The digitisation of the ATA Carnet system simplifies and expedites the carnet process
Europe - Business West, one of the UK’s largest Chambers of Commerce, and EFM Global, international logistics consultant for live events and special projects, have successfully transported camera equipment from Heathrow to Brussels and back using a digital carnet. This is claimed to be the world’s first demonstration of a digital carnet in action.
When commercial goods, such as musical equipment for a touring band, are exported temporarily, it is typically by way of ATA Carnets. Referred to as ‘passports for goods’, ATA Carnets can contain more than one hundred pieces of paper, requiring numerous physical authorisation stamps.
For a large-scale movement of goods, such as those involved in an international tour, there could be suitcases full of paper-based ATA Carnets, which need to be kept and looked after, as loss or incorrect use can incur significant delays and costs.
Brexit has seen the number of carnets rise significantly for UK-based companies - carnets are now used for the movement of goods into and out of the EU - in addition to over 50 other countries across the globe.
The digitisation of the ATA Carnet system simplifies and expedites the carnet process. It also reduces the risk of carnet loss or damage and slashes the environmental impact.
Temporary exporters can apply via a digital platform and download an app, which produces a QR code that customs officers can scan and then digitally stamp the carnet. This has been in development by the International Chambers of Commerce for several years, working to achieve proof of concept and adoption by pilot countries’ customs authorities.
Business West and EFM Global have been working with UKNATACO (UK National ATA Carnet Organisation), which oversees the operation of ATA Carnets in the UK, to ensure this ‘world first’ was a success.
James Monk, commercial director, Business West, said: “We have listened to our customers and are committed to improving the temporary export process. We really needed to bring carnets into the digital age and this first complete journey shows that the process works. More countries will come on board and help aid the flow of temporary exports. We are passionate about innovation, increasing levels of trade and making life easier for our clients.”
Mike Llewellyn, group CEO at EFM Global, commented: “The digital carnet is a massive step for international freight. It will make the system quicker, more efficient, and we were determined to be involved with the first, ground-breaking shipment using that technology.”

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