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WEBINAR: Retail profitability the focus of new event collaboration between Zencargo and Bis Henderson

Retail margins are under increasing threat from soaring freight rates, poor carrier reliability and fluctuating demand. In response, Zencargo, the digital freight forwarder has announced a new online forum to analyse end-to-end retail profitability.

Scheduled for 14:00 on the 12th August, Guarding profitability through disruption: the retailers guide is being delivered in collaboration with Louisa Hosegood, of global supply chain consultancy Bis Henderson, who formerly held senior logistic roles within Marks and Spencer and John Lewis.

The online event comes in response to the unprecedented disruption in ocean and air freight that threatens the profitability, and even the survival, of many businesses. The event’s moderator, and Zencargo co-founder and CCO, Richard Fattal explains:

“The rules have completely changed, and every business needs to be keeping an eye on their bottom line profitability. It’s not just about logistics teams any more – finance, sales and data teams need to be working together to create joined up decision making that works for the whole business.”

“The changes in logistics, commercial environment and social habits formed in the last 18 months will have long-lasting consequences. Consumers will be voting with their wallets based on new values, higher expectations and evolving ways of living and working. The businesses that can adapt to these changes are the ones that will be able to maintain and grow profits.”

The topics under discussion include:

  • Analysing and comparing the commercial environment of 2021 with recent years
  • Managing customer expectations through uncertainty
  • Calculating landed costs of goods in a volatile environment
  • Updating planning and execution strategies to maximise flexibility and profit.

To read more about the webinar and to register, click here and save your place.

Zencargo announces online event to address the new world of peak rates

As freight rates from Asia to Europe pass the $20,000 per 40ft mark, Zencargo, the digital freight forwarder has announced a new online forum to discuss what shippers can do to manage disruption in their supply chains. 

Scheduled for 14:00 on the 8th July, Surviving Peak Freight is being delivered in collaboration with Lars Jensen, global shipping advisor and CEO of Vespucci Maritime, an ocean freight consultancy.

The online event comes in response to the unprecedented disruption currently shaking ocean freight, where rates are at an all time high, while reliability is at an all time low. Experts now warn that conditions will be disrupted to some extent until H2 2022. In this scenario, the question is no longer ‘When will things get back to normal?’ but ‘What can I do to survive right now?’.

While options for shippers are limited, there are opportunities to manage disruption by planning ahead, collaborating with suppliers and being strategic in modal prioritisation according to shipment value and urgency. This event will explore these strategies, as well as shining a light on what shippers can expect through the rest of the year and into 2022, including: 

  • What we can learn from the current ‘perfect storm’ of rates
  • How to plan for costs in a volatile market
  • Scenario planning for different lengths of disruption
  • Strategies to manage spend at scale

To read more about the webinar and to register, click here and save your place.

Freight association calls for greater clarity and detail on new cross border trade systems

BIFA, the trade association for UK freight forwarders, says the devil will be in the detail when it comes to the raft of recent announcements by the government in regards to various aspects of future cross border international trade.

Robert Keen, the trade association’s Director General said: “The sooner the government puts some meat on the bones of the various announcements, the better it will be for members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), which manage a significant proportion of that visible trade.

“With less than 100 days to go before the end of the transition period, we share the concerns of our members whether there will be sufficient time to make the necessary preparations to facilitate and implement the revised arrangements.”

When the Border Operating Model was revealed, BIFA welcomed the fact that the information contained in the documentation suggests a more cohesive approach to managing the UK’s trade flows and regulatory procedures with the EU.

The announcement gave some clarity on the timing of increased controls; the overall processes that need to be followed; investment in infrastructure; as well as grants for training and new IT infrastructure.

Keen added: “Set within the overall Border Operating Model, a pattern is emerging of announcements with attention-grabbing headlines, but minimal detail that doesn’t appear to have been thought through.”

BIFA says it has significant concerns about the recent announcements concerning the Smart Freight System; Goods Vehicle Movement System, as well as the Trader Support Service for Northern Ireland, in particular, which was announced last week.

Whilst the new systems have been announced, it says consultation with the trade has been minimal and some of the practicalities of implementing the new systems in regards to freight forwarding, and other supply chain responsibilities, as well as document flows, do not appear to have been taken into account.

Keen says: “Clearly, in regards to the Trader Support Service, if businesses wish to remain compliant they will have to implement new processes and train staff, which will mean investment at a time of huge uncertainty.

“We appreciate that Northern Ireland is a special case, but BIFA members are disappointed with certain elements of the announcement, including the fact that the Trader Support Service will include Rest of the World customs entries, which will actually lead to them losing business and revenue.

“The decision to include Rest of the World trade with Northern Ireland in the range of the Trader Support Service activities has come as a complete surprise and we have already had members advising that their customers will  be cancelling the customs clearance services performed on their behalf. 

“There are also significant gaps in detail regarding key customs responsibilities, such as direct and indirect trader status, which can carry significant liabilities.

“BIFA members on both sides of the Irish Sea that have been encouraged to invest in employees, new IT systems; sign contracts and make other financial investments could find themselves out of pocket with the introduction of the Trader Support Service.

“BIFA remains concerned that many of the details concerning the new systems  still appear to be at the conceptual stage. We urge the government to provide urgent clarification as many questions remain unanswered for businesses in the UK, and in particular in Northern Ireland, where both the EU and UK customs rules will be applied, depending on the final destination of the goods.”

“Even with the further financial commitment that was announced alongside the news of the Trader Support Service last Friday, the time frames for consultation; procurement, and then devising the appropriate IT and other operating systems seems extremely challenging.”

Davies Turner trainee recruitment programme enters 10th year

The trainee recruitment programme operated by UK freight forwarder and logistics company Davies Turner has entered its 10th year.

