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It’s business as usual for the UK freight industry

[ May 12, 2016   //   ]

The UK’s international trade continued to flow on 3 May despite the introduction of the first major changes to EU customs legislation in a quarter of a century, a BIFA expert told a Multimodal seminar.

Addressing a workshop session on the new Union Customs Code yesterday (Wednesday 11 May), Robert Windsor, in charge of policy and compliance at the British International Freight Association said: “We didn’t get Armageddon; business still flowed.”

Implementation of UCC had worked better in the UK than in some other EU member states where customs took a more bureaucratic approach, he added.

There were gains as well as losses for UK traders under the new Code, he said. One long term benefit could be better information on imports, although it could take four years to fully realise this. Another potential gain was centralised customs clearance, but details of this were still sketchy. The biggest negative was the introduction of a guarantee system for certain customs procedures, said Windsor.

His view was echoed by Peter MacSwiney, boss of software firm ASM in a later interview with FBJ. He said that while freight community system providers had been forced to make some last minute changes, most people in the industry would not have been aware of them.

He added that, now that the changeover to UCC had taken place, in his view there should now be no major changes until the replacement for the Chief computer system was introduced in about 2019. “If it aint broke, don’t fix it,” he said.

The new UCC also enshrines the new Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Windsor urged forwarders and traders to seriously to consider gaining such status, where appropriate.

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