Export Control & Customs

Ocean research is international and performed at the highest technical level at the GEOMAR. Due to this, the preparation of expeditions of our scientists and technicians also includes topics such as export control and customs.

The Export Control & Customs Unit conducts the classification of scientific equipment (goods, software, technology) into military, dual-use or non-approved items with the expedition participants of GEOMAR, in some cases for a year or more before departure. This also includes embargo regulation checks. Subsequently, the applications for necessary export licenses are send to the respective authorities for German, European and US (re-) export control law, in order to ensure an export that is correct in terms of foreign trade. 

The research equipment of the GEOMAR are not just technical devices. Research vessels are floating laboratories so that research on the collected sample material can start immediately on the high seas. For this reason, the equipment containers of the GEOMAR scientists also contain equipment and materials for this purpose. When importing and exporting laboratory supplies or samples, we also observe the prescribed information in the framework of the other prohibitions and restrictions on foreign trade, e.g. CITES (Washington Convention), Radiation Protection or the Substances Control Act (GÜG) for chemicals. 

Another main task of the department is the preparation of export accompanying documents for customs clearance of all kinds. There are final exports to support the cooperation with other research institutes and universities or also service providers for e.g. the further processing of research samples. However, 90% of the customs procedures concern the worldwide research cruises in which scientists and technicians participate with GEOMAR's large equipment, like ROV’s, AUV’s and JAGO. Although the equipment leaves the GEOMAR for a limited period for research cruises outside the European Union and its territorial seas, all customs documents and additional documents are required without exception because they are statutory. To start the process we need packing lists / proforma invoices specifying the itemised research infrastructure for the cruise provided by the responsible scientists. This research infrastructure contains required technology, empty containers for samples, laboratory equipment, work clothes and the personal equipment of the expedition participants for the often several-month expeditions. These packing lists adapted by the customs handling team to comply with international customs regulations for export from the European Union and import / transit in the recipient countries until loading on the German or international research vessels. Many countries do have individual customs requirements. After the expeditions, the research infrastructure returns to the institute in Kiel and passes an import customs processing as well. This also effects the samples obtained such as sediment cores, water or excrement of marine life. 

The aim of the department is not only to facilitate the smooth export and import, but also to minimize the amount of customs duties, fees and taxes during the entire customs clearance process. To ensure this, the journey of the expedition infrastructure is reviewed holistically and then the most appropriate and legally permissible customs procedure is chosen.


Head of Export Control & Customs
Staff Department

Ms Daniela Schmitt

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Wischhofstrasse 1 - 3
24148 Kiel, Germany
Phone: +49 431 600-1682

Your Contacts for Customs Handling (Import & Export):

Mr Jan-Henrik Perplies
Phone: +49 431 600-1698

Ms Freya Löhr
Phone: +49 431 600-1476


Your Contact for 
Export Control Handling 
(Classification & Approvals):

Ms Judith Reeger
(Monday - Wednesday)
Phone: +49 431 600-1688

Ms Freya Löhr
Mr Jan-Henrik Perplies
Ms Daniela Schmitt

Your Contact for 
Inventory Management Software Handling:

Ms Anne-Katrin Schlesier
Phone: +49 431 600-1692