Militzer & Münch customs agency in France

For companies, international trade comes with a number of challenges – one of them is customs management. In order to further simplify the processes for its customers, Militzer & Münch France has established its own customs agency, including an IT module specifically developed for this purpose.

Since January 1, 2018, the new customs agency of Militzer & Münch France has been filing the customs declarations of all ten Militzer & Münch France locations. The customs agency operates with declarants in six branch offices in Lille, Saint-Thibault-des-Vignes (Paris), Marseille, Lyon, Nantes and Bordeaux. Three of them are regional declaration centers: Lille, Marseille and Nantes. The teams have in-depth country-specific knowhow. They are specialists in customs management: be it the customs clearance procedure, customs regulations or the payment of fees and taxes. Each M&M branch reports its demand for customs declaration to its regional declaration center via an IT module that was specifically developed.

Militzer & Münch France does export as well as import customs clearance. “We offer our customers consultancy from A to Z”, says Régis Samain, Manager of Lille’s regional declaration center  and Head of the Customs Agency at Militzer & Münch France. “Our teams are always up to date with the latest developments concerning currently valid customs agreements and regulations as well as the certificates required.”

One customs agency, three regional declaration centers

The headquarters of the customs agency is at the Militzer & Münch Lille (Halluin) office.

  • Lille: In cooperation with the declarants at Saint-Thibault-des-Vignes (Paris) and Lyon, the regional declarations center Lille does the customs clearance for Militzer & Münch Lille, Paris, Roissy and Lyon.
  • Marseille: The Marseille team is exclusively in charge of the customs declarations of Militzer & Münch Marseille.
  • Nantes: The declarants from Nantes and Bordeaux work together with the regional declaration center Nantes – they are responsible for customs clearance of the Militzer & Münch branch offices in Nantes, Bordeaux, Mulhouse and, in part, also Lyon.

Wagons from Belarus on Hungarian railway tracks

For a leading Swiss manufacturer of rolling stock, Militzer & Münch Switzerland transports components to Belarus for the assembly of rail wagons, and to Hungary for interior fitting. The wagons are to be used for passenger transport on the Hungarian railway network.

Over the last few years, the rolling stock industry has profited from a steadily increasing total market for new railway vehicles. While in 2012, the turnover was at 48 billion EUR, it reached 55 billion EUR in 2017. This global growth also benefits the Militzer & Münch customer, who manufactures customized railway vehicles for his clients, meeting their individual requirements in terms of interior design as well as in terms of technology.

The construction material Militzer & Münch transports for the customer comes from different countries and covers everything that is needed for the construction of railway wagons. The freight includes aluminum profiles, toilets, brakes, switches, cables, foamed plastics and textiles.

Militzer & Münch Basel serves as control tower

“Several Militzer & Münch teams cooperate on this project so we can offer the customer the best possible transport solution”, says Nikolaus Kohler, Regional Managing Director Middle East / Central Asia. “We use the Militzer & Münch Belarus truck fleet. Militzer & Münch Basel coordinates the entire project; the Basel team also does the customs clearance. We also use our Eichenzell location as a consolidation hub for goods from Europe.”

Since January 2018, the Militzer & Münch team has handled about four to five full truck loads (FTL) from Switzerland to Belarus per week. From Eichenzell, another two to three FTL transports are dispatched to Belarus per week.

There are plans to extend the weekly transport volume to 15 full truck loads destined for Belarus and Hungary. “We are pleased with the volume of this order, and with the complexity that comes with it”, says Nikolaus Kohler. The big project is scheduled to run through December 2019. The customer has already announced further transports, this time to Azerbaijan.

An individually tailored IT solution

One special feature characterizes the wide-ranging project: thanks to the in-house IT company ‘MMcom’, Militzer & Münch can offer the customer an IT solution that is optimally designed to meet his requirements. Via the IT platform, the goods flows from different countries of origin via two consolidation hubs to the destinations in Belarus and Hungary are registered and mapped. Per remote data transmission, the system indicates in real time which shipments have been received at the warehouses in Switzerland and Eichenzell, and collates them into packing orders.

New service to Algeria

One year after an affiliate company was opened in Algeria, Militzer & Münch France launches regular groupage transports to Oran. The new product meets the rising demand for connections to the country’s second biggest city. Over the past four years, Militzer & Münch France’s transports to Algeria have increased by 300 percent.

Oran is the commercial capital of western Algeria, a region where numerous renowned automobile manufactures have settled, among others. To further develop its activities in this highly promising market, Militzer & Münch started offering regular groupage shipments in mid-September. The new service provides two departures per month – with a direct connection from Marseilles to Oran. The transit time is only five days.

