What is national centralized customs clearance (DCN)?

What is national centralized customs clearance (DCN)?

In a world where international trade plays a major role in the global economy, customs procedures are proving to be a central element, influencing both the speed and efficiency of commercial exchanges. Faced with ever-increasing trade volumes and increasingly complex international supply chains, economic players and customs administrations are constantly looking for ways to simplify and speed up customs clearance procedures. It is against this backdrop that Dédouanement Centralisé National (DCN ) was introduced in France on May 1, 2016, marking a significant step forward in the modernization of customs practices.

The DCN is a major innovation, offering companies a substantial simplification of their customs operations. This measure enables operators to centralize all their customs formalities with a single customs office, thus dissociating the declarative flows from the physical flows of goods. By centralizing administrative and logistical constraints, this customs clearance system aims to facilitate international trade while maintaining a high level of security and customs control.

The introduction of DCN therefore represents a significant evolution in the management of customs procedures, reflecting ongoing efforts to adapt customs practices to the realities of today's global trade. This initiative is part of a global approach to digital transformation and administrative simplification, designed to support the competitiveness of companies in the international marketplace.

Centralized national customs clearance: A customs innovation

Definition of DCN

Initiated in May 2016, National Centralized Customs Clearance (DCN ) represents a major reform of French customs practices, promoting greater efficiency in cross-border trade. This mechanism makes a clear distinction between declarative operations, carried out electronically, and the physical movement of goods, enabling companies to simplify their interactions with customs services. With DCN, customs formalities, traditionally carried out at each point of entry, are now centralized at a single declaration office. This centralization is possible regardless of where the goods physically enter the territory or are to be shipped, offering unprecedented management flexibility to economic operators.

The players involved

The DCN ecosystem highlights the collaboration between various key players, each playing a specific role in ensuring the smooth running of this system. At the forefront, economic operators encompass a diverse range of companies, from SMEs to multinationals, all seeking to optimize their customs clearance procedures. Declaration offices are the central points where all customs formalities are processed, enabling consolidated and simplified management. At the same time, presentation offices are the places where goods are actually presented for inspection or compliance, thus separating documentary processing from physical cargo management. This structuring favors a more strategic approach to logistics and customs clearance, adapted to the modern demands of international trade.

DCN benefits

The benefits of DCN are manifold, touching on various aspects of customs and logistics operations. The centralization of customs operations translates into a significant reduction in administrative complexity for companies. By establishing a single point of contact for all formalities, DCN eliminates the need to navigate between different customs offices, thus reducing administrative delays and costs. This simplification goes hand in hand with optimized cash flow, as the consolidation of duty and tax payments at a single declaration office enables better management of financial flows. Finally, improved logistics management means greater flexibility in the choice of entry and exit points for goods, facilitating distribution strategies and potentially reducing transit costs. Taken together, these benefits represent a significant advance for those involved in international trade, making the DCN a pillar of customs modernization in France.

These developments enrich our understanding of DCN, highlighting its essential role in adapting customs practices to the challenges and opportunities of today's global trade.

DCN implementation

The implementation of National Centralized Customs Clearance (NCCC ) represents a crucial step for companies wishing to optimize their customs operations. This section details the approval process, the criteria for selecting customs offices, and the preliminary steps required for successful integration.

Approval process

Integration into the DCN begins with a rigorous approval process, requiring companies to submit a complete file to the customs authority. This file must include a detailed description of the logistics circuit envisaged, specifying in particular goods entry points, temporary or permanent storage locations, and planned presentation offices. The aim is to demonstrate the company's ability to comply with DCN requirements, by ensuring efficient and secure management of goods flows.

This process aims to verify that the company has the necessary infrastructure, information systems compatible with online declaration requirements, and a logistics plan consistent with DCN principles. Approval is granted after a thorough assessment by the customs office of declaration, which considers the economic operator's reliability, compliance with previous customs regulations, and ability to maintain a high level of control over its customs clearance operations.

Choice and role of customs offices

The choice of declaration office is a strategic decision for the company, directly influencing the efficiency of its customs operations. This office should be chosen on the basis of several criteria, such as its proximity to the company's main logistics activities, its competence in managing the types of goods concerned, and its ability to offer adequate assistance and support.

Presentation offices are defined according to their geographical location and their relevance to goods entry or exit points. It is essential that these offices are able to process shipments efficiently, taking into account product specificities and applicable regulatory requirements. Coordination between the office of declaration and the offices of presentation is essential to ensure the smooth flow of information and documents required for customs clearance.

