BRUcloud app smooths the export flow at Brussels

Freight forwarders within Brussels airport’s BRUcargo community are saving air waybill (AWB) processing time by accessing the new Customs Export Application which went live on July 1.
This latest application is one of several made possible by BRUcloud, the open community platform at the Belgian hub based on Nallian’s data-sharing technology and initiated by Brussels’ cargo department three years ago.
The app combines manifest data, which has been made available in the BRUcloud since 2016, with newly added data from the forwarders. The app matches the collected data at AWB level and reports a complete set of information automatically to customs.
“It is the first result whereby information from different sources can be linked to one new solution, without much effort, but with great impact on the day-to-day operation of the companies participating,” said Steven Polmans, head of cargo and logistics at Brussels Airport Co, adding: “This is one of the several benefits we aimed for when developing our community platform.”
The cargo arm of Brussels airport said that forwarders who opt to connect to the app can "drastically improve their efficiency by avoiding having to wait in lines at the Customs offices for the stamping of AWBs, avoiding having to create Excel list reports and having to collect alternative evidence manually, thus eliminating paper-based procedures and the resulting errors".
The Customs authorities now also give clearance priority to forwarders’ shipments handled via the app, saving time compared with the previous manual process for verifying documents.
The initiative to develop the "quick-win app" came from the Customs working group, one of several organised by Air Cargo Belgium (ACB), the air cargo community representation group.
“This app is a win for both the Customs authorities and the forwarders. A fine example of the fruitful cooperation between the stakeholders at BRUcargo” said a spokesperson for BDP International one of the six companies already using the app on a daily basis.
David Bellon, director of airfreight at DHL Global Forwarding Belgium, said: “It was great to see the collaborative approach in the community resulted in an application that addressed the urgent needs of the entire forwarding community.
"Together with the other members of BAFI, DHL Global Forwarding was happy to provide support in developing it.”
More than 25 companies have already confirmed that they will roll out the app in the coming weeks, covering 90% of the volumes handled at BRUcargo.
“This collaboratively created app results in a lower administrative burden for all the parties. Digitization within BRUcargo will further lower the chances of errors and will help to drastically decrease lead times,” said Bart Vleugels, advisory general at Federal Public Service of Finance, Customs and Excise Duties.
Later this year, the BRUcargo slot application will be introduced, reducing waiting times at the handlers’ premises.
“The application is undergoing final testing with the partners in our project group and the results are meeting our expectations”, said Sara Van Gelder, leading the BRUcloud project at BRUcargo.
She added: “We are excited and look forward going live with additional partners in the last quarter of this year.”
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