Success Story: Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication (FOITT)

Axway Integrator facilitates transit of goods for Swiss Customs

  • Headquarters

    Bern, Switzerland
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Provide a stable and secure platform for increasing volumes of electronic declarations, facilitating customs officers’ duties and speeding transit of merchandise

  • Solution

  • Results

    • A stable, secure and reliable connection platform that meets all key objectives
    • Improvements in service delivered a 20 percent reduction in transit clearance times
    • Quick and easy implementation of new message protocols
    • Scalable system to meet future challenges and growth requirements, such as a 30 percent increase in message volume
    • Skilful shipment and data control resulting in a decrease in smuggled goods entering the country

“With the upgrade to Axway Integrator, we’ve really future-proofed our system to handle the important growth in international trade and homeland security policies, resulting in a 30 percent increase in messages over the next few years.”

More than 1100 FOITT employees strive to ensure the effective operation of the communication equipment and IT applications used by the 37,000 employees of the Swiss Confederation. In 2010, FOITT managed an overall budget of CHF385 million. The FOITT reports to the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF), and has developed into the largest IT provider in the civil federal administration of Switzerland.

A key project managed by the FOITT is e-dec transit, part of the New Computerized Transit System in the European Union (NCTS). The NCTS is a Europe-wide computer system that enables traders to submit Community/Common Transit (CT) declarations electronically.

In 2008, Switzerland imported merchandise from the European Union in the amount of CHF155.6 billion, and exported merchandise to the EU valued at CHF132 billion.

Backbone of Federal Information Exchange Project

Meeting ambitious trade facilitation goals

The FOITT chose Axway as its technology partner to provide the connection platform for the exchange of 22 national and 35 international standard messages with EU (27 countries) and EFTA² (4 countries) member countries. The e-dec transit system also interconnects 3,000 customs offices, as well as 2,800 national enterprises, including importers, exporters, freight forwarders and trucking companies.

The e-dec transit solution has been implemented with five main objectives:

  1. Reduction of smuggling: Because of the immediate availability of electronic declarations, custom agents can quickly identify every truck in transit in Switzerland and physically verify freight shipments.
  2. Facilitate and accelerate transit procedures: Freight declarations and transportation documents are received in a timely manner, which means international transporters are less likely to experience delays in getting through customs. The transit procedure has been reduced by 1 ½ hours, translating to a time savings of about 20 percent.
  3. Rationalize resources: With the introduction of electronic documents and the resulting streamlining of procedures, fewer customs agents are required. The Federal Customs Administration has been able to re-assign customs agents to core business activities rather than using these valuable resources for processing administrative paperwork.
  4. Quick adaptation to the standards of EU, EFTA and national partners: More countries and trading partners are joining the EU, or requesting membership in the trade organization. As a result, more messages will be required as trade opens up with additional countries. Axway Integrator enables quick integration of new message protocols.
  5. Meet growing market requirements: One hundred and eighty thousand messages are exchanged daily through the e-dec transit system. The Federal Customs Administration anticipates an increase from 30,000 to 55,000 messages daily in the next few years.

“One of the things we value most about Axway is the reliability of its solution.”

Reliability and Stability

Ensuring the flow of economic trade

In addition to meeting the above objectives, FOITT places enormous emphasis on the reliability of the system. “One of the things we value most about Axway is the reliability of its solution. The e-dec system simply must not go down,” said Davide Saccomani, Project Leader, e-dec transit at the Federal Department of Finance, FOITT.

FOITT has chosen to implement a fully redundant system at its data center, with a third back-up system managed by the Swiss Army at another location. “The e-dec transit is really a critical system. If it failed, trucks would be stuck at custom offices all over the country, and the information would have to be recovered manually. This would cause tremendous delays and merchandise would not get delivered on time,” explained Saccomani.

Scalability to Accommodate New Players

As emerging markets enter international trade scene

It is estimated that message exchanges will increase by five percent this year, and an additional thirty percent in the coming years. In 2010, the system handled between 2.5 and 4 million messages per month.

Following a recent upgrade to Axway Integrator, the number of messages per minute managed through the system has increased by 6.5 times. The e-dec transit system now supports 16,000 messages per minute, and the system is far from being overloaded.

Saccomani concluded: “With the upgrade to Axway Integrator, we’ve really futureproofed our system to handle the important growth in international trade and home-land security policies, resulting in a 30 percent increase in messages over the next few years. In addition, the ease-of-use and flexibility of the system for the implementation of new protocols makes a big difference in the team’s work load, and enables us to quickly adapt to new standards over a secure information exchange.”

¹ Bundesamt für Informatik und Telekommunikation BIT
² European Free Trade Union

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