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Case Study I Our Collaboration with the UK's Largest Infrastructure Supplier

The Client

The UK’s largest infrastructure provider, BT Cargo Community Systems (CCS), works with governments and trade associations around the globe to support and serve the freight and logistics communities. 

An experienced partner with 30 years of logistics experience, BT CCS is a trusted connector of people, devices and machines, which opts to use innovative technology to keep deliveries on track and transform trade; proactively building a future supply chain that is flexible, interconnected and collaborative, to ensure businesses can absorb stress, adapt and thrive in even the most challenging of market conditions.

The Problem

BT CCS wanted to expand its reach and offer more integrated solutions for its existing communities in the post-Brexit UK, as it looked towards communicating and trading with the EU in its reformed state. 

From an import perspective, Brexit posed significant changes in UK systems as well as increasing regulatory requirements. The combined result meant traders were dealing with a much larger burden when it came to importing goods into the UK.

With this increased burden on traders importing into the UK came increased costs and a palpable shift in the way the customs industry now dealt with the charges in clearing consignments. Time-consuming processes and endless paperwork were threatening to prohibit some trade from taking place. 

Short transit times and long customs processing times meant that EU traders no longer had the ability to optimize trailer configurations before departing on ferries into the UK. Adding even more pressure to the supply chain. 

The problem centred around increased friction and cost between parties and the inability to create a step change in processes due to the increasingly complex customs and digital landscape in the UK in the post-Brexit environment. 

BT CCS needed a solution to remove the inefficiencies and frustrations in the current logistics and cross-border supply chain realm, streamline processes to reduce friction and cost for traders and increase visibility to the end-user while accelerating throughput at the border.

The Solution

Working in partnership with BT, alongside  His Majesty's Government (HMG) departments, we launched Rune - a groundbreaking automated custom clearance service.

Designed to save exporters, importers, and intermediaries significant time and money while streamlining and optimising customs clearance processes, Rune was built to make navigating products and materials from A to B as frictionless as possible.

A fully automated intelligence-driven solution Rune integrates with Verathread®, our proprietary workflow automation software to simplify complex import processes and eliminate border compliance barriers. It serves as a digital broker, declarant, and customs expert, reducing the risk of delays, errors, and costs that arise during cross-border trade. 

From streamlining key border compliance processes and automating duty payment challenges to ensuring compliance and clearance of goods before they arrive at the frontier; by making data visible to customs and border authorities, Rune enables them to facilitate the smooth movement of goods, particularly for trusted traders and processes.

The Verathread® platform on which Rune relies allows us to digitize the workflow process of border crossings for any mode of transport entering and leaving the United Kingdom’s borders. 

Whether the port is inventory-linked or non-inventory-linked, Rune is able to offer a standardized process to our customers, ensuring a compliant border crossing and delivering results in next to real-time. Data can be fed into the system through any interface imaginable. Whether through OCR, (optical character recognition), spreadsheets, API, Edifact or email, clearances can be initiated or results distributed accordingly. 

The Ongoing Benefits

Through Rune, traders are now able to gain response in customs clearances in a few minutes rather than hours dealing with multiple email exchanges and re-keying of data. 

Traders are no longer confined to responses taking place within working hours or weekdays.  Data and documents are transformed into validated data and clearances are sent back to operational staff in minutes allowing for the optimization of trailers through to UK ports.

This allows for increased visibility into the customs process, along with the assurance that transport and trailers will be cleared through UK ports. Similarly, these improved efficiencies allow for cost savings around administrational processes for cargo bound into the UK. 

Since Rune launched as part of the Ecosystem of Trust - the pilot program in partnership with the UK Government and BT to create a long-lasting global impact for those transporting cross-border goods within the UK - it has without doubt harnessed and fulfilled the potential of digital automation, including being involved in the very first UK Export to operate under the Electronic Trade Document Act (ETDA) to Singapore on the day the UK act came into force in September of this year. This event was celebrated at the top of the BT Tower in association with the International Chamber of Commerce.

The report assessing the outcomes of Ecosystem of Trust - released by the UK Government, Cabinet Office, and International Chamber of Commerce in Q3 of 2023 - stands as a testament to the entire initiative's success, as well as that of Rune: 

  • 40% cost reduction on customs clearances using Rune 

  • 75% reduction in paperwork using Rune

  • Enhanced supply chain data boosted frontline targeting team confidence, reducing decision-making time by up to 17%

  • Supply-chain data can fulfil 80% of customs' minimum risk requirements and 60% of trade statistics needs.

  • Up to £225m of administrative burden saved per annum when automating customs declarations. It will likely reduce the industry’s customs data collection costs by 40%.

Azarc® has been on this journey of digitizing trade with the United Kingdom’s Cabinet Office for almost a decade now. 

Prior to Brexit, discussions took place around the creation of utility platforms for traders coming in and out of the United Kingdom and crossing its borders. With the onset of Brexit and the increase of declarations across our borders, our Rune solution in partnership with BT began to take shape. 

Three years later Rune now offers services to some of the highest frequency multi-modal traders in the United Kingdom. As we work globally to continue to build on this momentum. Maximizing the usage of  Rune and its capabilities, we’re learning that the automation can:

  • Make things simpler - reducing errors by 80%

  • Reduce friction - increasing operational efficiency by 50%

  • Reduce costs - saving 30% across labour alone

  • Free up talent to focus on more important business tasks - the 24/7 solution increasing concurrent processing by 200%

The continued expansion of the Rune solution has only been made possible by consistent interaction across the entire trading ecosystem. Partnering with BT, taking part in the Cabinet Office’s Ecosystems of Trust project alongside C4DTI and ICC and onboarding international and domestic traders. This progress has only been possible through real-world interaction with trade, allowing us to deliver value to all parties who move goods across UK borders.

What they said | Nick Weaver, Director of BT Cargo Community Systems (CCS) and Rune partner: "Partnering with Azarc® to launch the Rune project was something that excited me from the off. Since Brexit, the UK has been beset with supply chain disruption and increased costs for importers, hauliers, and exporters alike. 

Many people have been talking about this concept, but Azarc® as a company - with its Rune product - has it in operation today, in real situations, with customers enjoying the benefit of efficiency, certainty, and cost savings daily, providing automated customs clearance in seconds - not hours.

The team at Azarc® not only bring to BT the workflow engine that is Verathread®, which forms the core of Rune, but their knowledge of the maritime industry and supply chain sector which has been invaluable in delivering savings and efficiencies for those that become Rune users. Rune provides a disruptive play in Supply Chain economics and I look forward to a long Rune partnership with Azarc®."

Get in touch with our sales team today to discuss how Verathread® can support your business. E: to book a 1-2-1 call with our team and experience a demo.

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