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The first Annual SYNCHRO-NET meeting

The SYNCHRO-NET project had its first annual project meeting in Barcelona in early June. I had a pleasure to take part in the three-day event and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and sunny weather of the Catalonian capital.

For those who are not yet familiar with the project, SYNCHRO-NET is a three-and-half-year demonstration project on advanced logistics optimization. The project seeks to advance and promote new concepts of synchro-modality and slow steaming for more cost-efficient, less congested and greener intermodal supply chains. The project includes three demonstrations that test slow-steaming and synchro-modal solutions in real international logistics networks. The first demonstrator involves shipping of goods from the Far-East to the ports of Valencia, Algeciras and Barcelona, and subsequent movement by rail inland and final short truck movement. The second demonstrator focuses on regional logistics movements through the Port of Cork. The third demonstrator will address multimodal container movements in major European routes. The project is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Programme.

During the two first days of the meeting, the Partner Forum discussed the SYNCHRO-NET work ahead: standardization, development of a tool for logistics optimization, real-world demonstrations, and exploitation and dissemination of the project’s results. The discussion produced some interesting findings and conclusions. The Partner Forum observed that, given the large number and variety of factors, the optimization of shipping and logistics in terms of cost (including CAPEX, crew cost, fuel), duration, environmental impact, reliability and various types of risks is nothing but an easy task. For example, weather, tide and state of the sea affect maritime logistics, its speed, reliability and cost-efficiency. There was also a great deal of discussion about the dimensions of risk in the meeting. The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) defines risk as the “effect of uncertainty on objectives.” In this light, the concept of risk in the SYNCHRO-NET context covers at least damage to cargo, lead time variability, variability of cost, and possibility of theft and piracy. The Forum concluded that cost-efficiency and quality of international logistics depend largely on real-time awareness and visibility over logistics operations: “the sooner you know, the lower the cost will be to solve the problem.”

The three days of SYNCHRO-NET meetings culminated in the International Logistics and Material Handling (SIL) conference, the primary annual industry fair and networking event for logistics professionals in Spain. In the conference, Mr. Santiago Blasco (DHL) introduced SYNCHRO-NET at the “Consumer & Goods” working session for a large audience. Later that day, a group of leading logistics experts from Spain and the rest of Europe debated on pressing topics at three SYNCHRO-NET roundtables. The roundtable sessions focused on the general theme “How to build win-win solutions synchro-modal logistics stakeholders.” Here are brief summaries of the roundtable sessions:

  • “Smart Steaming – how to build a win-win solution for all stakeholders.” The members of the roundtable raised concerns about organizational, technical and business challenges of future slow steaming. There are obvious draw-back in slow steaming such as longer lead times and lower capacity utilization. However, the panel concluded that smart rather than slow steaming is here to stay: “While maintaining high service level, we can make logistics more cost-efficient.”
  • ”Effective management of synchro-modal logistics.” The panelists of the second session argued that the concept of synchro-modality is not yet very established in the logistics sector. Even so, the panel agreed that synchro-modality builds on real-time optimization, risk analysis and advanced, ITC-enabled logistics planning. Synchro-modality requires visibility over the supply chain, so that logistics planers react to contingencies and can make effective decisions in real time. The panel concluded that collaboration across supply chain operators – especially among shippers, carriers, freight forwarders – is the key to synchronized international logistics.
  • “Synchro-modal IT tools: innovation and value added to the logistics industry.” The third panel focused on the rather technical topic of leveraging cloud-based IT architecture for advanced logistics planning. The panelists saw a great potential in modern ICT solutions to enable synchro-modality, smart steaming and other ways for optimizing international freight transport. There still remain challenges for bridging a broad array of different computer systems for higher degree of logistics interconnectedness and interoperability.

The SYNCHRO-NET project has had a strong start, and the project progresses on the right track and at the full speed after one year of work. There is still much hard work to do over the next six months, for CBRA and other partners. In autumn, CBRA researchers will be focusing on reviewing policies, legislations, and standards that have an effect on synchro-modality and slow steaming. The CBRA team will also continue promoting the SYNCHRO-NET project and its findings at various events and publications. Stay with SYNCHRO-NET and visit the project website www.synchro-net.org.

CBRA Blog by Dr. Toni Männistö

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Figure 1 Santiago Bosco presenting SYNCHRO-NET at the the International Logistics and Material Handling (SIL) conference

New survey on European postal security

PostEurop and Cross-border Research Association have launched a new online survey on postal security management to promote further development and implementation of best security practices in the postal sector. The survey is part of the ongoing SAFEPOST project that the European Commission is co-funding under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). SAFEPOST project going to finish in the end of July after four years of work towards higher postal security in the European Union.

The survey studies the current state of postal security management among PostEurop members, 52 postal operators in 49 European countries. The goal is to collect responses mainly from security and safety managers of the PostEurop members, but also postal expert familiar with sorting and distribution processes are welcome to provide their inputs. The first part of the survey focuses on security implementation and security performance, and the second part studies postal managers’ expectations and concerns regarding the following six main SAFEPOST innovations:

Common Postal Security Space:

SAFEPOST has created an online platform for sharing security-related information between postal operators. This Common Postal Security Space provides a digital track record of security controls and related evidence (for example X-ray images) that a postal parcel has encountered over its journey, and facilitates an easy and controlled way to exchange information both with other operators as well as the authorities.

D-tube drug screening station:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a new screening solution, D-tube, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The D-Tube’s prototype detects illegal substances, such as narcotics and explosives, at high accuracy.

