is a serious shortage of customs clearance agents in Ireland and the UK,” says BDO partner Carol Lynch who is also a director of customs agent Declaron which BDO set up as a joint venture with Fexco. “A lot of customs clearance agents simply shut up shop in 1992 when the Single Market came into effect and the capacity and experience is no longer there to meet this dramatically increased demand.”

And quite a few Irish companies were caught unawares by the change. “There was a belief that a trade agreement would mean there would be no customs checks or declarations,” adds Declaron managing director Michael Nolan. “That was definitely not the case, as we know, and we spent quite a bit of time during November and December explaining that a free trade agreement was not a get out of jail free card.”

Declaron is a highly automated customs clearance platform which allows companies to make customs declarations with the comfort of having a back-up team of experienced customs agents available at all times. The service also includes a comprehensive training suite to help users get to grips with the customs declaration process.

Declaron is a fully scalable cloud-based, machine-assisted, user-friendly and user-centric solution. “It offers all the benefits of doing the declarations in-house with the control you want but at greatly reduced costs,” says Lynch. “You don’t need to have experienced staff, and don’t have to deal directly with Revenue. If you have an issue with Revenue, Declaron is there in the background to look after that for you.”

Tools

The system simplifies the whole declaration process and includes a number of tools and features to ease the path for users. These include a feature which allows users to quickly look up the customs code (TARIC) for their goods.

Once the user has completed a declaration it can become a largely copy-and-paste process after that. The user only needs to fill in the shipping details and any other points of difference.

“We are taking the pain out of the process,” says Nolan. “Once the customer completes the declaration, we take it from there. We look after all the dealings with Revenue.”

And users are prepared for that first declaration. “We guide them through it as much as we can,” he adds. “It gets easier with each declaration and we now have customers who are doing import declarations in less than 30 minutes and exports in 20 minutes. We do a lot of webinars for clients and also have a test environment on the system which allows clients to do simulated customs declarations. It’s all about enabling companies to take control of their own customs declarations.”

Market reaction has been very positive with more than 300 companies now using the system. “We are very proud of the system we’ve built,” says Nolan. “No truck has been stopped in a port. The system won’t let a declaration through if it’s not complete. And it won’t make the declaration if it’s not compliant. Our customers have validated the system. If customers don’t like a piece of software they will go elsewhere. Our customers have stayed with us and we are adding new users all the time.”

And new features continue to be rolled out. “The UK will begin imposing full checks and customs controls at their ports from July 1st,” says Lynch. “We aim to have Declaron up and running for UK declarations before that.”