BIFAlink November 2021

Robert Keen’s Column


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

Many thanks to those readers that took the time to contact us after last month’s edition of BIFAlink . The article regarding driver shortages and road matters by my colleague Robert Windsor seems to have been received well by many of you. It can be a tough act to generate a magazine every month and generally we receive good feedback, but times change, and many people access more instant information feeds from the daily online newsletters such as The Loadstar. We believe there is still an appetite among readers for longer articles, which are naturally written in a different style to internet updates. However, we are embarking on a review of communications to ensure our newsfeed to BIFA Members remains relevant and useful. More information on our plans in the new year. In the meantime all comments, criticisms and suggestions are welcome.

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Director General Robert Keen Executive Director Robert Windsor

This month in BIFAlink you will see articles about ocean freight, which is the lead topic with the media at present. I have heard the question “why doesn’t somebody do something about it?” many times in October, as after years of being under the radar, logistics and supply chains are the current buzz words in the media (with the occasional mention of crisis). I have had many exchanges with radio, TV and print journalists scrambling to learn the intricacies of shipping and what has caused the current problems. The news reports being made are mainly informative and well researched, but by about 11 October we saw the first ‘will Christmas be cancelled?’ story. As readers who move goods every day will know, there is no overnight solution. Add the driver shortage to the impact of ultra large containerships and related port infrastructure that cannot cope, together with distribution depots full to capacity, and the overworked phrase “perfect storm” becomes an apt description. The causes of the current problems are well known to BIFA Members who are, as usual, finding solutions for customers. Is anyone ready for the Customs Declaration System – CDS? There have been reservations expressed by some BIFA Members about the complexity of the new system that will replace CHIEF. October saw the launch of an online training course developed with Agency Sector Management (ASM), which has already had a significant uptake. Early feedback was that the course makes a complicated subject easier to understand, so my thanks particularly to Carl Hobbis and Pawel Jarza at BIFA, Simon Adams from ASM, and Walkgrove, the external company we used to develop the course. By the time you are reading this, the October 2021 Multimodal exhibition should be a good memory. As I write we are gearing up for our first industry sector face-to-face meeting in the BIFA Forwarders Village. Indications are that attendance should be good and this will be an interesting experience as we assess further interaction. We are also planning physical meetings in Anglia, Essex and Dover where many BIFA Members have been urging us to return for some time. The BIFA Awards competition has now closed, and we have had a great response. We are planning the traditional ceremony at the Brewery as I detailed last month. Of course, COVID-19 is still “out there” so we will be watchful of any winter developments that could impact our planning. I am grateful that so many BIFA Members have taken the time to enter the awards, and to do so ahead of the closing date. Usually at this time of the year I am worrying that nobody has entered but then submissions flood in at the closing date. Talking to BIFA Members, I am aware how busy everyone is so thank you for taking time to support the “industry Oscars”, and good luck in getting to the final shortlists which will be nominated to the sponsors’ judging panel in November. Executive Director Spencer Stevenson Executive Director Carl Hobbis Policy & Compliance Advisor Pawel Jarza Policy & Compliance Advisor David Stroud Editorial Co-ordinator Sharon Hammond Membership Supervisor Sarah Milton Published by Park Lane Publishing Contributors

Robert Keen, Robert Windsor, Pawel Jarza, David Stroud, Spencer Stevenson, Carl Hobbis, Sharon Hammond

Note to media: If you wish to use items in this magazine that are older than 1 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.

Robert Keen Director General

November 2021


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