Belgium launches digital customs platform – BE-GATE simplifies e-commerce

Belgium launches digital customs platform – BE-GATE simplifies e-commerce

Milestone for a digital Europe

As a large European foreign trade hub, Belgium wants to significantly simplify the import and export of goods. The innovative BE-GATE customs platform was developed for this purpose and officially launched on 6 June. The portal, which was specially designed for the growth market of e-commerce, serves to accelerate and increase the efficiency of customs clearance in the cross-border flow of goods. BE-GATE was developed on the initiative of the Belgium Customs and Excise Department and is unique in Europe. The new platform is already supported by four important e-commerce hubs, the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge and the airports of Brussels and Liège.

The free-of-charge customs portal BE-GATE is designed for processing large amounts of data and guarantees rapid clearance of customs applications. A high number of arrival notifications can be transmitted simultaneously via an officially customs approved form.

For shipments of less than or equal to 22 euros, this form also serves as a declaration of release for consumption. For all other shipments, an additional declaration in the Belgian customs software solution PLDA (PaperLess Douanes et Accises / Paperless Customs & Excise) is required.

Retailers also automatically receive information on those shipments that have been selected for customs control. All other shipments are released immediately. In addition, the software solution provides a recommendation for the concrete determination of the customs value on the basis of defined criteria, if the customs value cannot be determined by an alternative method.

Requirements and areas of use

BE-GATE can be used within the framework of customs regulations for free circulation, customs warehousing and outright export. The prerequisites are that the economic operator has a registered office in Belgium and a status as a customs agent. In addition, an intermediate warehouse or a location approved as a customs warehouse, the authorization for the use of the simplified declaration and a comprehensive guarantee are required.

Excise goods, goods subject to licenses and goods subject to special restrictions and control measures are excluded from the use of BE-GATE.

In export, BE-GATE can be used for shipments with a value of up to 1,000 euros and a weight of less than 1,000 kilograms. Otherwise, an additional declaration in PLDA is required

Why Belgium?

Belgium is an important gateway to the European consumer market. Large seaport locations like Antwerp or Zeebrugge and air freight hubs like Brussels or Liège connect Europe with the whole world. An extensive road, barge and rail network connects the Belgian sea and airports to the hinterland. The main consumer markets can be reached within a maximum of 24 hours. Omni channel players require this integrated approach of combining sea, air and rail freight depending on urgency and transit time required.

“As partners we invest in platforms and procedures to optimize this network. That way we can meet the e-commerce players’ expectations about integrated gateways. Moreover, our sea and air ports are centrally located in Europe. This optimal location and connectivity make Belgium a unique hotspot for omni channel logistics”, says Werner Rens, Head of Marketing Department, Belgium Customs & Excise.


Moreover, available space and existing know-how offer companies the opportunity to take advantage of the hub function of these Belgian logistics locations and set up warehouses and distribution centers here. Large last-mile players in e-commerce such as the Chinese logistics company Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited, which belongs to the Alibaba Group, or 4PX use Belgium as an important crossroads to Europe. In addition, well-known companies such as Decathlon, LEGO and Nespresso have large distribution centers here.

Experiences and backgrounds

Werner Rens, Head of Marketing Department, Belgium Customs & Excise: "With BE-GATE, we have developed an efficient and effective e-commerce tool that prevents delays in the supply chain due to lack of transparency and communication. A win-win solution that also facilitates our work as a customs authority."
Luc Arnouts, Director International Networks, Port of Antwerp: "Digitisation is part of the DNA of Europe's second largest port. We expect BE-GATE to significantly simplify customs clearance and thus make Antwerp even more attractive as a location for e-commerce traffic."
Joachim Coene , CEO, Port of Zeebrugge: “The port of Zeebrugge will be able to play an ambitious, prominent role in e-commerce with the investment of the Lingang group in the Maritime Logistic Zone in Zeebrugge”.
Steven Verhasselt, Vice President Commercial, Liège Airport: “As from the preparation phase of our operations at Liege Airport, Customs has been involved, which helped us a lot in identifying the best possible set-up to ensure smooth operations as from day 1.”
Steven Polmans, Director Cargo & Logistics, Brussels Airport: "Brussels Airport offers a global network of both passenger belly hold, express and full cargo aircraft capacity. With our ongoing expansion and new warehouses under construction, we are ready for the growing business of e-commerce. BE-GATE will help us to be an even more attractive entry point for e-commerce thanks to its facilitation and transparency."

 

 

About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 289 million tons per year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a critical hub in worldwide trade and industry. The port is a crucial link for the handling of containers, breakbulk and for the throughput of vehicles. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and accommodates the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides, directly and indirectly, a total of around 164,000 jobs and generates an added value of 21 billion euros.
 
The ambition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear - to become the world's first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. High on the agenda is its responsibility for the environment and the surrounding society. 

The port sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company of public law with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as its shareholders. The port employs 1,800 people. Vice-Mayor of Antwerp Annick De Ridder is President of the Board of Directors, the Mayor of Bruges Dirk De fauw is the Vice-President. Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management. 

www.portofantwerpbruges.com

The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to [email protected]

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
Havenhuis
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp
Belgium