Antarctica: the last frontier for customs management
Multi-country customs

Antarctica: the last frontier for customs management

With increasing globalization of supply chains and a move back to customs declaration insourcing for some companies, multi-country import and export filing solutions are in high demand.

Antarctica: Exploration’s last great prize

I’ve long been interested in exploration. In fact, as a youngster, that was my career goal. It was only when I grew older and realized there were so few job opportunities in this area that I changed tack! But I was always fascinated by tales of adventurers hacking their way through the Amazon rainforest, riding camels across the Empty Quarter, or navigating the unpredictable Straits of Magellan.

The race to the South Pole – exploration’s last great prize – was also something that fired my imagination. Roald Amundsen, Ernest Shackleton, and Captain Scott were my childhood heroes. A recent discussion in the office brought it all back to mind…

Working across six continents

It all started with some research into AEB’s customer base. Where are our customers located? What about system users – where are they? As it turns out, our solutions are used in over 70 countries.

Amazing how we’ve changed as a company. When I joined AEB over 15 years ago, we were very much a German company making our first forays into international markets, opening offices in the UK and Singapore during my first twelve months with the company.

Interestingly, we can now justly claim to be working with companies across six continents. Every continent apart from Antarctica. So, the next question of course was: Why don’t we have any users in Antarctica? 😉

But, then also…

Shipments to Antarctica – and within

Is a shipment from the UK to the British sector of Antarctica an export or is it a domestic movement? If you moved goods from the French sector of Antarctica to the neighboring Australian sector, would that be an export? How about British sector to French sector?

As Antarctica has its own ISO country code (AQ), I get the feeling what the answer might be to those questions. But, I’m sure there will be a customs expert at AEB that has a definitive response. Perhaps you do – I’m happy to hear from you if you can help clear this up.

I guess this is all academic given that the South Pole isn’t exactly on a major trade route. Plus, the Antarctic sectors are, of course, merely territorial claims by seven sovereign states and are only recognized by the countries making claims in that area. The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) regulates international relations with respect to Antarctica and sets it aside as a scientific preserve free from military activity. So, not many businesses and not much trade there.

What about other countries, though?

AEB might not currently have a software solution specifically designed for use in Antarctica (or, even in all 70+ countries where we have users!). But we are making great strides in other countries with more significant import and export trade.

For example, during 2015 we launched new export filing solutions for Belgium and Sweden. This month, AEB goes live with an export solution for one of our customers in the Netherlands – AEB was one of four software suppliers selected by the Customs Administration of the Netherlands to take part in this pilot phase of AGS export. Quite an honor, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Next stop: British Antarctic Survey

With increasing globalization of supply chains and a move back to customs declaration insourcing for some companies, AEB is receiving increased demands from customers for multi-country import and export filing solutions.

So, we are accelerating our development in this area to meet demand. We plan to add several more countries to our solution suite during the coming months. If you have a requirement for a multi-country customs solution, why not get in touch with us.

Despite all the progress AEB has made – over 5000 customers, global customer base, multi-country customs solutions – I’m still thinking about Antarctica… We really ought to have some users there! Perhaps I should give the British Antarctic Survey a call… 😉

If you have any comments or remarks, I’d be happy to exchange with you in this blog forum or you can get in touch with me via LinkedIn.