Robert Keen’s Column


BIFAlink is the official magazine of the British International Freight Association Redfern House, Browells Lane, Feltham TW13 7EP Tel: 020 8844 2266 Web site: E-mail: (A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England: 391973. VAT Registration: 216476363)

Director General Robert Keen Executive Director Robert Windsor Executive Director Spencer Stevenson Policy & Compliance Advisor Mike Jones Policy & Compliance Advisor Pawel Jarza Training Development Manager Carl Hobbis Editorial Co-ordinator Sharon Hammond

Published by Park Lane Publishing Contributors Robert Keen, Robert Windsor, Mike Jones, Spencer Stevenson, Carl Hobbis, Sharon Hammond, Pawel Jarza

Regional Consultants to BIFA Scotland and the Borders Len Hobbs: Northern Ireland Carson McMullan: Midlands and the North Paul Young: London West and the South West Colin Young: Anglia, London East and the South East Paul Newman:

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.

April 2019

BIFA stalwart Colin Young retires

Another monthly column and another retirement from the BIFA fold. At the end of April, Colin Young will retire as a forwarding consultant. For BIFA, he was the first Regional Consultant appointed back in the late 1990s. Colin took over our Heathrow and Gatwick meetings to begin with and then added The Solent, Wales, Avon and the South West and Stansted Airport, plus, The Thames Valley. He also became the prime contact in our relationship with Agency Sector Management. Not being someone to let the grass grow under his feet he also led our liaison when the National Clearance Hub was established. Colin started his career in Manchester working for local forwarders before moving to Heathrow as CEO of Air Express International. A consummate performer, we wish Colin a long and happy retirement as he tries to reduce his handicap.

Colin is a tough act to follow so rather than bring in a new person, Mike Jones of our Policy and Compliance

department is going to undertake running the regional meetings in the South and West, together with the London Airports.

Hopefully you all know how to deal with any changes to procedure from Brexit. I prepare this column in the

middle of the preceding month so as I write it is anyone’s guess what the outcome of the parliamentary battles will be. One thing that is obvious from the interaction we are having with BIFA Members is that companies are preparing diligently for all eventualities and checking with our Policy and Compliance team for confirmation of their interpretation about the papers being released by government. We cannot always help as there have been inconsistencies with government information, but where we can help we have been doing so. A big ‘thank you’ to Robert Windsor, Pawel Jarza and Mike Jones who have had an intense first quarter. Also, thank you to your regional contacts, Colin Young, Paul Newman, Paul Young, Carson McMullan and Len Hobbs for their support.

This edition of BIFAlink contains some excellent articles from our Policy and Compliance department. As well

as attending consultation meetings with relevant government departments to ensure the forwarders views are understood by our law makers, the team also answers many enquiries from BIFA Members on a wide range of topics. Many of the enquiries are about specific matters such as a problem with a letter of credit or a contractual matter. All enquiries are logged and the articles in this magazine are our guidance on matters that have been raised by many Members or where we see a trend.

The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) anti-fraud activity (colloquially referred to by BIFA Members as “the

Bicester Operation”), has now been moved to Milton Keynes with a new contractor in place. This operation has been a bone of contention with BIFA Members for a long time. However, the new contract is for five years so we anticipate Members will have ongoing issues and are advised to read the article on page 8.

Another perennial issue is Representation. As well as the article on page 10, BIFA Members are advised to read

our Good Practice Guide published on the BIFA website. The risks of being in an indirect relationship need to be understood by all staff as the penalties can be massive. The final article on page 16 is about Establishment and a reminder of some of the due diligence checks that BIFA Members are advised to consider.

Finally, the launch of the Young Forwarder Network at Harlequins Rugby Club in March was a great success

and I was really pleased to see the backing from BIFA Members who attended with their apprentices. Well done to Carl Hobbis for his drive to get this initiative off to such a great start. Thanks also for the tremendous support from apprentice provider Outsource. Next stop the North West on 11 April. Check for full information.

Robert Keen Director General


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