Explosive detection system:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a Raman spectroscopy screening device for detecting trace amounts of explosives and explosive precursors on the outside of postal items. The device is designed to be seamlessly integrated, at the same level as X-ray machines already used today, in the sorting process and detect the explosive threats at a high accuracy and at a low false alarm rate (≈ 1 %).

Image recognition system:

SAFEPOST has developed an Image Recognition solution that photographs five visible sides of a postal parcel at one or more locations in the postal network. The solution compares these images to detect signs of tampering or damage (≈ 92% detection rate). The current solution functions properly when the conveyor belt moves no faster than 0.5 m/s.

Radiological screening:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated detection of radiation in moving parcels, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The current version of the detector is able to detect any harmful level of radiation, and identify the radioactive isotope, and when possible to consider effects of possible attempts of hiding the radioactivity with lead or other shielding material by detecting neutron radiation.

Security standard and certificate:

SAFEPOST project is working towards a new European security standard for the postal operators that would give recommendations about use of security inspection technologies, exchange of security-related information, cyber security, and key security performance indicators. This standard would pave the road towards a voluntary security certification program that would help the postal operators to show their commitment to security.

This survey research is expected to produce interesting new insights about postal security activities and security performance among the PostEurop members. If the response rate is high, the survey findings will set a basis for pan-European benchmarking of security activities. The findings would also contribute to smart policy making, legislation, and standardisation in the field of postal security.

Finally, depending on the response rate, CBRA is going to publish an academic journal paper based on the results. Building on solid theory on supply chain security risk management, the journal paper would provide new empirical about how supply chain security implementation is associated operational and security performance. We expect that collaborative security measures improve both on-time delivery performance (a proxy for operational performance) and supply chain security performance simultaneously. Collaborative security measures include survey items such as “we coordinate security activities with our business customers” and “we exchange customs declaration information with customs authorities electronically [for example, ITMATT or CUSITM messages]”. Another hypothesis is that, on the one hand, non-collaborative security contributes to supply chain security performance but decrease on-time delivery performance on the other hand. Examples of such non-collaborative measures include “we use tamper-evident mail bags to transport high-value postal items” and “We perform security controls also on non-airmail items to detect explosives.” The figure below summarises the theory and hypotheses of the research paper.

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Figure 1 Theoretical framework of the SAFEPOST survey paper

The survey findings will be presented in the final SAFEPOST meeting in Madrid 5-6 July 2016. After the meeting, we hope that we can expand the scope of the survey to cover the rest of the world, as well. The next step would be to contact representatives of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and coordinate distribution of the survey into the organisations’ 192 member countries.

 

First results from the WCO Cancun AEO benefit survey

In today’s CBRA Blog we provide a sneak preview of the outcomes of the AEO Benefit survey carried out by CBRA research team at the 3rd Global WCO AEO Conference, in Cancun, Mexico, 11-13 May 2016.

We keep today’s Blog very simple. First, we would like to introduce a new test-categorization of Customs granted AEO benefits, with the following five groups:

  1. More streamlined / simplified Customs (and related) procedures
  2. Less frequent interventions by the Customs administration
  3. Increased priority over non-AEO companies (“getting to the front of the queue”)
  4. Increased (positive) attention by the Customs administration
  5. Increased number of other privileges granted by the customs administration

And second, we list the AEO benefits from our survey (only question 2 in the survey form, which focuses explicitly on Customs granted benefits to the supply chain companies, and not benefits for Customs themselves, or any kind of “side benefits” for the companies) under each of the five categories. The order of the benefits per category is based on the survey outcomes, i.e. the first bullet point benefit was the most common one in the survey, followed by the second bullet and so forth. Please note that there are no ranking indications between the five groups, neither when it comes to the groups per se, nor to the individual benefits – these will be included in our academic publications, bit later this year…

Group 1. More streamlined / simplified Customs (and related) procedures

  • Enjoying increased paperless processing of import/export shipments
  • Enjoying an access to / pre-qualification with various simplified customs procedures
  • Enjoying having a reduced number of data elements in the (final) declaration
  • Enjoying having entry/exit summary declarations with reduced data sets
  • Enjoying easier access to other governmental certification in the supply chain (e.g. in aviation security)

Group 2. Less frequent interventions by the Customs administration

  • Enjoying minimum number of cargo security inspections
  • Enjoying the option of audit-based / account-based controls (versus only transaction-based controls)
  • Enjoying access to self-audit or reduced audit programs

Group 3. Increased priority over non-AEO companies (“getting to the front of the queue”)

  • Enjoying priority use of non-intrusive inspection techniques when examination is required
  • Enjoying a priority status in Customs processing during a period of elevated threat conditions
  • Enjoying priority response to requests for ruling from Customs
  • Enjoying expedited processes to resolve post-entry or post-clearance inquiries
  • Enjoying priority treatment of consignments if selected for control
  • Enjoying preferential treatment at border crossings in post-disaster/post-attack situations
  • Enjoying a priority status in exporting to affected countries after a security incident

Group 4. Increased (positive) attention by the Customs administration

  • Privilege to deal with designated Customs contact points / assistance by Customs supply chain security experts
  • Privilege to receive training provided by Customs experts
  • Privilege to be notified of the intention to release goods prior to their arrival (“pre-clearance”)
  • Enjoying special treatment in some non-criminal legal cases
  • Privilege to exploit “extended Customs office opening hours”, during high peak / congestion times

Group 5. Increased number of other privileges granted by the Customs administration

  • Enjoying from tax privileges, such as speedier tax refunds and compensation
  • Enjoying the option to manage clearance formalities, inspections etc. at the business site
  • Enjoying from financial guarantee waivers, reductions or rebates
  • Privilege to self-manage the bonded warehouses
  • Enjoying tangible benefits due to mutual recognition agreements / arrangements (MRAs) with 3rd countries
  • Privilege to choose the place of controls (if selected for control)
  • Enjoying reductions on some Customs fees or charges
  • Privilege to conduct self-assessments when Customs automated systems are not functioning

And that’s about it! Please be reminded again that this CBRA Blog is just a first scratch on the surface to start publishing results from the WCO Cancun 2016 AEO conference… And by the way, we are also working to publish the results from the WCO Madrid 2014 AEO conference, as we have been waiting to publish the full results of the both conferences in a parallel manner / in a same paper. In the meanwhile, please email us any feedback, ideas and/or criticism regarding this Blog!

