Customs Risk Analysis

 From a Customs perspective the last decade has been one which has been increasingly characterised by the impact of globalisation:

  • rapidly increasing internationalisation and liberalisation of trade – leading to a substantially increased volume of international trade, with the concomitant efficiencies of production and delivery (just in time delivery), sophistication and complexity of products and services and the growth of e-commerce;
  • increasing avoidance, evasion and fraud - which is tending to become increasingly organised and is also taking on an international dimension in concert with the internationalisation of trade and the free movement of goods, people and capital;
  • increasing security threats to society - particularly in the aftermath of the events of 11. September. Here again the threats are no longer local in nature but are tending to take on an international dimension.

This situation is not only of a different nature from anything seen previously. It is also of a considerably different dimension from anything faced previously. This poses a considerable challenge to the Customs community - a challenge which is characterised by the apparently contradictory role of ensuring facilitation of trade and of maintaining the necessary controls in an increasingly 'hostile' environment.

In helping to support Customs authorities in facing these challenges, ESKORT offers a comprehensive risk analysis capability which can be configured to support a variety of different customs usages, both real time (transaction-based) and batch oriented - such as trader accreditation, clearance, pre-clearance and anti-smuggling, audit case selection, passenger screening, generation of intelligence information and more.

Clearance risk analysis is one the key usages of ESKORT. Most customs clearance systems have some elementary level of point scoring capability to support the basis clearance requirement of categorizing shipments into a number of risk channels. However this elementary capability is not enough in the light of today’s threats and challenges. First of all it is not sophisticated enough to detect less obvious risk situations; second of all it is not flexible enough to meet the continually changing face of risk; third of all it typically draws on a limited data set; and finally it is not linked into an overall risk profile of the trader as whole. ESKORT provides a unique risk analysis capability that can be plugged into most clearance systems providing the enhanced risk analysis that is necessary to meet the customs challenges of today.

Another major usage of ESKORT is in the development of multi-dimensional risk profiles of so-called risk objects – traders, passengers, transporters etc. The different profiles generated by the risk analysis engine of ESKORT enable customs officers to focus on different aspects of risk according to the different situations they are confronted with – for example one profile might be more relevant when accrediting traders, another when selecting traders for post-clearance financial investigation and yet another for intelligence related work.

The key benefits of the ESKORT Risk Analysis System include:

  • increased organisational efficiency and efficacy in that limited resources need only be allocated to cases with high priority need for attention, seen in the context of the ruling compliance policy and organizational objectives (e.g. trade facilitation against the need to ensure public security);
  • exceptional configurability – which amongst other things enable the system to:
    • be used in both real time and batch situations – thereby enabling coverage of all customs risk requirements;
    • analyse risk in a multitude of different dimensions concurrently, providing the user with a variety of risk perspectives from which to plan and undertake compliance and enforcement activities;
    • handle complex, multi-dimensional data sets with, amongst other things, a complex periodic structure;
    • be configured to handle any declaration types when used in the clearance context.

In order to support the configurability of the system, 2 sets of tools are provided to the user organization.

    • The first is a powerful knowledge administration environment which enables super users to set develop complex risk models, to define the overall environment within which risk analysis is to take place (amongst other things which data is relevant for the particular type of analysis) and to establish how the risk analysis should take place (real time, batch, in response to what events etc.).
    • The second set is a very easy to use tool set aimed at ordinary customs officers and enables them to easily and dynamically develop (primarily via point and click) operational risk rules and change threshold values within the framework of the risk model defined by the super users.
  • provides the organization with ability to link pre-clearance and clearance risk analysis into a broader context of trader risk – both by enabling transaction oriented risk analysis to feed into the overall development of trader risk profiles and by enabling the trader risk profiles to influence the risk analysis of the individual transactions;
  • can be plugged into any third party clearance system that conforms to industry interfacing standards – the system is currently be used (or in the process of being introduced) within the context of 4 different clearance systems;
  • high throughput of processing, being optionally available in a multi-processing version.