case study / European Wood Corporation

EWC: "Digital certificates of origin save us days of waiting time"

Is this your daily procedure:

You fill in your certificate of origin on the computer, print it out and hand it to a freight forwarder, who hands it back once it has been approved by a chamber of commerce, after which a courier or the postal service takes over. The process typically takes several days, and this makes it almost impossible to know when you can send your goods.

This is what everyday life looked like for Brian Nielsen, director of the European Wood Corporation (EWC) and his employees, before they decided to create digital certificates of origin. Now certificates can be completed, approved and received within 1 hour.

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  • EWC used freight forwarders and the postal service to transport certificates of origin back and forth from authorities and around the world.
  • It could take up to 14 days before the approved certificates were delivered to the recipient.
  • The wait for certificates made it difficult to know when goods could be shipped.
  • EWC started creating digital certificates of origin on the ClearView Trade platform.
  • The platform is directly connected to the Danish chambers of commerce, and the certificates can therefore be sent and approved digitally.
  • EWC receives now their digital certificates of origin within 1 hour.
  • They save money on freight, they can work closer to their deadlines, and they have more time to make the right decisions in the export process.

Heavy and time-consuming solution influenced speed

Before Brian Nielsen and his colleagues were introduced to the ClearView Trade platform, they waited countless days for their certificates of origin. If they even showed up. The certificates were either ordered in Kolding or in EWC’s Vietnam department, after which they had to be shipped for authorities’ approval.

After the approval, the certificates were shipped back to Kolding, and then one would think that the process was over. However, the approved certificates had to be shipped to the recipient country before Brian could breathe a sigh of relief and cross off the shipment in his logbook. This heavy process meant that it often took over a week before the approved certificate was on the recipient’s desk.

Lost certificates was an every-day reality

In addition to the long waiting time, Brian also struggled with other certificate-related challenges in everyday life. It was not unusual for the physical certificates to break or disappear while in transit. Typing errors on the certificates could also put a damper on the export process. These are all challenges you learn (and are forced to) live with when working with physical certificates. Brian does not hide the fact that they had up to 50 cases a month where some kind of accident had happened with their certificates.

It goes without saying that Brian was eager to find a solution that could reduce the amount of wasted time, errors, and frustrated employees – and he found that solution with the ClearView Trade platform.

From physical to digital certificates in just one day

When Brian discovered the potential of digitizing his certificates of origin, he took action immediately. He had nothing to lose since the manual process was so costly.

After the first conversation with ClearView Trade, the director immediately asked his bank and important clients for advice. When no one objected, he took the plunge and ordered the first digital certificate of origin just a day after discovering the solution. Brian hasn’t looked back once since:


”If I had to tell my staff that we had to go back and do the previous certificates, they would be incredibly upset, and I would be too”
Brian Nielsen

With the ClearView Trade platform, EWC employees can fill out and send all their certificates digitally to the chambers of commerce, which apply digital stamps and send the certificates back via the platform.

The entire physical aspect of handling is therefore removed, and this saves the company oceans of time and money on freight. It is much cheaper to make a digital certificate than it is to pay a freight forwarder to ship the physical version back and forth. EWC is now working much closer to their deadlines, and they have gained much more time to make the right decisions.


Creation of a physical certificate in paper form:

Creation of a certificate of origin on the platform:

Easy transition and immediate results

Brian explains that they had no problems getting started, and that it worked straight away. The results of switching to digital certificates of origin can be felt from the day you create the first digital certificate.

There is a large unused potential in the platform for EWC. With an integration between the platform and the company’s ERP system, certificates can be filled in automatically. The platform pulls all shipping information directly into the certificate, so that Brian’s employees do not have to enter data when they need to create a certificate of origin. This way, the entire process is completely automated, and a certificate of origin can be ordered with just a few clicks.

Digital certificates are accepted by customers

EWC mainly exports wood to countries in the Far East, and the Danish company has not encountered a single customer who would not accept the digital certificate of origin. It was anyway not a matter of acceptance of the certificates that made Brian not switch to the digital alternative any sooner: He simply did not realize that the certificates could be digitized.


"We have not experienced any countries in the Far East, which is our specialty, where they have had the slightest problem with the certificates"
Brian Nielsen

Studies show that lack of knowledge is the simple reason why a surprising number of people do not yet make the certificates digitally. We also experience some who say that they are afraid that the customers will not accept the digital certificates, but the reality is completely different.

The digital certificates of origin are taking up more and more space in the export industry. They are much easier to handle, and they are also much more secure than the physical certificates. The International Chamber of Commerce, ICC, spends large amounts of energy to spread the use of the digital certificates of origin. They also confirm that the digital certificate is accepted worldwide. You can read more about the ICC’s position on the digital certificate of origin here.

Digitization makes it easier for the customs authorities

The import process will also become more flexible for the international customs authorities. Digital certificates give international customs authorities digital access to the certificates of origin, directly after creation and thus ensure faster customs processing for your customers. The digital certificate of origin is also perceived as more secure, as the QR code allows all recipients to verify the content and authenticity of the certificate.

Digitize your certificates - " What do you have to lose?"

Finally, Brian offers some advice for other companies that are not yet creating digital certificates of origin. He encourages companies to try it out, because as he says: ” What have you got to lose”? The manual process is simply so large and heavy, that there are only advantages for switching to digital certificates.

Interested in learning what digital certificates of origin can do for your business? Contact our sales department and find out how you can get started today!

Behind the European Wood Corporation

European Wood Corporation has been exporting wood worldwide since 1993.

They export European wood, and their main market is Asia. They export both raw wood directly from the forest and semi-processed wood from sawmills.

Their wood comes mainly from Germany, France, Belgium and Denmark.

Read more about European Wood Corporation:

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