Meet Our People: Customs Support International Customs and Compliance Director Nicolas Collart
In our series #WeAreCustomsSupport, you will meet the people behind Customs Support. We value our colleagues and the work they do. In this series, we will interview the people who are always ready to assist you with importing or exporting your goods without worries. Next up in this series is Nicolas Collart, International Customs and Compliance Director at Customs Support Group.
Who are you?
My name is Nicolas Collart, and I am 35 years old, born in Belgium yet living in Amsterdam since 2019. I was raised bilingual speaking French at home and Dutch at school. Although being from the capital, I studied Economics in Leuven and feel easily at home in the town where the Stella Artois beer originates from. Apart from occasionally enjoying a nice Belgian beer, I am proud to defend that Belgian chocolate is the best in the world.
Why did you move to the Netherlands?
I moved to the Netherlands, after having spent nearly 6 years in Switzerland for work. Apart from having an obvious link with the Netherlands, having a Dutch girlfriend for the last 12 years, it was good to return closer to home and be closer to family.
What does an International Customs and Compliance Director do?
International Customs is about managing the different Customs activities of the group. It is about aligning the processes and procedures applied in the different countries where Customs Support is active. Although within the EU we can base ourselves on the base rules laid out in the Union Customs Code we still see differences in practical implementation and how these rules are being interpreted.
Next to that Compliance is about issuing and implementing policies that ensure that the group is dealing with one set of internal rules. Last but not least it is about risk management and ensuring the company is always in control.
What does a typical working day look like?
I can happily say that there is no such thing as a typical day at Customs Support but a major part of my day consists of connecting with our colleagues in different countries and aligning on our processes. With this, it is about constantly spending time with our people to keep them informed about new compliance-related topics and liaising with our operational teams to assist with quality-related questions.
What do you like most about your job?
Without a doubt dealing with people from different countries and cultures. I enjoy learning from the experiences of our colleagues across Europe and using those experiences to hopefully bring our organization further every single day. Since joining Customs Support earlier this year I met so many different people and so everybody has been great. Helpful, supportive, knowledgeable, friendly. And with every new colleague I meet, I sense that desire to move forward, improve and bring our organization forward. That personally gives me a lot of energy.
And what if you are not at work?
Sports. Before my move to the Netherlands, I played field hockey in the top division leagues in Belgium and Switzerland. In both countries, I enjoyed success with my respective teams and team members by winning the Belgian National Championship (with KHC Leuven) and the Swiss National Championship (with Servette HC). The highlight in my hockey career came with reaching the semi-final of the European Hockey League. Since moving to Amsterdam, I started to run long distances and do marathons. Although I may miss team sports I still love the element of competition and pushing myself to achieve new goals.
Is that a quality you also use in your job?
Absolutely and in this respect my base approach is to be proactive in most of the things I undertake. From my career in sports, I took both my competitiveness and my drive to face whatever comes on my path. You can’t win by waiting around. You have to actively engage in a challenge when you are confronted with one. You need to be willing to undertake new things if you want to grow as an organization but also as a person.
Why Customs Support?
I love the dynamic nature of its business. In this new role, I am close to the action again. Close to that part of the supply chain where things happen. Customs Support is here to change the market and offer its customers the one-stop-shop that it has not previously had. The Customs Broker is such an essential and integral part of the supply chain! It’s great being a part of that. Talk about the supply chain in action! Supply chains are constantly moving and always current. It’s about more than just digital processes. It’s about moving actual goods and enabling global trade.