The service is also available for dangerous goods transports. Moreover, via the Marseilles branch, Militzer & Münch offers value-added services such as labeling, quality control, order picking and packaging for all Algeria transports.

Top performance every day

Since 1996, Olivier Antoniotti has been responsible for M&M Militzer & Münch Maroc S.A. as Managing Director. He has substantially contributed to the successful development of the company. In this interview, he talks about how he joined Militzer & Münch 25 years ago, and provides insight into the Moroccan logistics industry. 

What was your motivation to work in the logistics industry?

I did not specifically plan to work in the transport and logistics sector. But when I did my civilian service from 1993 to 1995 as part of a cooperation program at Militzer & Münch Morocco, I knew this job is my vocation.

Thanks to the support of some managers at Militzer & Münch France, I was able to evolve and grow in the company. Every day, I look forward to going to work. With joy and passion, I want to deliver excellent results every day.

Career start at Militzer & Münch

Olivier Antoniotti completed four years of studies at a business school in Lyon, with an exchange year in Barcelona. Then, instead of doing his military service, he served two years at a French company abroad – at M&M Morocco, where he worked in sales from December 1993 to April 1995. After that, he was offered permanent employment as a sales representative.

In 1996, the then Managing Director wanted to leave the company. So, the Board of Directors proposed appointing Olivier Antoniotti Managing Director of Militzer & Münch Morocco. “Of course, I was happy to take on this challenge, looking forward to the tasks ahead”, says Olivier Antoniotti. “It’s a decision I have not regretted to this day – especially when I look at all the hard work we´ve done, and the success of Militzer & Münch in Morocco.”

What are your tasks as Managing Director M&M Militzer & Münch Maroc S.A., what are the biggest challenges? 

I firmly believe that the position of Managing Director comes with a very important responsibility towards the group, but also towards all its employees, customers, partners and shareholders. Not only do I have to ensure that our development is in line with the standards of the Militzer & Münch Group, I also have to provide the strategic framework to ensure a successful future for Militzer & Münch.

I think the best examples are the many investments since 1996 that turned Militzer & Münch Morocco into a renowned logistics services provider in the Kingdom of Morocco.

What were the most important milestones for Militzer & Münch Morocco? 

Apart from the fact that we have a great team of highly qualified employees, the history of Militzer & Münch Morocco history can be summed up in some important events: The opening of the first bonded warehouse in Morocco in February 2000.

  • The creation of our Spedimex transit subsidiary in 2001.
  • The construction of our Casablanca platforms in 2003, Tangiers in 2008 and 2016, as well as Sapino Nouaceur in 2012.
  • Recognition of our work by the Moroccan Transport Federation of the IRU (International Road Transport Union) with the “Award for Road Transport Managers 2013 – Morocco”.
  • The creation of a network of 20 weekly groupage lines in collaboration with the Militzer & Münch network and its partners.
  • The creation of our Air & Sea and Logistics department.
  • And finally, our recent AEO / Safety & Security certification, which places us among the leading group of operators.

All these projects, implemented entirely by Militzer & Münch Morocco, were very extensive, and today make Militzer & Münch Morocco a key player in the market.

The team of M&M Militzer & Münch Maroc S.A.

Militzer & Münch Morocco voluntarily commits to environmental protection and sustainability. What does this commitment look like in everyday business?

In November 2016, Militzer & Münch Morocco was indeed among the cosignatories of the first Moroccan Charter in favor of green logistics. In concrete terms, we have already implemented this commitment by incorporating the new standards into the construction of our Tangiers customs terminal, for instance by installing a solar water heater and glazed roof panels to use natural light. Moreover, we use a system to recuperate all the water on the premises. We upgraded all our trucks to Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards, the forklifts in our warehouses are 100 percent electric. To summarize, I can state that we put our commitment to green logistics into practice every day.

What are Militzer & Münch Morocco’s goals?

Over the past few years, we enhanced our infrastructure. In order to develop strategically, we had to upgrade our IT system. This is important to face such challenges as digitalization – also in relation to our documentation chain in accordance with the new regulatory requirements – or tracking and tracing. We also have to meet the growing demand of our customers in these fields. By modernizing our tools, we will be able to lead Militzer & Münch into a profitable future.

Militzer & Münch opened a new customs terminal in Tangiers in 2016. How is business developing here?

We see a very strong development of our business in Tangiers. This corroborates our decision to settle there on a long-term basis so we can meet the growing demand for transport and logistics.

How do you assess the potential of the logistics sector in the Maghreb region?