In Lausanne, 8 June 2016, CBRA Blog Dr. Juha Hintsa

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PS. Our earlier Blog with all the WCO Cancun 2016 AEO survey questions can be read at: http://www.cross-border.org/2016/05/08/aeo-benefits-or-no-benefits-thats-the/

PPS. Related literature by the Cross-border Research Association team and key partners:

Most of these papers are available for download at ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Juha_Hintsa/publications . And all of them can be naturally requested by email ( cbra@cross-border.org )

Hintsa, J., Mohanty, S., Rudzitis, N., Fossen, C. and Heijmann, F. (2014), “The role and value of customs administrations in minimization of socio-economic negative impacts related to illicit import flows in freight logistics systems- three preliminary cases in Europe – FP7-CORE”, Proceedings of the 9th WCO PICARD Conference, September 17-19, 2014, Puebla.

Hintsa, J. (2013), AEO – MRA Study for RTC- Thailand Europe Cooperation TEC-II, PDSC: Implementation of international standards on Supply Chain Security leading to a secure Trade Environment and to increased Trade Facilitation (Activity Code : TRA 4), Final Report, Bangkok.

Urciuoli, L. and Ekwall, D. (2012), “Possible impacts of supply chain security certifications on efficiency - a survey study about the possible impacts of AEO security certifications on supply chain efficiency”, Proceedings of Nofoma Conference, June 6-8, 2012, Naantali.

Hintsa, J., Männistö, T., Hameri, A.P., Thibedeau, C., Sahlstedt, J., Tsikolenko, V., Finger, M. and Granqvist, M. (2011), Customs Risk Management (CRiM): A Survey of 24 WCO Member Administrations, Study for World Customs Organization (WCO), February 28, 2011, Lausanne

Hintsa, J., Hameri, A.P., Männistö, T., Lazarescu, M., Ahokas, J. and Holmström, J. (2010), ”Conceptual model for measuring benefits of security in global supply chains”, Proceedings of the the 3rd International Conference on Transportation and Logistics (T-LOG), September 6-8, 2010, Fukuoka City.

Hintsa, J., Ahokas, J., Männistö, T. and Sahlstedt, J. (2010), “CEN supply chain security (SCS) feasibility study”, CEN/TC 379 Supply Chain Security, Final report, January 15, 2010

Gutiérrez, X., Hintsa, J., Wieser, P. and Hameri, A.P. (2007), “Voluntary supply chain security program impacts: an empirical study with BASC member companies”, World Customs Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp.31-48.

Gutierrez, X. and Hintsa, J. (2006), “Voluntary supply chain security programs: a systematic comparison”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems, Logistics and Supply Chain (ILS), May 15-17, 2006, Lyon.

EU logistics security – an interesting decade

I had a great pleasure to work intensively on the European surface transport security standardization efforts, some years ago – this CBRA Blog aims to summarize the main work done, and the key objectives achieved.

 

Couple of years after the US 9/11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the European Commission Directorate General of Transport and Energy, EC DG TREN, started to prepare a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on enhancing cargo surface transport security. In the meanwhile, 9/11 was already triggering an avalanche of new customs, aviation and maritime supply chain security regulations, programs and standards, in the US, Europe and across the globe. But when it came specifically to surface transport security for road and rail cargo (and inland waterways, to that matter) in Europe, nothing was cooking before the DG TREN initiative “Secure Operator”, first announced in 2004. By 2006, the main goal of the EC proposal for a regulation on enhancing supply chain security (SCS) in the EU was shaped as to achieve greater protection of the European freight transport system against possible terrorist attacks. The specific objectives of the draft regulation were defined as: (i) to increase the level of security along the supply chain without impeding the free flow of trade; (ii) to establish a common framework for a systematic European approach without jeopardizing the common transport market and existing security measures; and (iii) to avoid unnecessary administrative procedures and burdens at European and national levels. In addition, the draft regulation related to the need to prevent a patchwork of various supply chain security standards and solutions across EU.

blog2105162However, it quickly became clear that there was no common sense of urgency in supply chain security regulations across EU Member States, particularly in the context of threat of terrorism to surface (cargo) transport. One was lacking a commitment towards an integrated approach, which would urge everybody to look at the holistic supply chain picture. The countries and especially stakeholder (or, lobby) organizations clearly focused on their specific interests on a part of the supply chain, thus appearing uncomfortable when trying to identify the “big picture”. Ultimately, the draft regulation was blocked in the European legislative process and finally officially withdrawn by the Commission, in 2010.

