Technological developments continue apace, along with relentless increases in the flow of declarations. This is why Dutch Customs are under constant pressure to innovate, to make processes more efficient, and to render controls more effective and, where possible, more predictable, all with the aim of continuing to bolster our enforcement role and also the competitiveness of the European Union and the Netherlands in particular. This is why we continue to invest in innovation. Along with data analysis, detection technology plays an important role in the Dutch Customs’ supervising activities. To give an example, we use detection gates at Schiphol Airport and the Port of Rotterdam to identify the illegal transport of radioactive and nuclear goods.

In order to minimize disruptions to logistic flows, all major terminals at the Port of Rotterdam are equipped with their own X-ray scanner. As the scanners are networked, scan images can be exchanged in real time and analysed at multiple locations. For containers transported by rail, we use a scanner that screens containers as they pass by at a speed of some 60 kilometres per hour. We are working on algorithms for these scanners that will enable us to automatically identify as many risks as possible. This will allow us to carry out more checks more effectively using fewer staff. We are also experimenting with the use of drones (for tracking suspect consignments), along with camera surveillance.

Innovation agenda

With a view to introducing further innovations to the supervision process, we have brought together the most important topics from the Pushing Boundaries vision to create an innovation agenda. The aim of the innovation agenda is twofold: Dutch Customs actively and deliberately consider the issues that are important in terms of the cross-border movement of goods, while at the same time carrying out research into the latest science and scanning businesses to determine their suitability for the Dutch Customs. The areas involved are:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Distributed Ledger Technology (including Blockchain)
  • Internet of Things
  • Data-driven supervision
  • Robotics
  • Sensor technology
  • Social innovation
  • Physical Internet

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