Meet Our People: Declarant Renate Storm


In our new series #WeAreCustomsSupport, you will meet the people behind Customs Support. We value our colleagues and the work they do. We Are Customs Support. In this series, we will interview the people that are always ready to assist you and help you import or export your goods without worries. Second in the series is Customs Support Group Declarant Renate Storm.

Who Are You?

“My name is Renate Storm. I’m 41 years old and I’m a born and raised Rotterdam woman.

I have been working in the world of customs for over 20 years, first at companies like Burger, MOL Logistics, and Ziegler. And for almost 2 years now I have been working for Customs Support as a consultant.

Currently, I am a declarant, and my speciality is the classification of goods, VAT, import tariffs. I also train colleagues and teach them everything there is to know about classification”

What Does a Typical Working Day Look Like for You?

“I am an all-day troubleshooter. From the moment I walk in, until the moment I walk out. I support management with the large flow of emails. I have been part of management myself earlier in my career, but I prefer being closer to the fire on the floor, where the action is.

The more complex the problem, the more I like it. Diving into the customs law books, looking for a solution to a customer issue and creating a solution for them. I love a challenge, whether it is that complex problem that I need to get to the bottom of or a huge stack of documents that need to be processed with urgency.”

Sounds Like You Thrive in a Dynamic Environment

“Oh, I do. And I am in the middle of one every day. Some see working in a customs operation as boring work, but I can’t understand why. There are so many different things you have to deal with. Not one day is the same. There is always somebody that needs help, whether it is a customer or a colleague”

You Like Helping Others

“Yes! There’s nothing better than jumping in and helping somebody. Even better if they weren’t expecting it. Being in tune with your surroundings and sensing when somebody needs something. Whether it’s at work, at home, or among friends. I love doing that, and I also love seeing others do that.”

Is That How Your Co-Workers See You?

“I guess. We often work under pressure and tight deadlines, with demanding customers. It’s at times like that, that I like to crack a good joke. When the pressure is high it is important to laugh together. You can get back to work refreshed and ready to beat the deadlines. It’s what makes our office a fun place to work. I believe every company needs such a positive work environment.”

Your Specialty is Classifying Goods. What is Most Important for 2020?

“Being proactive when it comes to getting your goods classified. The sooner we know what our customers want to import or export, the sooner we can look into what needs to be done. Correctly classifying products saves a lot of time at customs. There may be certificates or other documents that need to be created to import or export the products or a permit may need to be obtained. When documents are not in order, containers get left behind at the freight terminal, which will lead to unnecessary demurrage costs.
We need to be proactive ourselves as well and make sure our customers are well informed about changing tariffs or updates on classifications for example. The same goes for informing our own people. Sharing information is key. The same goes for sharing knowledge”

Sharing Knowledge?

“Yes. In the 20 years, I have been working in logistics and customs operations I have gained a lot of knowledge. It’s a waste to keep all that knowledge and experience to yourself. I love sharing mine. Customs Support keeps growing and that means we hire new people regularly. It’s great to train them and teach them all I know about classifying goods and other customs related processes. It’s one of my favourite parts in my role.

What Is One of the Biggest Challenges?

“Some of our customers have really specific questions related to Customs Laws. You need to dig deep and dive into the laws, rules, and regulations and find the right laws to clarify the issue, or solve the customer’s problem. I love that part as well.”

Why Customs Support?

“Everybody can be who he or she is. You are good just the way you are. Everyone respects each other. We all work hard, but there is room for a good laugh as well. We also have a lot of knowledge and experience embedded in our company. It’s great to share that and learn from each other. It means we’re getting even better and smarter every day.”

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