 

 

In the meanwhile, already in 2005, an expert group in supply chain security was formed under the umbrella of European Committee for Standardization (CEN) – and that’s when Cross-border Research Association started to play a role in the “EU land transport security regulations and standards play”, first as the rapporteur for the expert group, and later as the research party for the technical committee in supply chain security. The expert group was formed technically under the CEN working group "Protection and Security of the Citizen” (CEN/BT/WG161), and the (pre)standardization work was partly based on the Logistics Action Plan of the EC that indicated the need for standardization in the transport security domain for the whole logistic chain.

blog2105163Following the conclusions and recommendations by the expert group, the CEN Technical Committee in Supply Chain Security (CEN/TC 379) was established in 2008, producing ultimately three tangible outputs: Supply Chain Security Feasibility Study (in 2010); CEN Technical Report “Supply Chain Security — Good Practice Guide for Small and Medium Sized Operators” (in 2012, CEN/TR 16412:2012); and, a European Standard: Logistics - Specifications for reporting crime incidents (in 2013, EN 16352:2013-06). The first of the outcomes is available for free (ask by email:  cbra@cross-border.org ), and the latter two you can purchase e.g. from your national standardization institute web shop. All in all, great project experience behind us, couple of good publications, and many new contacts and even few friends for lifetime – thus, no regrets, and if asked, would become rapporteur and lead researcher on these important topics, again and again!

 

 

 

 

And finally, when it comes to the future of SCS regulation and standardization work in Europe – in particular in the land transport security sector (e.g. the LANDSEC expert group, Commission Decision 2012/286/EU): do not be shy in exploiting the tangible outcomes of a decade of our joint work, in particular the Euronorm EN 16352:2013-06, “Logistics: specifications for reporting crime incidents” – no reason to reinvent the wheel!

 

CBRA Blog by Dr. Juha Hintsa on 21.5.2016

 

Summarizing the main milestones of the surface transport security 2004-2014 regulatory and standardization process tracks:

A) Regulatory process -track was largely driven by the European Commission Directorate General for Transport and Energy (EC DG TREN), comprising of the following five sequential steps:
A1. Preparation of the Secure Operator legislation at EC DG TREN (2004-2006)
A2. Publication of the legislative proposal (EC, 2006a)
A3. Publication of an impact assessment study (EC, 2006b)
A4. Announcements and debates at European Parliament and Council (2006-2009)
A5. Withdrawal of the proposal by the Commission, (18.9.2010)

B) Standardization process -track - for which the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) was responsible – consisting of the following seven, chronologically ordered steps:
B1. Establishment of an Expert group in supply chain security, under CEN/BT/WG161, "Protection and Security of the Citizen” (2005)
B2. Publication of the final report of the Expert group, approved by CEN/BT/WG161 (14.11.2006)
B3. Establishment of the CEN Technical Committee in Supply Chain Security, CEN/TC 379 (2008)
B4. Publication of Supply Chain Security Feasibility Study (15.1.2010)
B5. Publication of the CEN Technical Report, CEN/TR 16412:2012 “Supply Chain Security — Good Practice Guide for Small and Medium Sized Operators” (2012)
B6. Publication of a European Standard: Logistics - Specifications for reporting crime incidents, EN 16352:2013-06 (2013)
B7. Closure of the CEN Technical Committee in Supply Chain Security, CEN/TC 379 (2014).

 

blog2105164

Main references / bibliography:

  • CEN (2013), “Logistics: specifications for reporting crime incidents”, EN 16352:2013-06
  • CEN (2012), “Supply chain security (SCS): Good practice guide for small and medium sized operators”, CEN/TR 16412:2012
  • CEN (2006), “Expert group: Supply chain security”, approved by CEN/BT/WG161, 14.1.2006
  • EC (2012), “Commission Staff Working Document on Transport Security”, SWD(2012), 143 final.
  • EC (2006a), COM(2006)79 final, 2006/0025(COD), COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS on enhancing supply chain security Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on enhancing supply chain security, (SEC(2006)251)
  • EC (2006b), SEC(2006)251 COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT. Annex to the COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS on enhancing supply chain security and Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on enhancing supply chain security - IMPACT ASSESSMENT - {COM(2006)79 final}
  • Hintsa, J., Ahokas, J., Männistö, T. and Sahlstedt, J. (2010), “CEN supply chain security (SCS) feasibility study”, CEN/TC 379 Supply Chain Security, Final report, 15.12010

 

 

AEO benefits, or, no benefits, that’s the?

“To be, or not be – that is the question”, was Prince Hamlet wondering already some 412 years ago. 400 years later, the CBRA research team started to raise the question of “AEO benefits, or no AEO benefits – that is the ?”…

 

Around year 2004, we first started to study the emerging AEO-types of programs in Europe and globally, working intensively with multinational companies (clothing, cigarettes, machinery etc.), and with multiple governments. Initially, we reviewed any data available from C-TPAT, StairSec, BASC and TAPA programs, and later we concentrated on EU AEO and all other AEO programs across the globe. After 12 years of research our intention is to publish an academic journal paper summarizing all the knowledge from the literature as well as from our own research on AEO benefits for Customs administrations and for supply chain companies – focusing on the tangible, realized benefits, instead of “paper tiger / lip service” types of benefit checklists.

As the last step of data collection, we are now launching the study: “Customs Supply Chain Security Programs (AEO, C-TPAT etc.) - Survey on Supply Chain and Government Benefits – WCO 3rd Global AEO Conference, Cancun, Mexico, 11-13 May 2016 - Research project by CBRA, ZLC, UCR, HEC UNIL and FP7-CORE”. This survey is a direct follow-up with the one CBRA did in the 2nd Global AEO Conference in Madrid two years ago. Ms. Susana Wong Chan from the University of Costa Rica and Cross-border Research Association is presenting the survey in Cancun next week, and collecting as many replies as possible, in person during the conference (and by email after).

