"Customs carrier" - the status of a reliable company

Selecting reliable contractors for trucking is one of the most important tasks for freight owners and forwarding services. To meet this challenge, companies develop their contractor reliability profiles and screening procedures.

Criteria for carrier reliability and their selection

The requirements of insurance companies that insure the liability of freight forwarders emphasize the need to develop and enforce procedures for selecting contractors. Reliability criteria may include dozens of items requiring verification and evaluation.

Evgeniya Golub, deputy general director of TELS CARGO: "In the procedure for admitting contractors, which operates, for example, the forwarding business of TELS, more than 20 signs of reliability of carriers. Some of them are not disclosed so as not to reduce the effect of inspections, but there are several main criteria: how long has the company existed and has there been a change of ownership in the near past; the number of rolling stock owned (leased); insurance coverage; the presence of a real physical office, etc.

There are no guarantees that a carrier, which has been tested according to all procedures, will not make use of a scheme that will reduce its safety level to zero. For example, he will use a vehicle registered in the name of a natural person. The CMR Convention clearly states that the carrier is a legal entity (a natural person is not covered by the CMR insurance coverage). Even if a legal entity is formally listed as the carrier in all accompanying documents, the insurance company will most likely refuse to pay damages if an insured event occurs.

It turns out that the reliability of the carrier is largely determined by his own attitude to his work, to building a level of safety for himself and his customers. Even full compliance of the carrier with all the criteria of reliability during the inspection may not protect the customer of transportation from losses in the future.

An attribute that unites almost all the criteria of reliability

To simplify the selection of reliable contractors, freight owners can focus on trucking companies with "customs carrier" status. This status in itself implies compliance with many selection criteria.

Andrey Abragimovich, General Director of TELS CARGO: "To obtain the status of a customs carrier, a company must operate on the market for at least three full years (two years under the TIR system, and a year before that - to be allowed to work under the TIR system). One-day firms do not qualify here. To obtain the status of a customs carrier, an enterprise must not have had any serious violations before the customs authorities in previous years.

Each year the status is updated - an application for extension is submitted, and customs checks the carrier's activity for the previous year. If there are violations, the status may not be renewed.

How many years the company has uninterrupted status as a customs carrier, so many years it has worked without any serious violations. For example, TELS CARGO has had a customs carrier status for 7 years.

Thus, a customs carrier is definitely a solid company with many years of experience in virtually flawless operation in the market, with its own office, fleet of vehicles, legal service, well-functioning business processes and quality control work.
In addition, the customs carrier is liable to the customs authorities with all his property, so he is very interested in compliance with all regulations.

Advantages of working with a customs carrier

A customs carrier can transport goods throughout the Customs Union without applying measures to comply with customs transit ("customs carrier" is essentially a type of guarantee). He can also transport without convoy escort expensive goods, the value of customs fees for which exceeds the amount of TIR-carnet coverage.

Eugenia Golub: "When a cargo owner hires a customs carrier, he saves time and money.

Example. If the value of the cargo is a million euros, providing a guarantee of payment of customs duties under the normal procedure of customs transit will cost the customer from 700 to 900 euros. The customs carrier covers this guarantee. Of course, the carrier includes the costs of maintaining its status in the freight rate, but for the customer it is several times cheaper than buying a guarantee.

The convoy escort option, in addition to the direct costs, increases transportation time due to: waiting for the convoy (not always the convoy crew is ready to leave immediately), low speed of movement (the carrier himself would go faster), etc.

A customs carrier, as a rule, goes without inspections, which also takes time for a regular carrier. It makes it much easier to solve all sorts of contingencies in the transportation process. For example, if a truck breaks down on the way, we can electronically submit changes to the customs authority, another truck will pick up the cargo and deliver it the same day to customs. This is an additional guarantee of on-time delivery.

If the customs post changes during transportation, we can submit changes to the customs authority electronically and take a different route. A common carrier in such cases needs to go to the originally specified customs office".

Additional carrier reliability factors

As additional factors of reliability of the trucking company can be called increased attention to the safety of transportation for the cargo and driver.

Andrey Abragimovich: "The cargo safety is directly influenced by the characteristics of the rigidity of the semi-trailer and its lashing systems. All semi-trailers in TELS CARGO fleet comply with EN 12642 XL standard for body stability and are equipped with additional securing systems: 14-16 lashing straps (standard - 12), 40 anti-skid mats, 16 corners for securing of lashing straps and cargo edge, 2 crossbars for cargo locking.

TELS CARGO drivers are equipped with additional gear and personal protective equipment: helmet, safety jacket, goggles, leather boots with hard toes, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, all the necessary antiviral protection as well.

The average age of vehicles in the TELS CARGO fleet is 2.5 years, the maximum age is 5 years. Only foreign brands of tractors are purchased, in the configuration with automatic transmission, antilock system, cruise control and other options that are important for safety and driving comfort.

A full-time driver is also a safety factor (contracted drivers are always an increased risk). When drivers are hired, they are checked by our security service, their criminal records are reviewed, and psychological tests are conducted. Medical examinations are conducted before each trip.