Customs service providers are constantly looking for ways to improve processes. Whether is by looking into ways to harmonise customs measures and data from country to country, or by understanding how innovation and technology can support to improve. For instance, these days digitising custom processes can incredibly benefit both businesses and the entire logistics community, and certainly the future of customs looks characterised by great technological advancements.

Looking ahead, as businesses explore ways to plan, refine, and adjust their strategies for 2024, here are some key customs trends to watch out for and prepare for in the coming year.

What will be the trends in customs clearance? What to expect in 2024?

  1. Wider use of customs digital software: Even if in motion since the early 00s, next year we will see more and more businesses understanding the benefit of going digital and how that can revolutionise the way they run their international logistics. Businesses will harness the ability to transform and harmonise their customs data and benefit from the digitalisation of customs. This will give them the possibility to implement new IT systems that can receive more data early on to use it for all the steps across their supply chain. Trade will start using digital customs tools for supervision and compliance management (including for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status). Digitising their customs will make their customs management not only easier but also faster, more structured, efficient, cost conscious, accurate and safer.
  2. Use of customs as a business strategy: Customs is slowly moving from people’s mind from being merely a need, to a way to strategize import and exports. 2024 will see higher knowledge from businesses on how to gain financially from managing their customs compliance in a smart way. A growing number of brands will recognise ways to take advantage of available free trade agreements, duty recovery, duty suspension, and more, to grow faster as well as save significantly on costs.
  3. Additional regulations: Stronger customs compliance regulations will be put in place on Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance (ESG) topics to create a safer framework for the future. When dealing with new sustainability regulations, businesses will need to understand exactly who their suppliers are, and if any of these actors expose them to the risk of non-complying, which in turn can cause fines, prosecution, reputational damage, seized goods, loss of permits & licences, etc. Trade Compliance will become a “license to play”, and certifications where traders can demonstrate their compliance, will become the passport for goods.
  4. Higher need for visibility: To gain competitive advantage, businesses will need to have better visibility. As the regulations governing international trade become more complex, creating increasing risks for businesses, they will need to prepare and check that they are not exposed to trade compliance risks, and be able to act accordingly to eliminate them. Customs data will, together with various trust-based systems like Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status, start offering access to more predictable and resilient supply chains and border crossing through digital trade corridors and trusted trade lanes. Moreover, with the digitalization of customs, and trade data, we will see new end-to-end solutions be offered.
  5. AI for customs: Just like blockchain was a prominent element in the past years, artificial intelligence (AI) has now taken a big spot on all industries including customs, for example, to support with predictive risk assessment and automated document verification. According to a study by Ismael Kafando, a Statistics and Econometrics Engineer with over 14 years’ experience in working with customs, “AI promises huge benefits and many organisations, such as customs administrations, are just beginning their journey”. A joint paper published by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) published in 2022 stated that “around half of customs authorities use some combination of big data analytics, AI and machine learning, while the other half plans to do so in the future.” What is certain is the presence of AI will significantly grow in 2024 which, by proxy, will show more and more businesses move away from paper based and instead manage their customs digitally.
  6. Wider support from logistics providers: We will see more integrated logistics providers being able to provide additional help with core custom services, import and export declarations, transit declarations, and more. These providers will be able to support with all necessary documents, process upgrades, providing advisory services on how to plan in advance, how to comply throughout 2024, and how to move towards markets that facilitate the movement of their specific products taking advantage of duty optimization processes.

What is in sight for the future?

Overall, 2024 will be a year characterised by trade and customs being more strategic, compliant with ESG regulations, and digital. Businesses will gear up and think of customs compliance as a strategic tool, to keep growing and do so while de-risking their supply chains. They will introduce strategic customs planning as a potential differentiator in the market. This new strategic way of working will be part of a new way of facilitating trade for businesses moving their products abroad and supporting their transition to handling customs in a way that secure, fast and digital. While artificial intelligence and machine learning, will undoubtedly improve efficiencies for customs compliance and risk mitigation, increasing risk controls, and enabling deeper compliance management, the need for know-how and experts in the field will remain steady.

Integration pictogram

Get insights from an industry insider

Enter our world of truly integrated logistics. Be inspired and gain knowledge on relevant business insights, in a few clicks.

Do you wish to stay updated on upcoming must-read industry trends?

Receive our insights directly in your mailbox by signing up through this form and enter a world of truly integrated logistics. Get inspired by our selection of articles tailored to you, and gain knowledge on relevant business insights in a few clicks. You can unsubscribe anytime.

You did it, welcome onboard!

You have successfully subscribed to our Logistics Insights. We will send you an email confirmation shortly, and look forward to keeping you up to date on upcoming must-read industry trends.

Something went wrong

Oops! Something went wrong and we didn’t get your information. Please try and submit your information again. If the issue persists, please contact us.

Do you wish to stay updated on upcoming must-read industry trends?

Receive our insights directly in your mailbox by signing up through this form and enter a world of truly integrated logistics. Get inspired by our selection of articles tailored to you, and gain knowledge on relevant business insights in a few clicks. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Please tick the box above then click Submit.

By completing this form, you confirm that you agree to the use of your personal data by Maersk as described in our Privacy Notification.

Stay on top of the trends that impact your supply chain
Get key insights delivered directly to your inbox

By submitting this form, I agree to receive logistics related news and marketing updates from A. P. Moller-Maersk and its affiliated companies via e-mail. I understand that I can opt out of such Maersk communications at any time. To see how we process your personal data, please see our Privacy Notification.

Thank you for signing up
You have now signed up for newsletters. You will shortly receive an email which will explain how to set your newsletter preferences.
You can unsubscribe anytime.