We have three main questions in the Cancun AEO survey, each one with multiple sub-questions (all questions are presented with a five-point Likert scale, plus one option for “cannot say”):

  • Question for Customs administrations, supply chain companies, and all other experts in cross-border supply chains and Customs supply chain security programs: How often are the supply chain security program certified companies in your country benefiting from the following Customs granted incentives?
  • Question for Customs administrations only: What are the benefits for the Customs administration in your country arising from the supply chain security program?
  • Question for supply chain companies only: What are the additional benefits for the supply chain companies in your country, arising from the supply chain security program participations / certifications?

blog 08.05.20162The full list of questions and sub-questions is shared at the end of this blog. In addition, you can download the questionnaire in word-format, in English and in Spanish, at:  http://www.cross-border.org/downloads/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why don’t (near) perfect AEO benefit -papers exist yet in the literature? One would think that the topic attracts lots of academics to carry out such research, and to publish their exciting findings, rather sooner than later… Well, it is quite challenging topic to study: where is the objective, non-biased data located, and how do you get access to it? How to deal with all the politics linked to the topic, as maybe many countries would like to be perceived as “leading edge AEO program holders, with a set of fantastic, innovative benefits delivered to the trade and logistics…”? How to differentiate between all the AEO marketing materials and incentive promises from what is actually implemented on the ground, for the real benefit of supply chain companies; and so forth..? To expand on these thoughts, one could revisit our article on the WCO News No 74 of June 2014. The table on page 45 includes a row on challenges and peculiarities with different categories of possible AEO benefits, sharing following observations and notes:

  • As some of the Customs granted benefits existed in many countries before the AEO era, companies which have enjoyed “such pre-AEO benefits” may fear a potential reduction in existing trade facilitation measures - instead of the introduction of truly new benefits.
  • Due to the dynamics in the cross-border flow of goods, outcomes might vary considerably over time – ‘seeing is believing’; in particular, the benefits linked to ‘elevated threat’ and ‘post-incident recovery’, may appear quite theoretical until such situations actually emerge (and the benefits materialize – or, not).
  • Some could also consider that the AEO system may become a technical trade barrier – the ´become an AEO or die´ scenario.
  • Some might think that an AEO program deters crime, as criminals would rather choose an easy target (i.e. a non-AEO target), for example in the case of warehouse theft; and, alternatively, other might think that an AEO program attracts criminals, as they know there are likely to be fewer Customs interventions – the smuggling of narcotics, for example.

 

Blog_080520163Dear CBRA Blog reader: although this is very challenging research topic, and one should not dream of reaching “one ultimate truth out there” – we kindly ask that if you are in Cancun 11-13 May for the 3rd Global AEO Conference, please take 10 minutes to reply the questionnaire..! Next to the good vibrations gained from participation in this highly important study, you will join a lucky drawing of a nice Costa Rican souvenir! In Lausanne, 9 May 2016, Juha Hintsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS. List of benefit survey questions, for the CBRA Blog readers:

Customs Supply Chain Security Programs (AEO, C-TPAT etc.) - Survey on Supply Chain and Government Benefits – WCO 3rd Global AEO Conference, Cancun, Mexico, 11-13 May 2016 - Research project by CBRA, ZLC, UCR, HEC UNIL and FP7-CORE

 

Question for Customs administrations, supply chain companies, and all other experts in cross-border supply chains and Customs supply chain security programs: How often are the supply chain security program (AEO, C-TPAT etc.) certified companies in your country benefiting from the following Customs granted incentives?

Use the following scale: Very frequently – Frequently – Occasionally – Rarely - Never / Not applicable in our country (or, this is nothing specific for certified companies) - Cannot say

  • Are companies submitting entry/exit summary declarations with reduced data sets?
  • Are companies benefiting from reduced number of data elements in their final declaration?
  • Are companies benefiting from increased paperless processing of import/export shipments?
  • Are companies offered the option of audit-based / account-based controls (versus only transaction-based controls)?
  • Are companies having access to / pre-qualification with various simplified customs procedures?
  • Are companies self-managing their bonded warehouses?
  • Are companies benefiting from tax privileges, such as speedier tax refunds and compensation?
  • Are companies benefiting from financial guarantee waivers, reductions or rebates?
  • Are companies benefiting from reduction of any Customs fees or charges?
  • Are companies benefiting from access to self-audit or reduced audit programs?
  • Are companies allowed to conduct self-assessments when Customs automated systems are not functioning?
  • Are companies benefiting from designated Customs contact points / assistance by Customs supply chain security experts?
  • Are companies benefiting from training provided by Customs experts?
  • Are companies enjoying easier access to other governmental certification in the supply chain, e.g. in aviation security?
  • Are companies benefiting from the option to manage clearance formalities, inspections etc. at the business site?
  • Are companies benefiting from a minimum number of cargo security inspections?
  • Are companies being notified of the intention to release goods prior to their arrival? (“pre-clearance”)
  • Are companies benefiting from “extended Customs office opening hours”, during high peak / congestion times?
  • Are companies benefiting from choice of place of controls, if selected for control?
  • Are companies benefiting from priority treatment of consignments if selected for control?
  • Are companies benefiting from priority use of non-intrusive inspection techniques when examination is required?
  • Are companies guaranteed a priority Customs processing during a period of elevated threat conditions?
  • Are companies guaranteed preferential treatment at border crossings in post-disaster/post-attack situations?
  • Are companies guaranteed a priority in exporting to affected countries after a security incident?
  • Are companies benefiting from expedited processes to resolve post-entry or post-clearance inquiries?
  • Are companies benefiting from priority response to requests for ruling from Customs?
  • Are companies benefiting from privileges in any kind of non-criminal legal cases?
  • Are companies enjoying tangible benefits due to mutual recognition agreements / arrangements (MRAs) with 3rd countries?

blog 08.05.20164

 

Question for Customs administrations only: What are the benefits for the Customs administration in your country arising from the supply chain security program (AEO, C-TPAT etc.)?

