The customs annual press conference 2023 with Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner took place a few days ago in the port of Hamburg.
The figures for the past year speak for themselves:
234 million shipments of goods were exported and 157 million shipments were processed for import. That makes a total of 391 million customs clearances with a total goods value of around EUR 1.5 trillion. Compared to the previous year, clearances increased by almost 39 million (approx. 11%) and the value of goods by 277 billion euros (approx. 23%) . In total, customs took in around EUR 163 billion. This is an increase of EUR 22 billion (16%) compared to 2021. Subsequent collections and refunds have decreased. While they amounted to a total of EUR 318.5 million the year before, this time it is EUR 257.1 million.
8.6 million counterfeit goods were confiscated. In 2021 there were still almost 19 million. Because of the increased quantities of goods, there is obviously not enough time for real physical checks. Customs should improve that in the foreseeable future – hopefully!
The big – constantly growing problem – for companies is that due to the increased quantities of goods, complaints by customs are likely to be noticed later and later. This creates a big blind spot for the company, because a complaint can quickly cost a lot of money. Since the companies themselves are liable, the saying: “My forwarding agency will do it” unfortunately doesn’t mean anything at all. The companies must therefore take the time to check whether customs clearance is running correctly. In view of the subtleties in customs law, this is often not easy.
The training figures also show that the personnel requirements at customs are immense:
5,500 candidates are currently employed at customs. Almost 48,000 people are currently employed at customs.
Conclusion: Customs is no longer a niche topic, but is of enormous importance for companies!