Big challenges for freight forwarders in 2016

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Freight forwarders will continue to face big challenges in 2016, according to the British International Freight Association (BIFA).

The trade association for UK forwarders, says 2016 will see its members continuing to face numerous challenges, with some the result of legislative changes and government policy, rather than economic issues.

BIFA director general, Robert Keen says: “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 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.”

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

BIFA says the situation is looking likely to continue into 2016. Keen adds: “BIFA has repeatedly called for government action to address the problems being caused by the would-be illegal immigrants attempting to stowaway 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 fulfil 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 south east and sincerely hope that the government will not let party political issues continue to stop progress on this crucial issue, in 2016.”