Use the following scale: Strongly Agree – Agree - Neither Agree nor Disagree – Disagree - Strongly Disagree - Cannot say

  • Better overall allocation of governmental resources
  • Improved indirect tax revenue collection
  • Improved prevention of trafficking and illicit trade
  • Improved detection and/or seizures in trafficking and illicit trade
  • Improved prosecution to judgements -ratio (= higher percentage of successful prosecutions)
  • Increased confiscations of criminal assets and/or proceeds of crime
  • Improved collaboration with supply chain companies
  • Improved collaboration with other national government agencies
  • Improved international collaboration with Customs administrations in other countries

 

Question for supply chain companies only: What are the additional benefits for the supply chain companies in your country, arising from the supply chain security program participations / certifications (AEO, C-TPAT etc.)?

Use the following scale: Strongly Agree – Agree - Neither Agree nor Disagree – Disagree - Strongly Disagree - Cannot say

  • Improved customer service
  • Improved customs loyalty
  • Increased market share/ gaining more new customers
  • Improved security commitment of employees
  • Improved company image and credibility
  • Reduced overall vulnerability of the supply chain
  • Improved supply chain resiliency
  • Reduced cargo theft incidents
  • Reduced tax fraud incidents
  • Reduced illicit trade / trafficking incidents
  • Reduced insurance fees
  • Improved inventory management
  • Fewer delayed cross-border shipments
  • Reduced lead time variability in the cross-border supply chain

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PPS. Related literature by the Cross-border Research Association team and key partners:

Most of these papers are available for download at ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Juha_Hintsa/publications . And all of them can be naturally requested by email ( cbra@cross-border.org )

Hintsa, J., Mohanty, S., Rudzitis, N., Fossen, C. and Heijmann, F. (2014), “The role and value of customs administrations in minimization of socio-economic negative impacts related to illicit import flows in freight logistics systems- three preliminary cases in Europe – FP7-CORE”, Proceedings of the 9th WCO PICARD Conference, September 17-19, 2014, Puebla.

Hintsa, J. (2013), AEO – MRA Study for RTC- Thailand Europe Cooperation TEC-II, PDSC: Implementation of international standards on Supply Chain Security leading to a secure Trade Environment and to increased Trade Facilitation (Activity Code : TRA 4), Final Report, Bangkok.

Urciuoli, L. and Ekwall, D. (2012), “Possible impacts of supply chain security certifications on efficiency - a survey study about the possible impacts of AEO security certifications on supply chain efficiency”, Proceedings of Nofoma Conference, June 6-8, 2012, Naantali.

Hintsa, J., Männistö, T., Hameri, A.P., Thibedeau, C., Sahlstedt, J., Tsikolenko, V., Finger, M. and Granqvist, M. (2011), Customs Risk Management (CRiM): A Survey of 24 WCO Member Administrations, Study for World Customs Organization (WCO), February 28, 2011, Lausanne

Hintsa, J., Hameri, A.P., Männistö, T., Lazarescu, M., Ahokas, J. and Holmström, J. (2010), ”Conceptual model for measuring benefits of security in global supply chains”, Proceedings of the the 3rd International Conference on Transportation and Logistics (T-LOG), September 6-8, 2010, Fukuoka City.

Hintsa, J., Ahokas, J., Männistö, T. and Sahlstedt, J. (2010), “CEN supply chain security (SCS) feasibility study”, CEN/TC 379 Supply Chain Security, Final report, January 15, 2010

Hold on, before blaming it on the OGAs!

It is common since many years already that the global customs community is pointing their “blaming finger” to other government agencies – OGAs – when it comes to identifying root causes behind too long cargo release times at sea ports and other border crossing points, high costs for importers and exporters to conduct international trade, and so forth. Now, without denying this as a plausible scenario, the CBRA research team proposes to take one step backwards, by first building a solid framework for analyzing and deeply understanding what is actually happening at the borders with Customs and all the other agencies, before rushing to conclusions on “who is to be blamed for poor / expensive cross-border performance…”. Therefore - for both educational purposes (FP7-CORE, work package 19.1) and for analytical purposes (Border Agency Cooperation study with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC), we have produced the following “universal border control task list” - naturally understanding that a perfect single universal list cannot exist. The list is first exploited during April-May 2016 in the OIC Embassy survey (here in Switzerland), to explore who is responsible for specific cross-border controls in various OIC member countries, and to what extent customs is performing tasks on behalf of other (border) agencies. Later, we plan to use the this as a “de-facto border agency control check-list” in our future studies, across the globe.

Again, the first step before analyzing which agencies to blame, is all about understanding what are the typical cross-border control tasks all about, considering all three task categories:

  • Border control tasks which typically cover all commodities;
  • Border control tasks which typically focus on specific commodities; and
  • Other border agency control areas.

