Hemisphere appoints Alex Dunbar as Customs Manager

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By Louis Perrin

As we progress towards the busiest time of year in logistics, it’s our pleasure to officially announce the arrival of Customs Manager Alex Dunbar. Alex brings an entire career in logistics to serve our clients well.

Hi Alex, welcome to the Hemisphere team! What does your role involve?

I look after the Customs Clearance team, a growing team of customs experts. Our job is to keep up to date with new customs clearance regulations and to apply this knowledge to provide a compliant and efficient service to our clients. 

What do Hemisphere clients need your team for?

Customs trading agreements are complex and changing. What we do is simplify this so that customers can get their imports and exports where they want them to go and facilitate their businesses success in trading globally.  

Tell us about a standard day…

As well as all the standard import and export customs requests, we get lots that don’t fit the mould. We may have clients looking to import goods temporarily, which we can help to import under a Temporary Import regime, or help facilitate getting the goods on an ATA Carnet. We have goods that may require an import or export licence, or Port Health certificates and checks, and we ensure those regulations are adhered to whilst making it as simple and efficient as possible for the client.  We have the know-how to navigate the maze for the best solution, no matter the cargo or mode of transport. 

How did you get into logistics?

I went straight into shipping from school. I worked on the imports side, as well as gaining experience in Far East trade. However it’s the customs part that struck a chord with me.

What do you love about your job?

Problem solving is a big part of it. We get customers coming to us with all sorts of challenges. They say: “Here’s what the goods are. How can we get them in and out of the country?” It’s basically coming up with the most efficient way to solve that puzzle, whilst remaining compliant with all the regulations.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

When I arrived at Hemisphere, the team were part way through their transition to CDS and we’re now well ahead of the game. This philosophy applies to Hemisphere generally – we want to be the front runners in any new system/regulation that’s coming in.

Tell us about the challenges in your area…

CDS is a challenge, but it’s a challenge for everyone. Instead of seeing it as a barrier, I see it as a chance to revisit and question the way the industry does things. Keeping up with changing regulations, especially around foodstuffs and animal products will keep life interesting!

What are you excited about for the future?

We’re a great team here in Customs Clearance and I’m excited to keep on improving how we do things. We’re excited about expanding the team too – we’re at the tail end of CDS for imports but we have to do it for exports too. So, there will be plenty to get stuck into.

What would you say to anyone considering logistics as a career?

Go for it! Growing up in Felixstowe, I saw containers everywhere so shipping can feel like the easy boring option, but it’s not! Shipping isn’t just one industry – it encompasses so many things. It’s a massively rewarding and varied career if you want to push yourself.

Why did you decide to work for Hemisphere?

Initially, it felt like a massive move to leave the company where I’d spent 17 years, but it quickly felt like a no-brainer. I enjoy the customs side; I’ve got a great team and Hemisphere’s set-up and culture is perfect for me.

What value does your team bring to Hemisphere clients?

Our dedicated customs team means that clients can trust us to handle time-sensitive EU clearances efficiently. We enjoy challenges and coming up with cost effective solutions. Basically, we put in 100% effort – and we know what we’re doing!

And finally… What else should we talk to you about?

I’m a drummer in a Pink Floyd tribute band, A Saucerful of Floyd. We play regularly to audiences in and around Suffolk and Essex so feel free to check us out!