Shipping line Maersk has launched a digital customs clearance platform, to help customers deal with complex shipping regulations. It claims to be the first container shipping company to offer the service.

Various rules must be followed to ensure traded goods enter and exit a country legally. But if a delay occurs, the entire shipping plan is affected, causing increased expense such as storage costs and fines, resulting in additional problems for importers and exporters, the Danish company said.

The service has initially been launched in Germany, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK, with the goal of expanding it across the world by the end of this year.

“This new one-stop-shop allows us to timely and efficiently handle export and import declarations for our customers,” said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer of A P Moller-Maersk. “The solution provides downstream benefits of full governance and compliance, eliminates the need to provide a quote as pricing is displayed online, saving three to five minutes per quote.

“In other words, it saves our customers time, money and headaches reducing the number of intermediaries they deal with from three or four to just one as well as [less] paperwork which subsequently reduces the time spent on transactional procedures: time saved they can then devote to grow their businesses.”

The ocean and customs clearance shipping management platform was piloted for almost two years in Germany.

Maersk says the new service will cover all types of cargo across all of its brands.