Morocco is currently experiencing a very important economic development, especially thanks to such sectors as the automobile and aeronautics industries. As we have been present in Morocco since 1986, we appreciate this progress all the more greatly. Thanks to the current modernization of the economy, including the administration, we see the economic development in the Kingdom in a very optimistic light. Morocco is and will remain a country where the economic climate is favorable to the development of Militzer & Münch Morocco.

Towards a better understanding of the Chinese logistics market

For decades, Militzer & Münch has been operating in numerous countries along the New Silk Road, with mainly the logistics market in China posing a big challenge. For cultural reasons, decision processes follow a different pattern than in Europe. Militzer & Münch wanted to know more about these processes and commissioned the University of Applied Sciences in St. Gallen to draw up a logistics market study on the subject of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).




Dr. Thoma, what are the biggest challenges for logisticians in China? 

Logisticians from abroad have to invest a lot of time and energy to prevail in the Chinese logistics market. We have been actively operating in China since 1981, starting with a representative office. Then, in 1994, we founded M&M Militzer & Münch Tianbao Int’l Forwarding Co. Ltd. in China, and were one of the first European companies to be granted the Forwarding (A) License. Our many years of experience have taught us that decision processes at Chinese top management levels are highly complex. Therefore, it is important for us to know as much as possible about the Chinese logistics market and the processes of decision making. The results are not only intended to allow us to make progress in China; they are also meant to help us continue operating successfully along the New Silk Road.

Why is the market study not only interesting for Militzer & Münch?

Thinking outside one’s own structures and networks helps. Which is why the results of this analysis are very interesting for us as well as for other logistics companies operating on the Europe-China trade lane. We find the decision processes easier to understand, and we can better assess the logistics market along the New Silk Road.


It is especially the New Silk Road that gains more and more importance for international logistics projects. Who are the decision makers in these global processes? 

Over the past few years, we have already noticed a shift in decision making in the global logistics market. Today, decisions on logistics are made mainly in Europe and the USA. In the future, these decisions will increasingly be made in China, as big Chinese enterprises are more and more forcefully conquering the world market and developing their own supply chains.

What did you learn about the decision processes in China? 

Our own experience was confirmed. 80 percent of the logistics orders in China in connection with the Belt and Road Initiative are awarded to Chinese firms. There is little chance for European logistics companies in China directly – opportunities present themselves mainly in those countries where China is not or just minimally active. Nevertheless, there is the possibility for logisticians to succeed in China, provided they are familiar with the specifics of the market.

What should logisticians pay attention to concerning logistics processes in China?

There are various aspects to be considered. For one, a performance bond in the amount of ten percent of the contract sum is to be issued when the contract is awarded. Moreover, contracting entities in China check the share capital and review the business reports of the logistician.

But perhaps the most important factor for a contract to be awarded in China is trust in the logistics service supplier, trust that has grown in long years of relationships and partnerships. To this aim, logistics companies should in particular develop partnerships with Chinese State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) or with Chinese companies that are closely networked with SOEs.

What are the conclusions logisticians can draw from this result?

For logistics service providers, it is helpful to operate their own local branch office. This is essential in order to successfully build relationships. Having a local management or local partners is especially useful here. It’s the best way for a company to familiarize itself with the cultural differences and to be able to understand them.

Did the market analysis generate any other central results? 

Apart from our objective to learn more about the decision-making processes in connection with logistics projects in China, we also wanted to know what share logistics services have in the Belt and Road Initiative. And on this, we got a wealth of detailed information.


Central results of the Militzer & Münch logistics market study on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).


One central finding of the analysis for instance demonstrates that the Middle East is the region with the highest investments. This means that 43 percent of the BRI investments are flowing, among others, into the development of the infrastructure here. Yet large sums are not only invested in the Middle East, but in South East Asia and Russia, too. These are also the regions where the biggest number of projects is being executed – for instance for the development of transport and energy infrastructure.

All these findings confirm our strategy of increasingly operating in these regions via our own country units. That we commissioned the market study clearly pays off for us in more than one respect.


Cooperating with a student team

For the market study, a project team from the St. Gallen University of Applied Sciences and from Shanghai University set to work on behalf of Militzer & Münch. In charge of the analysis at Militzer & Münch is Christoph Hollenstein, Head of Group Controlling, M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG. Among others, the students conducted numerous personal interviews in Shanghai as well as phone interviews with decision makers from the logistics industry. The project team also collected significant data on highly promising investment regions along six BRI corridors, and the distribution of the BRI projects. The team based the market study on an alleged investment sum of 1.067 trillion USD and 420 BRI projects.