News Desk

Border Force warns forwarders of criminals exploiting crisis

Border Force has published a letter on emerging criminal trends impacting imports during the Covid- 19 crisis.The letter states: To all in the import/export trade and related community, Border Force and partner agencies have identified emerging trends involving criminal groups who are exploiting the current situation, taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to ship illicit goods. In response to this threat, we are writing to those who are on the frontline of the industry to advise them of the threat and ask for continued assistance to protect society. The goods include counterfeit medicines and PPE,

specifically targeting the vulnerable and those at most risk during the Covid-19 crisis. These goods are not fit for purpose; offering little or no protection, they will cost lives if successfully imported into the UK. It is imperative that essential goods can be imported

expeditiously, keeping shops stocked, supporting the infrastructure of the country and allowing vital medical supplies and PPE to those in need. This has become the focus for criminal organisations who are also targeting commodities that fall in to these categories as cover loads to hide their illicit importations, such as drugs and excise goods, etc. We are asking for your continued support and

vigilance to ensure that essential items we, the UK, need reach the end-user as efficiently as practical. If during your business you have any concerns over the legitimacy of a shipment or those behind it, please let us know as soon as possible. This will allow us time to carry out a variety of checks which may prevent any further action being taken, thus allowing legitimate shipments free movement. However, your referral may result in the prevention of an illicit shipment making it through controls, saving lives. Please note that you are solely requested to report any concerns that you may have about suspect

shipments. Border Force does not wish you to investigate or make further enquiries on its behalf. You can either report your suspicions via the website or the Crimestoppers telephone number or website. If you wish to use the avenue, please

type “report a border crime” in the search box and follow the link to the online form. If you wish to use Crimestoppers, either call 0800 555

111 or use the website Your ongoing support and vigilance are greatly

appreciated. BIFA urges Members to join HMRC agents list

BIFA is encouraging its Members to ensure that they are included on a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators being compiled and published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in preparation for 1 January, 2021, when customs declarations will be required on goods moving into and out of the EU. Robert Keen, Director General at

BIFA, said: “Because the UK has left the EU, and whatever the


outcome of the transition negotiations in regards to a trade deal, there will be a considerable increase in customs declarations from 1 January, 2021. “Rather than do the work

themselves, many importers and exporters rely on freight forwarders, which have the appropriate experience, as well as software to communicate with HMRC’s systems, to manage the customs clearance of

their commodities. “Many of those importers and

exporters will be using the government list for reference and that is why we are encouraging BIFA’s Members, which offer customs brokerage services, to ensure that their company is on it.” Further details on how to be

included on the list can be seen at: customs-agents-and-fast-parcel- operators

FIATA stands with seafarers maintaining the global supply chain

FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarding Associations, has extended its support to struggling sea workers who continue to operate despite the pandemic to keep the world’s trade afloat. As the health crisis goes on

affecting lives and nations’ economies, FIATA is calling for collaboration between the freight forwarding and shipping industries. FIATA also supports the crew changes protocols from the International Maritime Organization while urging its implementation. Travel restrictions related to

Covid-19 have forced seafarers to extend their time onboard ships after already long periods away from home to ensure that supplies of essential goods are maintained – creating risks to the safety and mental wellbeing of seafarers. According to the International Chamber of Shipping, 150,000 seafarers were in urgent need of crew change by 15 May. FIATA approached the

International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to find ways to support seafarers and contribute to the network’s work. ISWAN is a membership organisation promoting the welfare of seafarers around the world through direct welfare services and relief funds for seafarers and their families. Its free 24-hour helpline for seafarers, SeafarerHelp, which offers multilingual counselling, is currently receiving three times the number of calls from seafarers and their families who worry about repatriation, financial hardship, and getting a job in the future. As Basil Pietersen, FIATA

president, underlined “The world needs to thank all seafarers and their families for keeping the world’s commerce and the supply of essential goods afloat. Without them, ships do not sail and the global trade stops.”

July 2020

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