Meet Our People: Anis Rajhi

Operations Director, France

Welcome to our exclusive series of “Meet Our People” where we provide you with an exclusive look behind the scenes to introduce you to the dedicated individuals who drive the Customs Support team. These passionate professionals play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of our mission: empowering your global trade.

In this edition, we are excited to present Anis Rajhi, who is our operations director in France.

Join us as Anis his experience and insights in this article.

Who are you?

I’m Anis Rajhi, 42 years old, working for Customs Support in France. I am married, have two young children, and live in Lyon – which is where our head office is in France.

I joined Customs Support as an operations manager following the acquisition of Tournebize, and recently became the operations director for France.

What does a director of operations in France do?

My role is to manage all of the offices in France, from Le Havre to Marseille. What that means is that it’s my responsibility to ensure that we have the right people in the right positions for each workflow. 

Whether it’s by air, sea, or road, we need to have a specialist with the necessary experience in place for every point of the flow – starting with commercial and onboarding and then all the way through to operations and compliance. This transfer of knowledge and responsibility is what I manage. 

What does your typical working day look like? 

I need to check my emails and any urgent tasks that my team or clients need me to give attention to. After this, I work with the commercial department to ensure that they have everything they need for the flows they are collaborating with customers on. 

It’s important that I have awareness of the capacity we have and any issues that need addressing, so I am also in daily contact with our team leaders across our various offices. 

You’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. Tell us about your career

I did my bachelor’s degree in economics, followed by a specialisation in international trade from a further two years of study.

During those additional two years, I did an internship at customs and a customs degree. This is where I developed a passion for customs and pursued the logistics industry further. I did another year of studying transport and logistics school, where I took more customs lessons.

These customs lessons were taught by Mr Tournebize who was the founder of Tournebize company and asked me to work with them. I accepted a role as a declarant, and was grateful to have him as my mentor until he sold the company to Customs Support in 2021.

What makes you so passionate about customs compared to economics and logistics?

What I love is that the customs industry is constantly evolving, so it stays challenging and interesting. We not only have to know about the regulations in our own country, but also the goings on of the world in general. 

Of course, right now there are sanctions against Russia with the conflict in Ukraine, and this also includes restrictions against supply chains involving Russian iron and steel. This demands much more knowledge than looking at a country of origin, but also how these supply chains work and potential threats to noncompliance. And this is only one example. 

How have your French customers benefitted from the upgrade from a France-wide to a Europe-wide customs partner?

Our team is now involved in a larger variety of customs operations, both inside and outside of France. This has helped our people expand their knowledge and obtain a deeper understanding of what we can do in certain situations.

Furthermore, we now have more subject experts at our disposal. Instead of researching ourselves and having legislation open to interpretation, we often have the guidance of a customs consultant who can give us a more complete answer in less time.

It’s been good for our other skills as well. Personally, I use English a lot more now that we are working at a multinational level, and I am a much more confident speaker of it. It’s also been good for me to interact with other directors and C-level executives across our network – it’s a big opportunity for networking and professional development.

What do you like to do when you're not at work, and how does that benefit your work skills?

I love sports. They help me to be healthy in both my mind and my body. Being active helps me to relieve stress, to process the issues of the day, and also to take a break from those problems. I play football once a week and run three times a week. In the Winter, I snowboard on the weekends. 

It’s important to stay healthy and not let stress build. You cannot do your best work if you are not leading in your health and your mind.

What is the most important thing a client should look for in a customs partner?

We must have good knowledge of customs regulations and how goods are classified as a minimum, but what separates us is having a good relationship with the authorities and providing a great service to our customers. We can give or find answers quickly in this way.

You work with the Europe-wide network. If you were to visit a location of Customs Support, which city or country would you want to see first and why?

I would like to go to our head office in Rotterdam. I work closely with several colleagues there and it would be nice to visit them.