Driving safety and sustainability

How Customs Support’s Safety department helps to protect supply chains
ID. Buzz

Safety, welfare, and the environment are all concerns in logistics. So, how can we mitigate the harmful effects we have in supply chains? Head of Safety Rinus de Bruijn discusses in this article.

What does Customs Support’s Safety department do?

Our safety department has nothing to do with our customs clearance service, and is a separate business line. We operate in the Netherlands, providing a safe working space and experienced hands for measuring and ventilating dangerous gases.

We have two main offices: one in Venlo and the other in Rotterdam. With more than 35 gas measurement experts all over the Netherlands, we can conduct gas measurements at our clients’ premises in as little as ten minutes.

What we do is test the gas level of your container using specialised equipment. When the gas concentration is too high, we forcefully ventilate the container until the gas concentration is at a safe level for entry. The venting of a container (it takes +- 24 till 48 hours) is mostly carried out at a nearby inland terminal or at our own (drive-in) depot in Rotterdam.

Additionally our safety academy provides training for warehouse personnel who work with dangerous gases to ensure that they are operating safely and with awareness. Entering a container that is filled with dangerous gases is a huge risk to a person’s health, so we work to protect people by educating them on gas safety procedures.

You’ve recently acquired an electric car; can you tell us about that?

The Customs Support Safety team is made up of more than 50 people, who carry out off-site inspections every single day. This requires a lot of travelling, sometimes up to 500km in a single day for one of our operators, so we have a fleet of 35 cars that we use to get around.

Most of our cars are diesel-run Volkswagen caddies, which are reasonably fuel efficient. However, our latest purchase was a VW ID Buzz. The Buzz was rated the 2023 car of the year for its combination of practicality, comfort, economic performance, and the use of recycled components in its build.

Whilst it has been a learning curve switching to an electric vehicle, we are confident with the substitution. Since the range of an electric car is increasing, it is becoming more viable for us to replace our fleet entirely.

What other sustainability initiatives do you have?

Something we are testing is filters for the gases we ventilate. In Rotterdam we already venting with filters, but most gases that are ventilated elsewhere are directly released into the atmosphere. Whilst most are harmless once they mix with oxygen, there are some that we would benefit in capturing rather than releasing.

Otherwise, we do not have a great deal of opportunity within our scope. We do not enter containers or dispose of any waste, so the customer is in control of how green they want to be within this function while we make sure their employees can work safely with the containers and goods

Do you need help with gas safety in The Netherlands?

Contact Customs Support for more information our services today.

Rob Gielen
Rob Gielen
Head of Customs Support Safety