The Antwerp Port Community System (APCS) introduced the e-Desk for containers already in 2012, and this year the successful collaboration has been extended to rolling stock. The port of Zeebrugge (ICO and WWL) started the e-Desk for ro/ro in February, and now the Antwerp terminals are following suit, Port of Antwerp said in a press release.
All exports of new and second-hand vehicles and exports or transit of containers can now be declared electronically, so that paper declarations and accompanying documents are no longer necessary. Each player who has four obligatory data items that form part of the export declaration can enter these parameters in the e-Desk. They are: the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN: the 17-character chassis number), the Movement Reference Number (MRN) of the export declaration, the type of document (export or transit, as they are processed in different systems) and the Customs office of the point of exit (Antwerp or Zeebrugge).
The advantages of the e-Desk include the uniform procedure in both ports, and the uniform Customs reporting, which permits faster processing of the exit declaration. This in turn means that exporters can quickly and easily demonstrate that their goods have left the EU, which is necessary for the VAT administration.
“The collaboration between Antwerp and Zeebrugge in automation of port processes is the result of smooth arrangements within the Cargo Community System, a non-profit organisation in which the ports of Antwerp, Ghent and Zeebrugge collaborate with the Customs department, the Flemish government and the waterway operators W&Z and De Scheepvaart to streamline the flow of information along the logistics chains,” the port said.