BIFAlink February 2023

Steve Parker’s Column


Greetings from your new Director General

BIFAlink is the official magazine of the British International Freight Association Redfern House, Browells Lane, Feltham TW13 7EP Tel: 020 8844 2266

Welcome to the February edition of BIFAlink and my first column as Director General. From the outset I would like to acknowledge the work of Robert Keen in the position over the past eight years. His leadership has been outstanding and his fingerprints will be on the association for many years to come. I salute you Bob and wish you well in all you undertake in the future, I know you will be around for a while and you can be assured I have your number on speed dial. As I consider the future, let me start by saying I count it both a privilege and a pleasure to lead the association, but I am also acutely aware of the responsibilities of representing our great industry which has been my life for the past 50 years. I hope I can do it justice.

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Director General Steve Parker Executive Director Robert Windsor, Policy & Compliance – Surface & Legal Executive Director Spencer Stevenson Executive Director Carl Hobbis International Relations Manager Robert Keen Policy & Compliance Advisor – Customs Igor Popovics Policy & Compliance Advisor – Air David Stroud Editorial Co-ordinator Sharon Hammond Communications Manager Natalie Pitts Membership Supervisor Sarah Milton

As I write this article, we have just enjoyed our annual awards luncheon, another great day and extremely successful. A measure of that success is the record-breaking attendance figure this year, and my thanks go to the BIFA team that organises this event every year. My congratulations go to all the award winners. I know that this represents a lot of hard work and innovation, both of which will be needed in our industry in the years to come. Passing the baton You will have seen in the January issue that Bob talked about passing on the baton. This is an interesting analogy for me and something I understand well. As a hobby I am currently the Musical Director of Marlow Town Brass Band (a band of about 40 brass instrument musicians based in the pretty, small town on the banks of the river Thames). Although I have played a brass instrument since I was a small child, I do not claim to have any great musical prowess. Perhaps there is some truth in the old saying that in a band, you should appoint the worst player as the conductor! That said, as the conductor, with the baton in my hand, I know too well the impact this can have. Conduct too fast and the band will not keep up. Too slow, and the music can lose its tempo and excitement. Every piece must be just right. As we move into the second month of 2023 and I consider the business on BIFA’s agenda, there are some projects and activities on which we will need to increase speed. But to get the details right, there are some on which we may need to slow down. What I have learnt in leading a brass band is that every participant is important, which is why I am taking time to talk to as many people as I can to help BIFA formulate a plan for the way forward. What about 2023? There are many important topics on our radar. Some are regulatory, like CDS Exports, ICS2 and NCTS5, and you can read more about these in the article on pages 16 and 18, which summarises the main Customs changes that are scheduled for 2023. Who knows what the ongoing talks on the Northern Ireland protocol might lead to and the impact that might have on the work of BIFA Members. We also have plans to prepare the industry for the longer term. In this respect we have two key items on our agenda, sustainability and industry leaders. With regard to sustainability, we have already engaged with PLEDGE, a third-party business that can support us in the short term on this issue, but it is our intent to strengthen our knowledge within the secretariat and at some point we are likely to be looking for resource to help us. Industry Leaders; here is a message for you. I plan to hold two events per year for our industry leaders at which BIFA will be able to update you on topics that will impact our industry. Our hope is that you will find these both informative and serve as something useful to help your business planning. The first of these events is planned for April and we have called it ‘Breakfast with the DG’. An invitation with further information will go to CEOs, managing directors and owners at BIFA’s corporate Members. Finally, let me wish you all well for 2023 and say that I very much look forward to working with you.

Published by Park Lane Publishing Contributors

Steve Parker, Robert Windsor, David Stroud, Spencer Stevenson, Carl Hobbis, Sharon Hammond, Natalie Pitts, Igor Popovics, Brooke Neilson, Nezda Leigh, Robert Keen Note to media: If you wish to use items in this magazine that are older than one month, please contact the editor to ensure that the item in question still reflects the current circumstances. Please be advised that BIFA DOES NOT OFFER LEGAL ADVICE. BIFA is not a law firm and the authors of this publication are not legally qualified and do not have any legal training. The guidance and assistance set out herein are based on BIFA’s own experience with the issues concerned and should not be in any circumstances regarded or relied upon as legal advice. It is strongly recommended that anyone considering further action based on the information contained in this publication should seek the advice of a qualified professional.

Steve Parker Director General

February 2023


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