Innovation at the heart of the WCO European workshop on disruptive technologies

25 May 2021

The second WCO regional experience-sharing workshop on disruptive technologies for European Customs administrations was held from 17 to 19 May 2021. The webinar was co-hosted by the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, supported by the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) Europe and held on a different online platform each day for a more dynamic and technology-focused experience.

The webinar was opened by the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Vice-Chairperson for the WCO Europe region, Mr. Safar Mehdiyev, the Director General of the Customs Administration of the Netherlands Customs, Ms. Nanette van Schelven, and the Director of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) Europe, Mr. Eser Çengel.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Mikuriya stressed that the response to COVID-19 has prompted contactless procedures and thus sped up the adoption of digital technologies by several years, witnessing the introduction or enhanced use of available electronic services. WCO regional workshops on disruptive technologies are aimed at ensuring progress to continue and further raise awareness of the possibilities that technological solutions could provide towards facilitating and better controlling cross-border movement of goods.

This experience-sharing webinar heard from European Member administrations, academia and the private sector on practices in implementing latest technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. Participants discussed the ongoing projects, forward-looking concepts and potential solutions for the future. Through break-out sessions, recommendations and lessons learnt were collected and will feed into the update of the WCO Study Report on Disruptive Technologies.

A half-day of the webinar was devoted to a dialogue with Brainport, Eindhoven, the Dutch Economic Mainport for innovation in technology. Entrepreneurs and startups developing solutions for other sectors presented solutions that could be of interest and relevance to the digital transformation journeys of Customs.

Over 80 participants from European Member administrations participated in this workshop that also focused on the relevance of international standards, such as the WCO Data Model, interoperability and systems integration, as well as on cyber security towards ensuring resilience of systems.

Other WCO regional webinars on disruptive technologies will continue in the next financial year.