Bernard O'Connor

•  Member of the Institute of Export

•  Former Fellow of the Institute of Freight Professionals

•  Former Member of the Chartered Institute of Transport & Logistics


Bernard became a partner in Strong & Herd LLP in July 2018 after one of the founding partners, Brian Herd, passed away.  Bernard had worked with S&H since 2007 and significnatly enhanced the skill set of the partnership with his forty-plus years’ experience within the International Trade arena.  He began his career with a container shipping line back in the 1970s at a very exciting time when container shipping itself was a very new industry. Bernard rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Operations Director of the Manchester office. 
A former Fellow of the Institute of Freight Professionals (now defunct and replaced by BIFA - the British International Freight Association) and a member of the Institute of Export, Bernard has represented the Manchester surface forwarding community for many years, assisting both individuals and organisations in their dealings with Customs. He was the main driving force behind the introduction of computerised Customs clearance for the Manchester surface freight community back in the 1980’s and he continues to work with software developers and freight forwarders on Customs clearance matters.
Diversification was never far away and in the 1990s Bernard moved on to set up and run a successful European trailer transport operation between the UK and Benelux/Germany.
Finally, Bernard became immersed in Customs & International Trade procedures with a four year secondment to HM Revenue & Customs.
Whilst with the Customs team in Southend, Bernard was involved in the introduction of NES - the New Export System (now National Export System) to computerise export Customs clearance.
He was also involved in the introduction of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS), the Simplified Import VAT Accounting system (SIVA) and the SAD Harmonisation project.
Most of Bernard’s work with Customs was in the sphere of publicity, training and awareness. During his time in Southend he produced many varied publications, press articles and training material all designed to ease the trade into these new systems.
Bernard’s secondment with Customs ended in 2007 and he now works exclusively in the field of Customs & International Trade procedures. His expertise covers a broad range of international trade subjects, including Tariff classification, import procedures, export procedures, Community Transit, Customs warehousing, Inward Processing Relief and many more Customs regimes and procedures.
Having been seconded to HMRC from the shipping and forwarding community, Bernard has gained a unique and valuable insight into the workings of Customs and how new regulations are introduced and applied to the trade at large. He continues to sit on a number of Customs/Trade working groups and actively participates in a range of International Trade events and seminars.
Bernard currently manages Strong & Herd’s outsourced shipping office clients. This involves a wide range of activities, including the provision of Customs clearance instructions, the checking and vetting of import and export Customs entries, the maintenance of import, export and IPR logs and the reporting of quarterly IPR returns to HMRC.
Although mainly office based, Bernard often travels within the UK, carrying out international trade audits for a number of S&H clients. He also continues to produce and deliver seminars on one of his pet subjects – Export and Import Customs declarations and compliance.


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Strong & Herd LLP, Manchester International Office Centre
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