SBS Worldwide says its new AEO status reassures customers of more than just its ability to offer safe and secure handling and a speedy process through Customs.
"This accreditation by Customs also means that our systems for processing VAT and duties for our customers imported goods have been verified," says Doug Overett, MD UK. "These procedures can be very complicated and the rules change regularly. Exporters and importers are liable if their forwarder makes a mistake, so an independent verification by HMRC of our processes is excellent."
He says that this is especially important in countries like the UK which, unlike Germany and the US for instance, has no licensing of Customs brokers.
"Customers using AEO accredited forwarders have the reassurance that these forwarders are highly professional, financially secure, and meet all the criteria for the correct and speedy processing of both the goods and the documentation," Mr Overett adds.
It is estimated that fewer than 10% of UK forwarders have achieved AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) status since its introduction in January 2008. AEO is the EU response to the need to secure international supply chains and the introduction of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the USA.
HM Revenue and Customs defines an AEO as "a business involved in the international supply chain which has proved themselves to be compliant and trustworthy, and where applicable, safe and secure."
SBS Worldwide has C-TPAT accreditation for its operations in the US where it has four offices. The company, founded in 1983, has six offices in the UK and another in China and offers international transport and warehousing services.