Undoubtedly, for SANDRO AXISA, Senior Manager of Express Trailers’ Customs Clearance operations, Brexit and its ramifications on the company’s operations have been his biggest headache for the past months. Procedures that have been in place for many long years, have suddenly seen a total upheaval.
“It’s a big challenge but I keep remembering that no matter the situations we face, the most rewarding aspect of my job remains that of providing the highest level of service to our clients, gaining their trust and getting positive feedback from both our clients and colleagues,” he says.
Sandro started his career in logistics 27 years ago with his work evolving throughout the years and along the constant development of the industry. Three years ago, he joined Express Trailers as a Customs Clearance and Documentation Manager.
“When I started, I did not know much about shipping but after a few months I started realising how interesting and challenging this job was. I discovered a career that allowed me the opportunity to deal with a variety of imports/exports and by time I started increasing my knowledge and even had the chance to work with various companies from different sectors. This not only helped me gain further experience, but it obviously brought me to the level where I am today.”
Sandro’s main responsibilities are to ensure that all his team feels confident in what they do and that they are capable of handling all requirements needed for customs clearance, in a way that allows them to guide our clients and colleagues to what is needed. “It is important to know that once the cargo arrives in Malta, we have everything in place to clear the goods from customs as soon as possible without any delays and with utmost efficiency. A lot of this also depends on the very good relationship I have managed to build with Customs over the years. It is a relationship built a lot on trust and maintained and improved by honesty and good work.”
Everyone knew Brexit was going to be a big headache.
“Yes correct. Brexit was, and still is, a big headache. Everything is still very new even though we have slowly started finding our feet again because we are doing our best to remain up to date and increase our knowledge by attending meetings and networking with other stakeholders.”
“One of the major changes that Brexit brought about is the fact that, whereas before no customs clearance was required for import or export from or to the UK, now customs clearance has become a requirement. This bureaucratic process has drastically increased our workload which not only involves longer hours to process but we also have to spend a lot of time dealing with enquiries from abroad regarding procedures and documents needed for imports into the EU.”
“Although we are used to clearing cargo from non-EU countries, different procedures needed to be applied for all cargo arriving from the United Kingdom. This also involves lengthy communications with Customs to be sure that all is being done correctly. All this obviously, also meant shipping delays.”
Sandro explains that another major challenge over the past months was to inform all Express Trailers’ clients with all the requirements, certificates, and documentation they will need to import from the UK.
“Since the UK is one of the major countries that Malta imports foodstuffs from, it was a headache and still is since foodstuff requires various certificates and approvals from health authorities. Some of the UK exporters were not aware which documents had to be issued from their side so things at one point, got really complicated. Nonetheless, our daily work and the experiences we encounter through serving our clients are obviously sharpening our learning curve.”
“Things are already improving and over the coming months, clients will have gotten used to all procedures – something which will ease our workload,” he added.
“In the end, no matter what our work entails, we know that we are surrounded by very knowledgeable and experienced people who have been through a lot of challenging scenarios and come out strong.”
“This is the main advantage of working with a company like Express Trailers: knowing that we are working in an environment where there is not only respect between management and staff but a genuine commitment to help us all become logisticians and experts in what we do. This is how we can keep serving our customers with excellence,” concluded Sandro Axisa.
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