The latest group of recruits for its 2019 training scheme recently completed their initial induction programme at the company’s regional distribution centre at Coleshill in the UK.

The Davies Turner training scheme, which includes both BIFA-accredited and in-house training in its wide-ranging and multimodal freight services, as well as its international logistics operations, is designed to offer a foundation in all elements of the forwarding industry.

The new trainees will learn all aspects of Davies Turner’s multimodal business during the training scheme, which started this month, and – subject to performance and practical experience – they will have the opportunity to progress into management and supervisory roles.

During the training programme participants spend time in all surface freight and logistics divisions, in addition to gaining an overview at Davies Turner Air Cargo, central administration, IT and the company’s accounts department.

Once again, this year, Davies Turner has also recruited additional trainees separately to the group training scheme who will receive training specialising in one area of the company’s business, such as overland trailer services, ocean freight or third party logistics. 

Davies Turner Group Chairman, Philip Stephenson, said: “Although training and apprenticeships for graduates and A-level school-leavers wishing to follow a career in freight forwarding and logistics are firmly back on the agenda in the UK following the recent introduction of the Apprentice Levy as well as the Trailblazer and Government Apprenticeship schemes, Davies Turner has always been ahead of the curve on this important issue.  We need to recruit and train good all-rounders to safeguard the long term future development of the company as well as benefitting their own career satisfaction”.

“We are now in the tenth year of investing in our own comprehensive training programme and I’m pleased to report that most of the more than 100 trainees that we have recruited over the last decade are still working within the company, which I attribute to our mentoring system and determination to challenge trainees with interesting and responsible career opportunities at the end of their two years learning with us.”

Freight forwarders ask: Is the government listening?

Few companies have registered for a new government online system designed to protect value added tax revenues on foreign parcels in the event of a no-deal Brexit, leading the UK representative body for freight forwarding and logistics companies to question whether Government is listening to advice from industry experts.

Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said: “We are not surprised that few companies have signed up for the scheme.

“In principle, the UK’s VAT policy on small parcels, relative mainly to e-commerce trade, expatriates the liability for UK import VAT to businesses that are not established in the UK, thereby significantly reducing HMRC’s ability to enforce VAT compliance and revenue collection; potentially forcing freight forwarders and customs agents to become indirect representatives liable for import VAT and other import charges.

“BIFA and its Customs Policy Group advised HMRC that this would not work in practice, but that advice appears to have been ignored.

“This is not the first time and several recent policy announcements have caused us significant concerns relative to the UK’s Brexit preparations.

“Earlier this year we expressed our concerns privately about the contradictory information on the use of EORI numbers when completing customs entries post-Brexit. The initial guidance was that they could be used, late in the day the decision was reversed, and trade was advised that this was not possible and that EU traders would have to register and obtain a UK EORI number.

“We have also aired our concerns publicly about Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), the Government’s flagship policy aimed at alleviating the congestion at the frontier and facilitating the work of customs agents. We are still lacking detail of the data required to complete the supplementary declaration despite the fact that the original Brexit date has long since passed.

“We are still uncertain whether the proposed TSP procedures will work, post October 31st, when systems are largely untried, communication links between the parties involved on the processes are not established, many remain unaware of their responsibilities, and the freight forwarding companies that are at the heart of international trade movements appear to be excluded from them.”

As an apolitical body, BIFA’s says its policy for many years has been to work positively with government departures and provide constructive criticism and practical suggestions as to how to improve policies, where it is deemed appropriate.

However, it says Brexit has highlighted differences between government policy and the sector of the economy that is responsible for managing the supply chains that underpin the UK’s visible international trade, sometimes straining the relationship and, on occasion, resulting in Government consultation that has been rushed and led to some public policy announcements being made before they have been fully thought through.

Keen concluded: “To date, BIFA has refrained from publicly criticising Government departments. However, recent policy announcements have caused us significant concerns relative to the UK’s Brexit preparations and we feel it appropriate to highlight areas where planning needs considerable improvement.

“We echo the recent words of the Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier and agree that with less than four months to go before the UK is expected to leave the EU, momentum appears to have slowed in Whitehall. Departments must listen to trade associations such as BIFA, urgently step up their preparations and ensure that the country is ready.”

Image by koon boh Goh from Pixabay

Do you specialise in Freight Forwarding? We want to hear from you!

Each month on Supply Chain Briefing we’ll be shining the spotlight on a different part of the logistics and distribution market – and in December we’ll be focussing on Freight Forwarding.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help supply chain industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Freight Forwarding solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Stuart O’Brien on stuart.obrien@mimrammedia.com.

Davies Turner: Brexit-related warehousing requests ‘on the increase’

Davies Turner is seeing an upsurge in enquiries about the availability of warehousing space, driven by customer concerns about the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the future of UK trade with the EU after March next year.

The freight forwarder and logistics service provider said it has previously seen demand for warehousing capacity often reduce in the early months of the new year as many retailers require less stock following the festive season.

However, 2018 has already been a busy year so that spare capacity is very limited and this is likely to continue into 2019.

The company says that the increase in enquiries, many of which are originating from its partners in Europe, seems to be the result of firms deciding to stockpile more goods than usual in preparation for any supply chain disruption that may occur around the still to be negotiated transition period following the UK’s departure from the EU next year.

Davies Turner chairman Philip Stephenson said: “We suspect that the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit will only lead to more demand for short term storage in in the event of no deal or an unsatisfactory outcome with no mutual recognition or trading agreements in place. Depending on the final details of Britain’s trade deal with the rest of Europe, this may turn into a longer term requirement.

“Adding to these pressures will be more predictable factors like the Chinese New Year, which starts at the end of January next year and may also strengthen demand for UK warehousing in March.”