Freight Forwarders Will Continue to Face Big Challenges in 2016

2015 was dominated by dreadful events at the Channel Tunnel, which had a significant impact on freight forwarders

Middlesex, UKJan. 4, 2016—The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the trade association for United Kingdom (UK) freight forwarders, says that 2016 will see its members continuing to face numerous challenges, with some the result of legislative changes and government policy rather than economic issues.

Director General Robert Keen said, “From a legislative perspective, two major impacts on the freight forwarding landscape in 2016 will result from the implementation of the Union Customs Code and the amendment to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requiring the verification of gross mass of containers prior to loading.

“There is still significant confusion about the implications of both legislative changes, and BIFA will continue to hold events to brief members and others to help them manage the change in processes.”

2015 was dominated by dreadful events at the Channel Tunnel, which had a significant impact on freight forwarders that use the crossing for their European overland haulage operations.

With the situation looking likely to continue into 2016, Keen added, “BIFA has repeatedly called for government action to address the problems being caused by the would-be illegal immigrants attempting to stow away on trucks. We will continue to press the authorities in France and the UK to step up their protection of the routes across the channel and fulfill their obligations to let trade move unhindered on this strategic freight route.

"In 2015, BIFA said that it felt that there is some evidence that the UK government is listening to the advice it is getting from the UK’s logistics sector, and we welcomed the freeze in fuel duty and planned investment in the UK’s road infrastructure as being positive signs.

“However, this month, we expressed our dismay at the ongoing delay in a decision on the expansion of airport capacity in the Southeast and sincerely hope that the government will not let party political issues continue to stop progress on this crucial issue in 2016."

Another important issue for BIFA members next year will be education and training.

Keen concluded: “BIFA will continue our work to make more comprehensive educational material available to BIFA members online. We wrestled with this topic for the past few years and have an emerging strategy, which will become clear as 2016 goes on.”