Smoother EMCS process around the corner

Still, many irregularities are observed when it comes to the movement of excise goods under suspension of duty. Customs NL formed a special team to change this.

The movement of excise goods under suspension of duty within the European Union still has to continue to be monitored off course. As of 2010, Dutch Customs monitors these via the Excise Movement & Inspection System (EMCS). Still, many irregularities are observed when it comes to these excise goods, that could result in frustrating penalties for businesses. It is therefore high time to change this.

“Most entrepreneurs are of goodwill, however, they slip up unaware. The regulations are complex by nature, and the information provided on them is fragmented. Consequently, businesses refrain from performing certain actions, or execute them incorrectly.” Says Willem van Doornmalen, customs official and implementation manager of a special team that is to elevate the EMCS process to a higher level. “We want to resolve this undesirable situation on several levels. As a starting point, we will critically examine the existing content at This will be refreshed and restructured in such a way that for the stakeholder the process shall become easily understandable. We assume that this will significantly decrease the number of businesses that unintentionally apply the procedures incorrectly.”

IT adjustments necessary
At the same time, action needs to be taken to change the EMCS technically. The system as yet namely still provides insufficient information to monitor and manage effectively. Van Doornmalen: “It should be capable of detecting irregularities better and at an earlier stage. In addition, Electronic Administrative Documents – e-ADs, which are used during transportation – must be cleared in time. And if this does not happen, an automatic reminder should be sent. Finally, we want reports to be able to be integrated in the system, for example reports on special incidents or control results. All these measures, will enable us to respond more appropriately, and, for example, carry out an investigation more swiftly. The necessary IT adjustments are invasive, which is why our administration is drawing up an impact analysis.”

To boost level of expertise
Van Doornmalen’s team is currently setting up an enforcement strategy with respect to EMCS. In doing so, Dutch Customs determines in time what kind of inspections are used for the transport of excise goods, and the level of intensity of it. However, according to Van Doornmalen, a system such as EMCS is as good as the people working with it. “For this reason, we will be investing in the level of expertise of our staff in the coming period. An EMCS manual will be compiled, in which the process will be described in great detail. This way customs officials will know exactly how to take action in every specific situation.”

Role Central Excise Unit strengthens
Finally, it will be set out clearly which units are responsible for which activities. The Central Excise Unit will also assume a more important role within the EMCS process. Van Doornmalen: “Currently, the Central Excise Unit mainly deals with identified deficiencies upon termination of the transport. The intention is for the EMCS to provide more up-to-date information, and then for the unit to work more on current issues.”

The actions for improvement, as mentioned, are to soon cover 95% of all risks within the EMCS process. As well as for the transport of excise goods under suspension of duty to run smoothly and nearly flawless.

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