TNT, Europes largest express services company, will apply for the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status for all its customs related, express services operations in the 27 EU countries. Working with an AEO, a new standard created by the European Commission, will benefit customers in several ways: TNT will receive priority treatment at European customs when agents inspect shipments; faster movement of goods through third country borders where the AEO status is recognised; reduced data sets for entry and exit summary declarations. TNT and its clients would thereby benefit from fewer delayed shipments, reduced theft or vandalism, and improved communication between supply chain partners.
Effective since 1st January 2008, the European Unions AEO programme is set to increase border control with the aim to secure the international supply chain and modernise customs procedures within the EU. The AEO status will recognise safe, secure and customs compliant business partners in international trade. National customs authorities will process applications and carry out the physical evaluation. TNT is the first of the four largest express integrators to apply for the new standard.
The AEO standard is to express carriers what the green Nothing to declare line is to individual passengers: a fast-moving and formality-light solution, says Martin Palmer, Director Global Customs of TNTs Express division. The officials may inspect your luggage, but normally they won't. AEO stands for safety and trustworthiness.
TNTs flagship air hub in Liege is in the process of submitting an application in a pilot with the Belgian customs authorities. TNT will soon apply for the AEO status with The Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and the Czech Republic. All other EU countries will follow by mid-2008. TNTs Mail division, known as TNT Post, in December 2007 also applied for the AEO status for its import and export mail activities in the Netherlands, as part of a pilot project with the Dutch customs.
TNTs formal application shows it satisfies four blocks of criteria: a record of compliance with customs requirements; a satisfactory system of managing commercial and transport records allowing customs controls; proven financial solvency; high security and safety standards. Though not mandatory, TNT will provide the customs authorities with a comprehensive self-assessment on top of the required form, enabling them to process the application within 90 days from the date of receipt, instead of 300. Full accreditation is expected by mid-2009.
All TNTs express operations are already certified to five standards: Investors in People, ISO 9001 (for operational excellence), ISO 14001 (for environmental management), OHSAS 18001 (for work place safety) and SA 8000 (for social responsibility).