Monday, March 14, 2016

AEO Certification Shows Shippers Freight Forwarding Agents Are More Credible Says BIFA

Proven Economic Status is now Increasingly Important with UCC and SOLAS Changes
Shipping News Feature
UK – British freight forwarders have a lot to do this year with most eyes focused on the changes to SOLAS regulations concerning mandatory container weighing which come in on July 1 and which we have detailed at some length in several previous articles*. The British International Freight Association (BIFA) however points out that with the Union Customs Code (UCC) being introduced across the European Union (EU) on 1 May there is something else the well prepared forwarding agency should be doing.

The UCC will mean a number of changes to how goods cross EU borders and some transitional arrangements will operate until 2020. Coupled with the SOLAS changes BIFA believes it has never been more important for forwarders to acquire Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status. Robert Keen, BIFA Director General, says:

“It has long been BIFA’s belief that acquiring AEO status is about setting yourself apart from the competition. The process of become AEO certified itself gives a forwarder the chance to analyse processes, examine standards and identify corporate or organisational weaknesses. In turn, once issues have been resolved, AEO certification means that the freight forwarder’s clients have that certainty that their logistics partner has surpassed tight benchmarks in regards to standards of operation.

“This summer sees two days that will be game changers for how the industry, especially in ocean trades, operates. Forwarders who are AEO certified or undertaking the certification will be ahead of the curve in dealing with the ‘new normal’ we all face. Increasing numbers of shippers, especially multinational ones, are demanding that freight forwarders have AEO certification before they do business with them, never mind being given preferred supplier status. Given that the new regime under the UCC requires many of the authorisations and simplifications of AEO status, it has never made more sense to acquire that AEO certification.”

It is not of course mandatory to become an AEO, however, for many authorisations and simplifications within the UCC a forwarder will need to meet some, or all, of the criteria for a Customs simplifications AEO certificate (AEOC). BIFA is convinced that becoming AEO-compliant will benefit all freight companies that supply Customs-related activities in the fields of importing, exporting, logistics and freight, including most manufacturers and many other players.

Any company which takes advantage of the Free Line Advertisements which we carry in the Handy Shipping Guide Freight Directory is entitled to have its authentication shown (without charge) with the AEO Logo alongside its other trade accreditations (BIFA, RHA, ISO etc.). These symbols give more credibility in an age when certifications are increasingly important.

*to learn more about the forthcoming SOLAS changes simply type SOLAS into the News Search box at the head of any page.