“Transition to AGS Export has gone smoothly”

Logistics service provider Peterson was among the first ones to embrace Customs system AGS Export. This early transition turns out to be beneficial.

The days of Customs system DSU are permanently over by the end of this year. Peterson, established in Den Helder, which services about 150 large and small production platforms and oil rigs in the North Sea, was among the first ones to embrace its successor AGS Export. Bas Hetterscheid, business consultant at the logistics service provider, explains how his employer reaps the benefits of this early transition. “We were offered personal guidance from the Customs Administration and our software supplier. Together we could test the system and eliminate any possible errors.”

Peterson, with its nearly 100th anniversary, once started out as an inspection company for grain; it is now a major player in the provisioning of offshore platforms and oil rigs on the Dutch Continental Shelf. “Traditionally companies within this sector organise their own logistics. We represent nine oil- and gas companies that have united themselves in the Southern North Sea Pool”, Hetterscheid says. “Sharing the capacity of warehouses, ships, helicopters and the transportation saves them millions annually. Peterson coordinates and takes care of the entire logistical process of the receipt of goods, consolidation, planning, customs formalities, transportation as well as the entire return flow. And there promptly is the link with export. Because goods that cross the 12 mile border are classed as export, and return flows are designated as introduced goods.”

Range of export regulations
The transition from DSU to AGS Export proceeds one step at a time. Dutch Customs found Peterson to be an interesting candidate for the second phase (of a total of five), in which 25 selected declarants and software developers participate. The company makes use of a large variety of export regulations, amongst which are permanent export, temporary export, re-export and outward processing. Hetterscheid did not have to think long about the request. “We have registered ourselves almost instantly.” The main reason for this was that there was only a handful of parties participating at this stage, which enabled Customs and our software supplier to personally guide us. Together we could test the system and eliminate any possible errors. Moreover, we had more time to fall back on the old DSU system, if necessary.”

Ready to start
Contrary to companies that focus purely on export, Peterson was already acquainted with the new Customs system. Hetterscheid: “In view of the start of AGS, we already decided three years ago to switch to an alternative. Eventually, we chose the customs solution of Fiton. The week before 1 May, the day of the switch, we had a consultation with the Customs Administration and the software supplier. Both indicated to be ready for it. We spent that week setting up templates for standardised declarations and verifying the master data, amongst others. This approach was successful. The handful of errors that we encountered, was fixed within several hours. It was found, for example, that a certain input text field was wrongly categorised as optional in the software. When you leave that empty, you will receive an error message upon submitting the declaration. However, irrespective of where the fault was and when it occurred, it was important for Peterson to get a quick solution that led to the goods being exported.”

Getting past cold feet
The 15 declarants of Peterson quickly became familiarised with AGS Export, which has the same interface within the Fiton environment as DSU and AGS Import, according to Hetterscheid. “Before we went live, I did send a brief memo including points of attention, the most common error messages and how to anticipate them. When you first make use of AGS Export and you instantly get several error messages, it is understandable to then tend to fall back on DSU. And though it is indeed possible to switch of the authorisation, however, that would mean there would no longer be a fall back option. Possible apprehensions can best be overcome by showing how problems are resolved and by encouraging people to file declarations in AGS Export.”

All in all, AGS Export works fine, Hetterscheid concludes. “Logistics has not suffered as a consequence. Yes, there was one time where the system was unavailable, however, we could then fall back on the emergency procedure, and declarations were processed within ten minutes time. The plug may already be pulled from DSU, as far as I am concerned!”

Tips from Bas Hetterscheid
•  Make sure to be able to consult rapidly with your software supplier
•  Be curious: find out how AGS Export works
•  Transfer the master data from DSU and verify the tariff codes
•  Train your employees, inform them of any changes in AGS Export that
   may be of influence within your company
•  Have faith

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