 

Now, lets go through all three of them, starting with the first one, and followed by the other two:

Border control tasks which typically cover all commodities:

  • Calculation and collection of indirect border taxes:
    • customs duties
    • sales / value added taxes
    • excise taxes
  • Calculation and collection of other import/ transit/ export fees and taxes (e.g. environmental fee at export)
  • Compilation of trade statistics

Border control tasks which typically focus on specific commodities:

  • Control of import quota restricted products
  • Calculation and granting of export subsidies
  • Control of product safety / conformity of goods / trading standards (please separate agencies per product category, if necessary)
  • Control of food, drinks, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals (including for general health and safety purposes)
  • Control of energy related materials / products (e.g. oil and coal, could be for export taxation purposes etc.)
  • Enforcement of intellectual property rights / fight against copyright infringements / anti-counterfeit
  • Control of plant diseases, pests and extraneous species (i.e., phytosanitary controls)
  • Animal quarantine and controls (i.e. veterinary controls, including pet controls)
  • Control of any biohazards (including deliberate ones)
  • Control of CITES protected species (i.e. endangered fauna and flora)
  • Control of natural resources under license requirements, harvesting quotas etc. (including specific fish, wood, minerals, diamonds etc.)
  • Control of cultural artifacts (stolen / looted, and/or illicitly traded)
  • Control of any stolen goods (including vehicles, machinery, cargo etc.)
  • Fight against drugs / illicit narcotics trafficking (including pre-cursors)
  • Control of waste flows (including those in the Basel Convention on transboundary movements)
  • Control of dual use / strategic goods
  • Control of dangerous goods / hazardous materials
  • Control of explosives and weapons:
    • explosives (including pre-cursors)
    • small arms and light weapons
    • defense / war materials
  • Control of nuclear and radioactive materials

Other border agency control areas:

  • Conveyance / cargo transport security and safety controls:
    • for maritime, including sea ports
    • for aviation, including airports
    • other modes: road, rail, inland waterways etc.
  • Traveler, crew and immigration controls:
    • visa and passport controls
    • trafficking of human beings and people smuggling
    • asylum seekers
    • passenger cars and vehicles in terms of temporary admission
  • Control of weight of cargo (including for road safety purposes)
  • Cash controls (cash smuggling and counterfeit currency)
  • Cyber security (customs and supply chain IT systems, critical infrastructure IT etc.)

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Dear CBRA Blog and CBRA Monthly readers: we kindly invite your inputs to make the list more comprehensive / better in the future, so please send us an email with your ideas, to cbra@cross-border.org . And thanks already now to the multiple experts from national Customs administrations and international organizations for your valuable help so far– it has been great working with you on all these studies, keeping them as pragmatic as possible… (detailed acknowledgements will be published later). And it goes without saying that soon we will start looking on the next-step aspects on customs versus other government agencies, in the context cross-border supply chain costs and delays – please stay tuned for more!

Three calls for journal and conference papers

This CBRA Blog advertises three important calls for papers in 2016: Special Issue for Journal of Transportation Security (to be published in 2017); the 11th WCO Customs-Academia PICARD Conference (Sep.2016); and the 7th European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (Aug.2016).

 

1. Journal of Transportation Security, Special Issue: Enhancing supply chain security through government-to-government and government-to-business partnerships and collaboration

Journal of Transportation Security (JTRS): The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent events have compelled stakeholders to understand transport security as more than a single element of the global networks that move people and goods. Once a routine component of modern transportation, security now represents a vital necessity and an urgent national priority. The Journal of Transportation Security probes the relevant aspects of many critical areas of study, including supply chain and logistics; information technology; public policy; international business; political science; engineering; transportation; economics; and counterterrorism, among others. This journal is the first to take a global, apolitical, and in-depth multidisciplinary look at the field. The mission of the journal is to disseminate new research, thought, and analysis for teachers, researchers, policy makers and practitioners around the world who view transportation security as a critical element in the post 9/11 world.

Partnerships and collaboration play a crucial role in the fight against crime in the global supply chains. Investments in traditional security areas such as physical security, personnel security, and IT security no longer suffice. Both government and business actors should extend their security efforts beyond their organizational boundaries, by fostering relationships with each other. Further government-to-government and government-to-business collaboration has a great potential to improve security of the supply chain and regulatory compliance of the trading community, while facilitating trade and logistics for the legitimate, security aware companies. The scope of collaboration covers a broad range of activities, including sharing of information and data; investing in common resource pools and sharing resources; and agreeing on optimum protocols for conducting inspections and audits in the supply chains. Enhancing the information exchange, for example, would help governments and companies to prevent and detect security breaches in supply chains and to recover faster once the breaches happen. In principle, both government and business actors share a common goal of mitigating crime in the global supply chains. Priorities and procedures, however, differ markedly between various business actors (e.g., shippers, carriers, freight forwarders) and government agencies (e.g., customs, police and transport security authorities).

Call for abstracts for the JTRS Special issue is open until 30 September 2016, please visit: www.springer.com ...   

(CBRA / Dr. Juha Hintsa is the lead guest editor for this special issue; and abstract review panel consists of multiple experts in FP7-CORE project).

 

 

2. The 11th Annual WCO Picard Conference - Manila, Philippines - 27-29 September 2016

The World Customs Organization and the Philippine Bureau of Customs are pleased to announce the 11th annual WCO Picard Conference. You are invited to submit your research for presentation at the conference. Papers should focus on Customs or, more globally, the regulation, dynamics, and practices of international trade. Although not required, writers could consider submitting research on the following topics: Digital Customs; security; taxation and other revenue matters; and illicit trade.

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Call for papers is open until 15 June 2016, please visit: www.wcoomd.org...

(CBRA / Dr. Juha Hintsa is part of the Scientific Board for the conference; and he also belongs to the PICARD Advisory Group).

