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Forwarders’ role is recognized at last, says BIFA

[ July 24, 2020   //   ]

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) says that the 2025 Border Strategy consultation announced by the government recognizes  the key role of freight forwarders in cross-border international trade
BIFA director general Robert Keen said that although the trade association has worked closely with various government departments for decades, since the Brexit vote, that work has increased in volume and intensity. However, sometimes BIFA has been left with an impression that activity and the sharing of data between departments has been lacking.
“However, the fact that logistics companies and those who support others to move goods through cross-border supply chains are high up the list of stakeholders from which a response is being sought, is further recognition that the government has woken up to the freight forwarding sector’s crucial role in the management of the UK’s cross-border international trade.”

But he cautioned: “We have been involved in similar initiatives which have yielded few results, such as the Customs Blue Print, which talked of improving the customer experience but actually yielded little practical benefit. Furthermore, we note that the questions posed in the consultation document are rather restrictive in certain ways. Whilst they focus on processes and data flows, they don’t cover government organisation and functions at the frontier, which is disappointing.”
The consultation period is also very short, given that the target date set out by the government for the ‘World’s most effective border’ is not until 2025.
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration David Bolt he was particularly interested in hearing from independent traders, trade associations, and businesses reliant on the efficient and effective processing of freight about what appears to be working well, and why, and what is not working or could be improved, both pre-arrival and at ports, including the clarity of any guidance, information or assistance provided by Border Force.

He added: “While this is not intended to be an inspection of Brexit preparedness, I am also interested to understand to what extent stakeholders feel that Border Force has engaged with their issues and concerns about how its management of freight arrivals will be affected.

“Please note that my statutory remit does not extend to investigating or making decisions about individual cases. This remains a Home Office responsibility. However, I do take an interest in individual cases where they illustrate or point to systemic problems.”

Submissions should be sent to CfEFreight@icibi.gov.uk with ‘ICIBI Freight Inspection 2020’ in the subject line and, unless you do not want information submittedto be quoted in the final inspection report, include the following statement in the body of your email: “I consent to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration retaining and processing the information and data in this email.”

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