- 27. März 2019
The Customs in Hamburg presents its annual report for 2018 – Revenues total around 30.5 billion eurosChristian Schaade, as the first head of the ‘new’ Hauptzollamt Hamburg, which has become the largest Customs office in Germany as a result of the merger between its forerunners for the Port and City of Hamburg, and Tilman Lewitz as head of the Customs office at Hamburg Airport, presented an 2018 Annual Report for the region on 27 March.
“Last year my colleagues were able to book 30.5 billion euros for the Federal German budget and the European Union. These revenues underline Hamburg’s outstanding importance for the Customs administration,” said Christian Schaade, head of the new central office. "We not only ensure fair competition here in Hamburg, but are also acting daily to protect the interests of its citizens.”
Securing public revenues and combating smuggling
The Customs in Hamburg can report receipts of 29.1 billion euros for the German Federal Republic last year. This represented at least one-fifth of receipts for the entire Customs administration. The real heavyweights in these statistics are takings from Energy Tax of almost 16 billion euros and import-turnover tax of about 12 billion euros.
Booking 1.4 billion euros in dues for 2018, the Customs in Hamburg also makes a substantial contribution to the financing of the European Union. This total represents at least a quarter of all duties taken by Germany for the European Union.
Around 2,000 staff of the Hauptzollamt Hamburg, plus almost 160 Customs officers at the airport, are a vital element in protecting the economy of the European Union.
Daily Customs activity in Hamburg centres on clearing goods of all types. Especially in the area of brand and product piracy, clearance of goods in the port and the mails, innumerable discoveries continue to be made. “In combating brand piracy, we not only aim to secure jobs, but also consumer health. Most of the counterfeits fail to meet European Union regulations and can certainly cause physical damage,” said Manfred Lindloff, Deputy Head of Hamburg Customs. A total of 1.6 million counterfeits valued at around 54 million euros were discovered. The imitations confiscated by Hamburg Customs consisted primarily of products of the garment and toy industries.
The battle against international drug criminality, smuggling of wares attracting high duties and banned weapons, remains another major topic. In 2018, for example, Customs officers made 5000 interceptions during their checks. Among other, around 700 kilograms of cocaine were impounded.
Safeguarding the social welfare system
Illegal employment not only infringes rights and laws. It damages every single person. ‘Moonlighting’ and tax evasion confront the state and the social insurance system with immense challenges.
Christian Schaade on the theme of illegal employment: “Companies that employ their staff by the book cannot win the battle against competitors using undeclared workers to conduct their business. And it is precisely for such honest entrepreneurs that the Customs is wholly committed to fighting illegal employment.” Inspectors from the Illegal Work Department checked a total of 960 employers in 2018.
In this area:
- Around 11.6 million euros were lost to the system; and
- 2,416 prosecutions were brought.
The Customs at the airport
As part of the Itzehoe Customs Office, the Customs at Hamburg Airport is responsible for clearing air freight shipments as well as any goods taken along by travellers, and also for supervising and checking freight traffic from non-EU countries.
Around 950 million euros in import duties were levied for the European Union and the Federal Republic on air freight imported at Hamburg Airport in 2018. Customs officers cleared 476,691 import, export and transit goods entries in the process. “Even if the overwhelming majority of professional firms who reported work honestly, infringements are discovered again and again,” said Tilman Lewitz, head of the Zollamt. These occur mainly on product safety - 24 cases - and protection of species - 18 cases.
Travellers attempted to smuggle goods through Hamburg Airport in all sorts of ways during 2018. In the course of 40,561 checks, infringements of Customs regulations by 2,977 people were proven. Around 750,000 cigarettes and 184 kilograms of tobacco were confiscated. Non-reported currency amounting to around 550,000 euros was discovered. Smuggling of 278 kg of khat, 10 kg of opium, 5.4 kg of marihuana and 8.6 kg of cocaine was prevented.