Tag Archives: EU

Business continuity

Cyber attacks by hackers are becoming a huge problem in our increasingly connected and technology-driven world.

A growing threat

Recent examples include the global ransomware attack back in May that disrupted many critical systems – not least in the UK’s National Health Service, which was badly affected for a number of weeks, severely impacting patient care. Closer to home in – terms of the air freight industry at least – was the attack on marine container shippers AP Moller Maersk, that saw a large number of their critical IT systems hit by the so-called ‘Petya’ operation.

One of the key phrases that is usually heard in the aftermath of such attacks is the need for a more robust procedure around ‘business continuity.’ But what does this really mean, and what steps has the industry already taken to lessen the impact of similar attacks – or even global IT system failures such as the one that recently hit British Airways – in the future?

Plan B

A new system that has been implemented in the UK might give some clues as to the future shape of our industry’s response to this issue. The ‘CCS-UK Fallback’ system is intended to allow the UK air cargo industry to continue running in the event of any prolonged problems with the HMRC’s vital CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) system. The new system means that traders will be able to continue processing Customs export declarations even with CHIEF down, and it has been designed to run for 30 days. The system’s development is a great example of collaboration between the private sector and government to safeguard an industry that’s worth billions.

“We have recently seen the horrendous impact of major IT system failures in aviation, and this cannot be allowed to happen to the UK air cargo industry which provides essential support to UK trade and industry, helps maintain our competitiveness on the world stage and supplies urgent commodities that are sometimes a matter of life and death,” says Steve Parker, DHL’s Head of Customs for Europe and Chairman of the CCS-UK User Group.

Safeguarding our customers

Ignazio Coraci comments: “The CCS-UK Fallback system is a real step forward, and I think it could be used as a model right across the sector. The service that we provide as an industry must have effective protection and we should all have business continuity plans in place – it’s the least we owe to the millions of customers who rely on us.”

Post-Brexit future still unclear

As Britain takes its first steps towards leaving the EU by triggering Article 50, the effects of Brexit remain unclear. Ignazio Coraci comments.

The recent meeting of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), in Birmingham highlighted just how much uncertainty there still is around Brexit and its potential impact on our industry. Speaking at the meeting, Robert Keen, BIFA’s director general, reacted to Prime Minister Teresa May’s comments on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union –  and explained that her speech left many questions still unanswered. While some basic principles have been clarified – for example that the UK will try to negotiate ‘tariff-free and frictionless trade’ between Britain and Europe – there is still a lot of uncertainty around the specifics that will directly affect our industry.

“BIFA is hoping that the government has a fundamental understanding of all of the possible permutations and challenges in regards to our future trading relationships with Europe and the rest of the world, post membership of the EU,” he said. “Freight forwarding executives are none the wiser on the actual mechanics of Britain’s future trading relationships and how they might affect the freight forwarding sector.”

A vital role

That much is clear – but as the negotiations for Britain’s exit get started in earnest, the implications of changes to transaction border controls should begin to emerge. Yet with so much detail of the mechanics of whatever will replace the current arrangements still to be decided, organisations like BIFA are fundamental to representing the concerns of our industry to government negotiators.

Joint responsibility

Commenting, Ignazio said: “It’s a developing situation, but it’s important for leaders within the industry to maintain pressure on the UK government throughout the negotiations. As a business, we agree with the Brexit Briefing ASM chairman Peter MacSwiney, who argues that maintaining a ‘frictionless’ border is still the highest priority –  the question now is what the negotiators, and we in the industry itself –  can do to ensure the UK gets just that.”