Goes Down Smooth:  Faster customs clearance through electronic filing

Heineken is one of the world’s great brewers operating 140 breweries in more than 70 countries. The company is committed to the responsible marketing and consumption of its more than 200 international premium, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders. Heineken owns and manages one of the world’s leading portfolios of beer brands and is one of the world’s leading brewers in terms of sales volume and profitability.


How does a leading U.S. importer enhance customer service and bring additional consistency to the company’s import process? At Heineken USA’s headquarters in White Plains, New York, a significant step has already been taken that benefits not only customers and Heineken’s operations but the company’s bottom line, too.


Heineken’s goal was to make the import process as efficient as possible. Working in close collaboration with BDP, the world’s premium beverage-maker began utilizing Remote Location Filing (RLF), the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection’s (Customs) program that enables importers to file clearance documentation covering multiple ports of entry electronically – as in paperless – from one location. Heineken started using RLF in the late 1990’s. Today it covers just about every port to which the company ships, including Heineken’s primary ports of Baltimore, Charleston, Houston, Port of Long Beach, Miami, Seattle, Oakland, Boston and New York.

“This is part of our continued focus to increase customer service with distributors and customers while building business partnerships with larger resources such as BDP,” said Heineken USA’s Transportation Planning Manager.

BDP handles all RLF set-up steps for Heineken. It starts with application letter(s) to U.S. Customs of the intent to file electronically, as well as all cargo release entry data. Next, the Customs staff reviews and approves the RLF application. Because BDP often has the majority of the necessary client data already existing within its systems network, RLF is painless.

“Getting up and running with RLF is as simple as that at BDP,” stated Kathleen Crawford, Manager of Regulatory Compliance for BDP. “The entire filing procedure can take only a few hours instead of days. In fact, the average turnaround time for a release is four hours. We’re pleased to be able to see our clients’ paperwork for entries dramatically reduced, or even eliminated.” BDP currently processes over 600 containers per month for Heineken. As a result, Heineken distributors around the nation are clearing inbound shipments more quickly, and providing the accuracy and compliance demanded by Customs.

According to Heineken, “because transportation and logistics is very detailed oriented, BDP personnel are well trained, and there is a consistency of knowledge which makes the clearance of shipment much easier.”