A day in the life of a Customs Specialist

David Rae

Shining a light on one of our unsung heroes.

Everyone knows that the process of exporting goods from the UK to Europe can be a little tricky at times.

You don’t have to be a customs expert to know that there is a mountain of information needed for every consignment.

What you may not have thought about are the people behind the customs transactions, who work hard every day to keep your freight moving.

Claudia is one of our Customs Specialists, who are instrumental in maintaining the smooth-running of the daily movement of goods across the globe.

Claudia Stroe – Customs Specialist

Every day, Claudia receives a list of the day’s consignments from our Operations team. 

There are always multiple loads each day destined to different EU hubs, which all need to be double checked and processed within a tight deadline as the goods are already on the move.

Claudia checks the paperwork is in order for each individual shipment by carefully scrutinizing the commercial invoice and the Export Accompanying Document (EAD) all whilst checking the gross weight and packaging match – otherwise the load might be delayed at the border.


Claudia typically deals with groupage loads which adds an extra layer of complexity.

Groupage consignments are different from direct loads due to them being made from lots of smaller loads which are grouped together and then sent to a warehouse or hub.

Groupage loads are perfect for businesses which do not have enough volume to require a full load but do not want to waste money on sending a half empty trailer. Find out more about our groupage service here.

Incoterms are another piece of the customs puzzle. As we offer both DAP and DDP on the same vehicle for our groupage service, the incoterms must be correct for each consignment so that customs authorities know who is responsible for the customs, VAT and duty. 

Check, check, check

Claudia completes her checks by midday, and then sends all relevant details to our 24/7 customs partner, Gerlach.

Gerlach run through what has been sent and check all of the details again. It’s this level of attention to detail that keeps our transit times and delays down to an absolute minimum.

By the time Gerlach processes these orders they have been checked at least 4 times each!

Claudia then requests import clearance from Gerlach for all pallets which are considered DDP. T1 documents are raised for each DAP load to show that they are still under customs supervision and duty hasn’t yet been paid, these help ensure that even if there’s an issue with one shipment, it won’t delay the rest.

Efficient processes

By the time the afternoon rolls around, Claudia knows more about what goods are being shipped once she receives the manifests.

Customs authorities need each delivery to have its own Declaration Unique Customs Reference (DUCR). To make things a little easier for everyone she will group these DUCR’s onto a Master Unique Customs Reference (MUCR). This allows the customs office to be able to access the details of the manifest in one place rather than many.

The commodity codes for the products must match what is being shipped – if they don’t, you run the risk of being charged fines.

Claudia then guarantees that each delivery has a correct New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) which displays which customs office each individual delivery has to use. 

You can always trust that your exports are in good hands with Claudia, her diligence and knowledge has saved our customers significant sums of money over the years!

Is navigating customs a minefield? Let our team of experts take the hassle away – get in touch today!

Vehicle Types:

Vans: Short wheel-based, Long wheel-based, Extra- long wheel based

Luton vans: Curtainsider, Box, Tail lift, Flatbed

7.5 Tonnes – 18 Tonnes: Curtainsider, Flatbed Box, Rigids, Tail lift, HIAB, Moffett

Artics (44 Tonnes): Box, Tail lift, Flatbed, HIAB, Moffett, Curtainsider

Rigids: Tail lift, Flatbed, HIAB, Moffett

Specialised Vehicles/Trailers: Sliding Roof, Low Loader, Stepframe, Double Decker, Mega, Beavertail, Extendable Flatbed, Super mega Flatbed, Wafer Deck, Container Self-loading, Skeleton, Racked / Open floor trailer, Tanker, Silo, Swap Body, Jumbo (Wagon & Drag), Walking floor, Coil well, Stanchion, Hanging Garment, Frigo

We have access to an extensive network that offers a wide range of vehicle types. If you need something in particular, please do not hesitate to contact us.