* First of all, could you briefly describe UGM?
Ünsped Gümrük Müşavirliği ve Lojistik Hizmetler A.Ş.(UGM) is one of the leading companies in the industry offering warehouse, customs brokerage, logistics and foreign trade consultancy services at the highest standards with its 38 years of experience, extensive service network in 27 cities and 53 service points, total 1350 professional employees of which 67 are customs broker and 246 are assistant customs broker and about 100 motorcycled courier services, 9,17 score received from corporate management rating agencies, ISO quality certificates and other certificates, development academy for educational purpose and on-site temporary storage locations. Approximately 9% of the customs declarations traded in Turkey annually are produced by UGM.
Our company has the first and only R & D Center in its sector authorized by the Ministry of Industry and Technology. With the Data Integration Program, we perform all kinds of system and data integration with our business partners, saving time by reducing the error rate to a minimum and we can make instant measurements on the basis of KPI.
With the industry-first “e-mobile” application and the “customer work portal” serving in 5 languages, we provide our customers with the opportunity to follow all customs clearance processes and access all kinds of reports from smartphones and tablets instantly and we also offer “tailor made” reports.
We offer professional services for incentive and stat benefits, customs and foreign trade legislation consultancy and Authorized Liability Status (YYS), conduct pre-audits and process and complete inward processing documents, investment incentive certificates, YYS and approved person status certificates.
* How does the system we call Blockchain transform ways of offering products and services? What are the benefits of this system for international organizations like yours?
Three features of Blockchain technology stand out: its distributed architecture, which allows each copy of data to be kept on thousands of nodes on the network, and its resistance against attack; its transparency/controllability, which allows us to track all operations on the network; its indelible/unmodified structure, which prevents processing of the generated data. With these features, Blockchain will provide great convenience in resolving disputes experienced by more than one stakeholder. The fact that data stored in Blockchain-based infrastructures cannot be changed and cryptographically security/privacy can be ensured, companies will be effective in evaluating this technology.
If integration is achieved at the corporate and international level, Blockchain will enable technology innovation in the field of Customs and foreign trade. Speed, simplification and security are very important in customs and foreign trade transactions. Considering that a 4-day wait at customs is equal to 0.5% customs duty, the importance of using technology to reduce waiting costs and facilitate operations is even clearer.
With Blockchain applications to be made with all interested parties in the foreign trade chain from exporter to importer, foreign trade processes will be shortened; duplications will be prevented, data security will be provided at the highest level, bureaucracy will be reduced, productivity will increase. Due to the large number of applications and projects for digitalization such as Single Window System, paperless declaration in export, NCTS, one of the sectors where Blockchain can still be used most efficiently and easily is undoubtedly the customs clearance sector.
* What kind of change do you estimate to be introduced by Blockchain in the future? How do you foresee the impact of this technology on your industry?
Blockchain will directly affect many sectors such as retail, health, energy, public, banking, real estate, supply chain management. This technology is projected to create many sectors over the next 5 to 10 years. It would not be wrong to say that, especially with smart contracts, all trade will change shape.
By transferring the entire foreign trade process from exporter to importer to the Blockchain in foreign trade transactions, the use of this technology will become possible on an international scale. In other words, the data in the documents issued by the exporter at the exit from a country A will also be used by the importer in country B. In this way, value, tariff, origin and regime fraud, double bill events can be prevented. This is preferable for both public authorities and honest/accountable companies. Of course, it will be encouraging for companies that will use this system to offer extra easiness at customs. The Blockchain technology in foreign trade will be a very appropriate development, especially in terms of the trade facilitation agreement that our country is a party to.
* What are your policies as UGM to take advantage of new technologies and adapt to systems around the world?
UGM has made significant investments in Information Technology and established its R & D Center in 2019 as one of the first in its sector. More than 20 IT specialists are currently working on Blockchain, artificial intelligence and other IT technologies at this center. Our company exhibits active cooperation in the field of Blockchain with universities, stakeholders of the Turkish Blockchain platform of which our company is a member, public institutions and technology companies. Also, international developments are closely monitored and pilot applications are carried out with multinational companies that are our business partners. Our company will be in the most ready position on the axis that our country will implement Blockchain applications with 3rd countries through mutual cooperation and recognition agreements.
National and international projects and articles are also closely followed and post- graduate education in IT is encouraged in new employment and in our existing staff.
As UGM, we support the innovative point of view of our employees, reward our project producing staff, and direct each employee to produce ideas and projects with the concept of “I have an idea”. We contribute to the development of R & D culture within UGM by providing awareness trainings to all our staff. Our goal is to implement the best practices that will be an example in the world for our customers by benefiting from IT technologies.