ChannelPorts

Sector
Transport & Logistics
Company size
11-50

Since 1974, ChannelPorts has provided around-the-clock customs clearance support to traders moving goods through the Port of Dover. They deliver an essential service, ensuring that the import and export of goods to and from Britain are smooth and efficient. Resilience and unrivalled expertise enable ChannelPorts to continue to help drivers from around the world navigate the UK customs process. 

They have established themselves as market leaders and were named the UK’s leading neutral customs clearance agent. Their processes and systems have been adopted across the UK distribution industry, all thanks to their thirst for innovation.

The challenge

While the UK’s departure from the European Union impacts many industries, the customs clearance sector has been significantly affected. On a typical day, the staff at ChannelPorts process c.500 import and export entries. However, this represents just 5% of the total number of shipments coming across the Channel Tunnel. The remaining 95% move freely from the European Union tied by fewer regulations. 

With the end of the transition period fast approaching and the possibility of a no-deal exit, everyone expected dramatic changes in demand. ChannelPorts knew they needed to take action to cope with a projected increase of 3000% from 500 to 15,000 entries to be processed each day, mostly from traders with limited knowledge of the customs process. They recognised the critical role that technology and the automation of their current manual processes could play in facing this challenge, so they searched for an appropriate specialist.

After approaching several potential suppliers, ChannelPorts selected Geeks as the technology partner of choice. Geeks were confident and committed to delivering the solution within their very ambitious timescale of six weeks. The application needed to cope with the significant increase of shipments requiring customs clearance, using electronic filing and automation to expedite the process. With the Brexit deadline looming, rapid development was essential, and since the new regulations were not set in stone, the requirements went through various changes.

The solution

The project kicked off with a series of Solution Design workshops. In these, ChannelPorts explained their business processes and requirements and highlighted several paper-based processes with potential for automation. Geeks then produced a concept and a prototype using our proprietary wireframing software Visual Spec before swiftly moving into development. 

The outcome was CustomsPro, which allows electronic creation and filing of shipments coming into the UK and leaving the country. The software’s user-friendly workflow simplifies the process of customer and invoice management and creating and tracking shipments. The system validates data fields, and rules and logic help staff and clients complete and submit the required documentation quickly and accurately. 

Geeks also developed several APIs that can connect to ChannelPorts’ clients’ existing databases to create shipment records with information stored automatically. 

As the government was still in trade negotiations during development, Geeks needed to be agile to changing regulations and deadlines. CustomsPro was designed to be flexible, a robust software solution that would adapt perfectly to the rapidly changing times.