On Monday 17th at 4:30 pm, at the Hotel Coronado in Mendrisio, the long-awaited conference on “RISKS RELATED TO CUSTOMS OPERATIONS AND TRANSPORT IN SWISS-ITALIAN TRADE RELATIONS” was held.

The starting point for the need to organize this interesting seminar were the numerous cases of problems encountered by Swiss companies for not having been able to better manage shipments and customs procedures of their exports. In fact, few are aware of the correct export and shipping procedures as the subjects involved in the correct management of a shipment abroad are many and often not easy to find. In addition, the reference regulations are constantly evolving and that the transport sector has opened its doors to competition from various companies that operate with very different criteria and methodologies.

At that time Mr. Marco Passalia, deputy director of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Services of the Canton Ticino (Cc-Ti), as moderator of the “round table” involved Mr. Giorgio Binda of the Swiss Customs, Mr. Antonio Scordari as an Italian customs expert and Mr. Marco Tepoorten and Alessandro Borghi, respectively director/owner and vice-director of the SA Luciano Franzosini of Chiasso, in an in-depth discussion concerning an example of export from Switzerland to Italy with all the implications attached.

To this end, the moderator simulated playing the role of the company manager who asks questions and doubts of all kinds in anticipation of making a cross-border shipment. When asked to Swiss customs, it highlighted the main risks associated with the correct presentation of a customs declaration, declarations of origin on invoices and the issuance of EUR1 preferential certificates of origin. Subsequently, the Italian customs expert presented what risks are present at the Italian Customs for import operations and how Italian importers may be involved due to customs errors and finally Franzosini presented all aspects related to the risks of international shipments.

In fact, it was precisely on this last aspect that the representatives of Franzosini wanted to emphasize stimulating the lively interest of the large audience of participants in the event (almost 200 people).

Do you ask your partners for the necessary insurance coverage? Are you sure that you have correctly completed all the valid documentation for export? Are you sure you know all the responsibilities of the Incoterms returns that you agree with the customer?

These are just some of the questions that Marco Tepoorten addressed to the public in his speech, underlining the importance of entrusting one’s shipments and therefore one’s goods to safe and reliable transport companies, as the forwarder plays a fundamental role: it is like a trustee who knows the senders, recipients, invoices and many other confidential data of companies and the widespread practice of changing the shipper with ease and lightness is equivalent to to make known to all confidential aspects of client companies.

Moreover, just as there are scruples in entrusting one’s money to third parties, it would be appropriate to keep the same attitude when entrusting the shipments of one’s goods to unknown carriers: hence the exhortation to companies to avoid recourse to “transport exchanges” (those services of brokerage Internet in which there is no control of the registered companies and in which there are numerous bogus companies) with which the numerous sub-carriers that deal with customer goods are too often unknown.

One figure above all, cited in the course of the report, has definitely attracted the attention of the audience: only in Germany about 10 trucks are stolen a day, throughout Europe the figure is about 90,000 per year! The transport sector is therefore an economic branch strongly exposed to organized crime and the companies that are part of it often put their customers’ goods at risk by not carrying out any control over their business partners.

Then it also followed a proud idea related to the Chiassese square of freight forwarders, called “the University of the Forwarder”: with this terminology we want to refer not only to the professional competence of employees operating in the shipping and customs sector, but also to the seriousness of the companies that represent this sector.

Another fundamental aspect dealt with concerned the invitation to always operate with a written transport mandate, explaining the essential elements of the same in order to make unequivocal the responsibilities of the parties involved in international shipments. And then all the implications related to triangular operations with due confidentiality of data, the problem of insurance coverage of carriers, the correct fixing of Incoterms yields in contracts with foreign customers and the importance of knowledge of languages for drivers engaged in international traffic were other topics of great interest that captured the attention of those who, In daily work practices, they sometimes underestimate the importance of these fundamental issues.

Last but not least, there was the problem of the exploitation of drivers by those who, in order to propose sub-cost rates, do not hesitate to exploit their employees, forcing them to work hours that are illegal, without due rest and thus putting many human lives at risk on our roads.

Equally important was a mention of the importance of the correct execution of the customs declaration and how difficult the work of the “customs declarant” is and requires specific skills that should not be sold off by proposing customs operations at negligible costs.

Thanks to the elegant, careful and scrupulous conduct of Mr. Passalia, to the very clear explanations and recommendations of Mr. Binda, to the precious ideas of Mr. Scordari, to the valuable interventions of Mr. Borghi on the difficult issues of Incoterms and insurance and to all the issues mentioned above, conducted by Mr. Tepoorten, an interesting discussion emerged, very thorough and excellently presented by the speakers who, At the end of the same, they entertained the public during the aperitif, making themselves available for any further information, for further specific questions and to provide other details aimed at healing the last doubts.

The seminar obviously did not claim to be exhaustive of all the issues related to the topics covered, but only to provide participants with food for thought and the tools to be able to ask themselves the right questions before facing delicate operations in the international arena. In this perspective, the Franzosini of Chiasso, the Chamber of Commerce, the Swiss Customs and the Italian customs have certainly hit the target receiving much consensus and appreciation for the commitment made in a sector that should be increasingly based on the competence of its actors rather than on the simple request for downward prices.