About Us

Our primary goal here at Customs Connect is to deliver real, measurable saving opportunities to all of our clients.

No matter the size or location of our client, or the challenges they present us with – the Customs Connect ethos stays the same:

We focus on unveiling hidden opportunities to save your business money

We achieve this through a variety of specific professional advisory services including Customs Planning, Autonomous Duty Suspensions and Export Control to name just some of our services.

View our Services page here

We develop close working relationships with our clients to obtain the cost saving benefits over a period of time.

Each of our specific services have been developed in partnership with our clients and are tailored to match the needs of each business we work with.

We deliver real, measurable value to our clients

We focus on what’s most important for you and for this to happen, we understand that an ongoing and regular dialogue is essential. Nurturing these business relationships in conjunction with our continued investment into cutting edge customs technology is how we achieve our end result.

View case studies from our existing clients to understand how we have helped companies such as Jaguar Land Rover identify and take advantage of money saving opportunities within their supply chain.

Low-risk, success-based billing

Many of the services we provide are offered on a contingent, success-based fee structure. This means there is minimal initial investment cost when working with us and fees are only ever due when our work delivers actual savings for our clients.



Brigitte PhotoFew companies understand the importance of this [goods nomenclature and BTI procedures] and the possible consequences that follow from a lack of knowledge of the goods nomenclature. We notice that fewer and fewer companies still have this expertise. Hereby I would like to compliment your company with your knowledge and expertise. It will benefit your customers!

Brigitte Vandenbussche, Advisor-General bij,
FOD Financiën – SPF Finances

Meet the team

Board Members

John Barnsley

John Barnsley headshot

John became Customs Connect’s Chairman in 2016 to steer the company through its ambitious plans for growth. A highly experienced director, John was at PwC for over 30 years where his roles included senior partner and Joint Global Director of Operations. John has acted as Non-executive Director and Chairman for a number of private organisations in the US and UK.

Neil Sheppard

Neil Sheppard headshot

Neil founded Customs Connect in 2009. He has comprehensive knowledge in all areas of EU customs planning with particular focus on classification and autonomous duty suspensions. With time served in logistics, industry and Big 4 professional services firms, Neil has built a loyal client portfolio across a number of industry sectors. He has been instrumental in the Customs Connect’s recent expansion across Europe.

Neil has two daughters and recently celebrated his silver wedding anniversary. He enjoys walking his two bearded collie dogs and travel (preferably somewhere warm) when he is not sitting with the prawn sandwich brigade at Old Trafford!


Marcus Gehl

Senior Territory Manager, Germany/Austria/Switzerland
Marcus Gehl headshot

Marcus joined Customs Connect in March 2018 to support our business development in Germany and central Europe. He has more than 13 years of experience in European logistics, compliance, customs and foreign trade. Before joining Customs Connect, Marcus acted as Global Head of Customs Marketing & Sales at DHL and focussed on complex customs solutions for multinational companies. He has a degree in International Management as well as a Masters in Customs Administration. With his passion for customs and trade matters, Marcus is constantly looking for new companies Customs Connect can support with pinpointing opportunities and identifying risk areas.

Away from the office, Marcus enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. He also likes watching motorsport on TV or at the race track.

Gavin Tucker

Director VAT and Digital Solutions
Gavin Tucker headshot

Gavin joined Customs Connect in 2017, having spent most of his VAT advisory career (fast approaching 20 years!) in the Big 4 professional service firms. Prior to this, Gavin qualified as an Auditor. During his career, his relationships have allowed him to work with a wide portfolio of clients from multinational corporations, shipping goods and supplying services around the globe, to local not-for-profit organisations. Gavin’s work encompasses both day to day compliance advice to more complex and strategic transactional advice on supply chains, Brexit, mergers and acquisitions and property.

Gavin has spearheaded the launch of Customs Connect Digital Solutions C3. C3 uses the latest technologies in Big Data and AI to provide a real-time, interactive dashboard view of an organisation’s imports and the associated customs duty costs.

Gavin is still reluctant to give up playing football and when he is not playing, or injured, he enjoys throwing himself down mountains on two wheels or skis!

Paul Verrips

Director, Nordics and EU Affairs
Paul Verrips headshot

Paul, who joined Customs Connect in 2016, has extensive experience in the areas of trade, customs, supply chain, finance and public affairs. He has previously held management positions in several multinationals in the chemical, software, real estate, and sports industry. Paul has also chaired several trade committees of international organisations in Europe and the USA.

Paul divides his time between Belgium and Sweden and during his spare time enjoys music, the arts and sport.

Alexandra Turner

Head of Export Control
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With approximately 10 years’ experience, Alexandra has worked in several industry sectors and professional services both in the US and the UK. She has a comprehensive knowledge of US and EU export controls and sanctions laws and regulations (including extra-territorial application).

A US native, Alexandra has now been living in the UK for seven years and during this time has developed a passion for watching live cricket.

Bert Van Leeuwen

Senior Customs Manager
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Bert joined Customs Connect’s Alkmaar (Netherlands) Office in February 2017. Before that, he worked at Gerlach as a Customs Consultant and has over 20 years’ experience in this field, working in industry in logistics, customs and purchasing departments of numerous organisations. In addition, he acts as advisor and trainer for the Dutch shipping council Evofenedex, plus he writes regular articles for publisher SDU.

During his spare time, Bert plays guitar in a jazz big band, enjoys walking and episodes of classic BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers!

Han Baauw

Director, Europe BV
Han Baauw headshot

Based in our Alkmaar, Netherlands office, Han is a qualified tax lawyer specialising in customs and international trade. He has more than 20 years of experience gained in Big 4 and Law firms as well as in the business environment. Due to his operational and logistic knowledge and experience, Han is a seasoned expert in pinpointing areas of improvement and savings in clients’ customs processes. A father of four football-playing children, Han spends his spare time running around the pitch as a youth-team referee.

Monica Ryder

Senior Manager
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Monica joined Customs Connect in 2017. She is a Senior Manager with over 16 years consultancy experience in customs duty in the Big 4 environment. During this time, she has gained an in-depth knowledge of import/export procedures and customs duty regimes. She has excellent technical knowledge, with the ability to interpret and apply legislation and case law to ensure compliance and to minimise duty liability.

Outside of work, Monica enjoys spending time with her family, travelling and live music.

Jo Bowman

Customs Consultant
Jo Bowman headshot

Jo has been a team member of Customs Connect since October 2011. Based in our Surrey office, she primarily deals with all aspects of duty repayment, classification and autonomous duty suspensions work for our clients.

Jo is married with a new baby and has a nutty chocolate Labrador to keep her busy and active.

Illustrations by Philip Wills