talks about AEO certification

"Trust from customs will improve customer relations"

The AEO license allows customs officials, together with the business community, to ensure that all international trade securely enters and leaves Europe's borders. The AEO license, which stands for Authorized Economic Operator, has two varieties: the Customs Simplification permit AEO-C (Customs) and the AEO-S Safety and Security permit. was awarded both certificates in June. Their import and export employee Dion Steijl proudly explains more.


The next step B.V. is a customs and air freight forwarder located in Hoofddorp and at the flower auction in Aalsmeer. In 2017, the company entered the AEO approval process for both the AEO-C and the AEO-S permit. Every company that wants to obtain an AEO permit has to meet five criteria established in Article 39 of the Customs Code of the Union (in short, the UCC):
  • Appropriate track record
  • A proper trade and transport administration
  • Financial solvency
  • Practical skills or professional qualifications
  • Appropriate safety standards
The application starts with the submission of the AEO application form with a summary of the AEO self-assessment. Customs has to inform the customs authorities of the other member states of the application within five working days, and customs then decides within 120 days whether the authorization is to be issued. When the above criteria are met, the process can be started.

The process includes recording everything from administration to executive activities. These activities must be clear for anyone reading this report. Then, several discussions are held with the customs authorities about how these processes can be improved, both in practice and on paper. It is important that all employees are aware of the processes within the company, and it's desired that this is actively thought about. The holder of the AEO license has the advantage that the ties with customs are more intensive than those that do not have an AEO status. Especially simplifying procedures and providing information about customs declarations are advantages that are worth considering.


Since June 2018 has been officially certified for both licenses. "This means that customs has horizontal supervision of our entire logistics chain and trusts that all processes are good enough for a secure future," says Dion. "Over the years, we at have grown more and more in the handling of complex flower shipments. On an annual basis we send more than 1,500 flower shipments worldwide and we also provide daily road transport documents to countries such as Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and other countries where specific export documents are needed."

"The fact that customs has confidence in our logistics chain does not mean that we can be less careful in our daily customs declarations, but we pay back the trust by talking to our customers. The coming period we intend to share more information and want to improve the relationship with our business partners. We are looking at things like improving invoices, packing lists, but also explanation of origin documents such as the Form-A and EUR.1 and other matters that could foster cooperation for the future. In recent times it has been noticed that it's not always easy for flower exporters to find the information needed to export. Once the correct information has been found regarding the correct commodity code, it often happens there are more items that need to be taken care of. One of the most recent changes is the tightened import legislation in China. It requires that prior to the departure of consignments to China, certain information must be known in order to be cleared by Chinese agents upon arrival in China. There is also the upcoming Brexit which requires a lot of attention and there may be consequences to Trump's trade policies, just to name a few examples."

The individual
For many exporters or importers, things like Brexit, changes in the relationship with the U.S. and changes in legislation are not applicable. But for those who are affected, wants to look for solutions. "As an SME, we want to work in a personal way on joint growth for the future and we believe that information provision plays an important role in this. For us, the AEO status means that a good start makes up half the work, but our work only stops when the goods arrive on location in good order."

For more information:
T: +31 88 088 2407
P.O. Box 216
2130 AE, Hoofddorp

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