Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Freight Forwarding News as Brexit Spawns New Trading Conditions

Meanwhile Agents Get Advice to Prevent Wildlife Trafficking
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Now that the UK has finally left the European Union it has proved necessary for the British International Freight Association (BIFA) to issue an upgraded version of the organisation's Standard Trading Conditions (STC) which every reputable UK freight forwarding agent uses as a basis for their core business.

Whilst the politicians prevaricated it is obvious that the team at BIFA were conscientiously updating the Association’s Ts & Cs to replace the previous incarnation which was only launched in 2017. Robert Keen, director general of BIFA explained the necessity for change, saying:

“Over time, in the same ways laws must change, so do contractual rights and obligations that flow from these changes, and therefore it is essential to review any set of industry terms against changes in legislation and industry practice.

“The impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on the role of direct or indirect representation has been much discussed and has been a complex issue throughout the Transition Period. The Term ‘Customs Representative’ is now replaced by ‘The Customs Agent’ although the concept remains largely the same.

“The importance of BIFA members ensuring the effective incorporation of the BIFA STCs into their contracts with their customers cannot be stressed enough. This is something we address constantly with members. BIFA will be urging its members to check that they do everything they can to ensure their company has adopted the necessary steps outlined in BIFA’s guide to representation with HMRC, which has been updated and can be found on the trade association’s website Good Practice Guide under the relevant section.”

The Information link that actually leads to the BIFA STCs also has the link for the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) STCs and that organisation has just published its guidance on one of the darker sides of the international freight trade free of charge and now in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).

FIATA first linked up with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network In 2019 to deliver a three-module digital course to raise awareness of wildlife trafficking and its impact on the supply chain. Now the course ‘Prevention of Wildlife Trafficking’ has been translated into the multiple languages to allow a broader reach of the topic to the global freight forwarding community.

The course equips freight forwarders with the skills to fight this evil, illicit trade by providing essential information to detect, respond to, and report instances of wildlife trafficking. Wildlife traffickers misuse the legitimate transport and logistics services provided by the freight forwarding industry. According to TRAFFIC, this illegal trade is the fourth largest black market in the world and impacts more than 7,000 species of animals and plants. Dr Stephane Graber, FIATA Director General, explained:

“We are very pleased to continue our collaboration with TRAFFIC and have this important course on the prevention of wildlife trafficking made more accessible to our industry stakeholders. Freight forwarders from all around the world have the opportunity to support the efforts of protecting wildlife and reinforcing the integrity of the supply chain. This course gives them a multilingual tool to take appropriate action in the event of dealing with suspicious cargo.”

In 2017, FIATA included wildlife trafficking in the minimum standards for the FIATA Diploma in International Freight Forwarding. TRAFFIC has also worked with FIATA member, the South African Association of Freight Forwarders, in recognising opportunities to combat wildlife trafficking in the supply chain. Monica Zavagli, TRAFFIC Programme Manager for Transport Sector Engagement, commented:

“Like any other forms of illicit trade, wildlife trafficking can only be stopped through the collective effort of law enforcement, private sector and civil society. By knowing what to look out for, freight forwarders can protect their business while also playing a pivotal role as the eyes and the ears for Customs”.

For more information and to enrol in the FIATA-TRAFFIC digital course, visit the FIATA learning platform (HERE).

Photo: Courtesy of FIATA from an image by David Clode.