Gerlach: Briefly about you and yourself – how did you come to Gerlach?
Felix Zeller: I started my training as a forwarding agent at DHL Freight in Maintal in 2011 and then the opportunity arose through a contact to start at Gerlach. In the meantime, I completed a degree in business administration.
When I started at Gerlach, the customs issue was completely new to me. I had had little contact with customs before. Through experienced colleagues and according to the motto “learning by doing”, I was able to acquire the knowledge.
Today, I am the head of customs clearance at the Frankfurt/Main location, and at the same time I train apprentices here at our branch.
Gerlach: What do you like about your work at Gerlach and especially in the customs department?
Felix: In the area of logistics and customs, you experience trade at first hand. And above all, you come into contact with many current topics.
Last year, for example, in connection with the pandemic, we took over the import of masks. Or I remember cases and exports of dual-use goods for the German armed forces. Those were very complex procedures.
At Gerlach, I also see myself to some extent as a translator between the customers and the customs authorities. Often, for example, the clients don’t know what customs consequences their handling entails. Terms and procedures such as inward and outward processing, for example, are not known to everyone. You have to listen very carefully and help the customer choose the right procedures.
Gerlach: Why do you recommend that young people start working for customs?
Felix: If you want to do an apprenticeship in the field of forwarding and logistics services, customs is certainly demanding from a technical point of view. It is the supreme discipline within logistics – I would say. And you can’t do without customs. All large companies operate globally today.
If you choose Gerlach and customs as your focus, I see many opportunities for development. De facto, customs experts are rare on the market. In addition, we as Gerlach are internationally active and are looking for professionals with customs knowledge in many countries.
The important thing is to enjoy the subject and be open to it. The rest you learn as you go along.