Preparation and preliminary steps

Before submitting an application for approval, careful preparation is essential. Companies must demonstrate that they have a relevant procedures management system aligned with DCN requirements. This involves updating information systems to ensure efficient transmission of customs data, training the relevant teams in the new procedures, and establishing clear communication protocols between the various departments involved in the customs clearance process.

The successful implementation of DCN relies on close collaboration between the company, customs representatives and customs authorities. This partnership helps overcome operational and regulatory challenges, facilitating a smooth transition to centralized, optimized customs procedures.

Benefits and implications for economic operators

The introduction of National Centralized Customs Clearance (NCCC ) is fundamentally transforming the way companies manage their customs procedures, offering a range of significant benefits that enhance both their operational efficiency and their competitiveness on the international market.

Operating gains

One of the DCN's key assets is its ability to rationalize customs operations and the time spent managing formalities. By concentrating all customs activities in a single point, companies minimize interactions with multiple customs offices, resulting in a significant reduction in processing times and simplification of logistical processes. This centralization also helps to reduce declaration errors, thanks to better control of information and standardization of procedures, contributing to a reduction in the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.

Economic benefits

The economic benefits of DCN are just as significant, offering companies an opportunity to make substantial savings. By optimizing customs operations, DCN can lead to a reduction in logistics costs, notably by avoiding the costs associated with multiple declarations and reducing border waiting times. This financial efficiency is crucial to improving the profitability of international trade operations.

Impact on logistics management

Beyond the operational and economic benefits, DCN has a profound impact on companies' logistics management. The flexibility offered by the selection of customs clearance offices tailored to their specific needs enables companies tooptimize their supply chains and react more quickly to changing market conditions. This adaptability is essential in an ever-changing global trading environment, where the ability to quickly adjust logistics strategies can be a major competitive advantage. In addition, DCN promotes theintegration of logistics and customs processes, ensuring greater coherence and coordination between the different stages of goods transportation and customs clearance.

The future of commerce simplified by DCN

National Centralized Customs Clearance (DCN) represents a major transformation in the way French and international companies approach the challenges of cross-border trade. By simplifying customs procedures and centralizing administrative formalities, DCN offers an effective solution for navigating the complex global customs environment. The multiple benefits, from streamlined processes to optimized cash flow, reflect a deep commitment to improving the competitiveness and efficiency of economic players.

The DCN's ability to adapt customs practices to the realities of today's global trade is not just about meeting companies' immediate needs. It is part of a long-term vision aimed at making France a major logistics hub in Europe, thereby strengthening its attractiveness and position on the international stage. This initiative, anchored in a process of digital transformation and administrative simplification, points the way to a future where trade barriers are minimized, allowing goods to flow more smoothly and securely across borders.

As the world continues to move towards ever-tighter economic interconnection, DCN stands as a model of innovation and adaptability. For French companies and their international partners, embracing the DCN means not only navigating the present more easily, but also preparing effectively for the challenges and opportunities of the future of international trade.


  1. What is DéDouanement Centralisé National (DCN)?
    DCN is a simplification measure implemented since May 1, 2016. It makes it possible to dissociate the declarative flow from physical flows. In other words, companies can centralize their customs formalities with a single customs office, while physically presenting their goods at other customs offices across France.
  2. What are the key benefits of DCN?
    benefits include centralization of customs procedures with a single point of contact, optimized cash management thanks to centralized payment of duties and taxes, customized support from the declaration office, and more efficient logistical management of flows.
  3. How does DCN improve the logistical management of flows?
    DCN allows companies to choose their usual EU entry points as offices of presentation, helping to reduce the costs associated with managing transit declarations. In addition, it simplifies internal processes by consolidating customs competence within a single hub.
  4. What is the procedure for choosing a DCN office of declaration and presentation?
    declaration office must be a main office with access to customs entries for all DCN operations. Companies can choose this office according to their place of business or the place where part of their goods are presented. Presentation offices must be competent for the place of physical presentation of goods according to territorial rules.
  5. How to prepare for DCN?
    submitting a DCN request, or in parallel with its appraisal, it is essential to carry out all the ancillary formalities necessary for the smooth running of customs clearance operations. This includes specifying how the goods are to be presented, establishing an efficient communication process between the teams in charge of the various formalities, and checking that all transit formalities are correctly carried out if the goods are routed under the transit procedure.

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