Welcome to the first of three blogs exploring the realm of Customs and Regulatory Compliance Management Solutions. This series of three blogs aims to help businesses navigate the Customs & Regulatory Compliance solution landscape supporting global trade.

This first blog sheds light on crucial aspects that often define the efficiency and effectiveness of cross-border operations. From demystifying the role of customs management software solutions to exploring the beneficiaries of these streamlined processes, all with the aim to help business decide on the best solution which fits their own specific needs.

What do Customs Management Software Solutions do?

Customs management software solutions, also known as customs brokerage software, are tools or software applications designed to facilitate and streamline the process of customs filing and compliance for importers and exporters.

container ship from above

An overview of what Customs Management Software Solutions typically offer

Document Preparation

Customs management software solutions assist in generating and managing the necessary documentation required for customs clearance.

Compliance Management

Use of these solutions can help ensure compliance with complex customs regulations and trade laws. Enabling you to ensure you have access to up-to-date information and the use of tariff codes. Some systems may hold trade agreements, duty rates, and other regulatory requirements to help importers and exporters classify their goods correctly and calculate applicable taxes and duties.

Integration with Customs Authorities

Customs management software often integrate with customs systems and platforms, allowing for direct submission of customs filings and documentation. This integration facilitates seamless communication and data exchange between businesses and customs authorities, improving efficiency and reducing the risk of errors or delays.

Duty and Tax Calculation

Some of these solutions can include features for automated duty and tax calculation or use the HMRC system responses for the applied duty and tax. Depending on your needs. By utilising accurate tariff and duty rate databases, the systems can help international traders be aware of the applicable customs duties, taxes, and fees for their shipments, ensuring accurate and timely payment.

Record Keeping and Audit Trail

Customs management software typically provide functionality for maintaining comprehensive records of customs filings, documentation, and transaction history. This record keeping helps businesses meet compliance requirements and provides an audit trail for future reference or in case of customs audits.

Overall, customs management software simplify and automate the process of customs compliance, reducing manual effort, minimising errors, and expediting customs clearance for businesses engaged in international trade.

Who Benefits from a Customs Management Software Solution?

Beyond being a technological upgrade, customs management software solutions hold the key to unlocking efficiency across a spectrum of industries, from multinational corporations to small and medium-sized enterprises. These tools can help:

  • Brokers using outdated solutions or government portals
  • Forwarders looking to enhance the offering to their customers
  • Traders looking to reduce costs and increase control
stacked containers

Types of in-house filing options

All in one option

All-in-one applications typically are designed around simplifying the process of starting up a global operation. They proudly wear a jack-of-all-trades badge, making starting up easier for businesses, but normally have a core focus such as freight management or warehouse management.


  • Everything in one place, reducing the number of systems to work with.
  • Great for businesses who are starting from scratch and want to simplify the setting up process.
  • Single point of contact for support.
  • Typically have native integrations between the modules in the system.


  • Businesses with more complex processes or plans to expand into a great variety of customs offerings will find themselves limited.
  • Typically operate within a closed ecosystem and are unable or unwilling to integrate with other systems.
  • Customs is secondary to the main application so typically not as easy to use and lacking in quality-of-life features that help when dealing with higher volumes or more complex processes.
  • Single point of failure from a systems and support perspective.

Specialised/Dedicated Customs Platforms

Specialised and dedicated customs platforms are typically focused solely on providing best-in-class solutions for customs filing and duty management. This makes them the ideal system for a businesses with a wide range of customs requirements, those looking for the most efficient operation, or companies who already have their other operations covered with existing systems.


  • Dedicated focus on providing best-in-class solutions for customs filing.
  • More likely to cover a wider range of customs processes and systems, future proofing against changing customs needs.
  • Typically designed to integrate with existing systems.
  • Dedicated focus on customs clearance, promoting ease of use and accessibility even at high volumes.
  • Typically have greater expertise relating to customs within their support and development teams.


  • Will not cover business needs outside of customs and compliance.
  • Data will be spread across different systems.
  • Can add complexity to infrastructure as integrations may be needed to link key systems.

If you are interested in delving deeper into each of these aspects and gaining a comprehensive understanding of what to look for when selecting a customs management solution, then contact us below. A Descartes customs management solution can not only help to meet your current needs but also offer solutions that can help you to seamlessly adapt to the dynamic nature of international trade.

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