 

 

 

3. The 7th European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (EISIC) - Uppsala, Sweden – 17-19 August 2016

Intelligence and Security Informatics (ISI) research is an interdisciplinary field of research that focuses on the development, use, and evaluation of advanced information technologies, including methodologies, models and algorithms, systems, and tools, for local, national and international security related applications. Over the past decade, the ISI research community has matured and delivered an impressive array of research results that are both technically innovative and practically relevant. The 2016 European ISI Conference is the seventh ISI conference to be organized by the European ISI community. The conference was first held in 2008 and has been organized annually since 2011.

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Call for papers is open until 18 May 2016, please visit: http://www.eisic.eu/call.aspx

(CBRA / Dr. Toni Männistö delivers a keynote presentation on FP7-CORE, focusing on Supply chain security education and training (CORE WP19.1) ).

SIECA delegation visiting Europe in June 2015

I had a great pleasure to be the lead host for a 12 person SIECA delegation visit to Europe in June 2015. We spent two days in the Netherlands, one day in Belgium and two days in Switzerland in an action-packed tour, visiting several border areas, governmental offices and beyond.

The idea to organize a one-week customs and international trade visit tour to Europe first came when Mr. Roman Stoll from the Federal Customs Administration of Switzerland and I paid a four-day visit at the SIECA Secretariat in Guatemala City in March 2015. There we had several meetings and discussions on World Trade Organization´s Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO TFA, implementation plans with the SIECA management – Ms. Carmen Gisela Vergara Mas and Mr. Javier Gutierrez; with Customs management and experts from all the six SIECA member countries; and with representatives of the Intra-American Development Bank. Some weeks after the Guatemala-visit, SIECA and IDB confirmed the willingness to come over to Europe, to learn about good practices in international trade, supply chain and border management in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. And after couple of hundreds of emails and phone calls – myself acting as the focal point in arranging the visit – we were ready to welcome the SIECA Delegation to Europe between Monday 1 June and Friday 5 June, 2015.

blog 22.03.20161Monday-Tuesday we had a full agenda in the Netherlands. Monday started by presentations on Dutch Customs in general, and Schiphol Customs in specific, focusing on risk management, coordinated border management, and the SmartGate solutions at the Schiphol Airport. This was followed by a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs, as well as with an expert from the air cargo industry. During Monday the SIECA delegation gained firsthand knowledge for example on One-Stop Shop (OSS) implementation steps in the Netherlands: Step 1. Information exchange; 2. Joint inspections; 3. Training specialists; 4. Joint risk analysis by both inspections and selection by Customs; and Step 5. One inspection inspects for the other. The program on Tuesday consisted of a tour in Port of Rotterdam, at the APM 2 Container terminal; as well as a visit to the Central command post of nuclear detection and an X-ray container scanner. In between we had a typical “Dutch sandwich” lunch, kindly offered by the hosts. The delegation enjoyed seeing the ultimate high level of automation at the new container terminal, as well as visiting a pragmatic “one stop inspection room”, where multiple border agencies work together inspecting containers flagged for manual inspections.

Wednesday was spent in Brussels, Belgium. In the morning, the trade representatives of the SIECA Delegation went to the European Commission, DG TRADE, for EU-SIECA related discussions. In the afternoon, most of the delegation visited the World Customs Organization, where the meeting started with discussions with the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya and the WCO Deputy Secretary General Mr. Sergio Mujica. This was followed by a presentation on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the linked WCO Instruments, by Ms. Heike Barczyk, the Deputy Director of Compliance and Facilitation Directorate at the WCO. Lastly, we had a brief presentation and roundtable discussions on the European Flagship Supply Chain Security Research, Development and Demonstrations project called FP7-CORE. This discussion was joined by Mr. Nik Delmeire, the Secretary General of the European Shippers Council; Ms. Nicolette van der Jagt, the Secretary General of CLECAT, the European association for forwarding, transport, logistics and customs services; and myself, Dr. Juha Hintsa, Founder of the Cross-border Research Association. After the meeting at WCO, it was time to fly from Brussels to Basel, Switzerland.

blog 22.03.20162Thursday-Friday we had a packed program in Switzerland. Despite some “navigation challenges” with our three-car convoy, we arrived on time from Basel to Bern at the Directorate General of the Federal Customs Administration. We heard several interesting presentations focusing on performance mandate, tasks and strategy of Swiss Customs; on international affairs section and it’s relevant international cooperation program; on shifts from traditional revenue collection to environmental and incentive taxes; and on strategy and challenges regarding future customs clearance systems and platforms – all this by three top experts from Swiss Customs. I presented the outcomes of Swiss Customs and Cross-border Research Association -visit to SIECA in March 2015, suggesting some specific areas and priorities for future co-operation activities. Next, the Delegation visited the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, where the discussions focused on Swiss foreign policy in Central America and bilateral cooperation Switzerland - Central America; as well as on political and economic regional integration in Central America. After a quick photo session on the Bundeshaus terrace facing over River Aare, our journey continued towards the Swiss Customs facilities at the Zurich Airport. Again, there were some “logistics challenges” on the way to Zurich, when one of our three cars suddenly lost all engine coolant – fortunately a gas station was close by, and a road service company (car + mechanic) happened to be there. At the Zurich Airport, the SIECA Delegation learned a lot of details about Swiss Customs operations with air cargo and passenger flows. And as the last agenda item, we met a cute black Labrador retriever, who together with his trainer showed how effortlessly he finds illicit goods hidden in air cargo boxes and pallets…

On Friday morning – last day of the journey – we had again an early wake-up call at our hotel in Basel. We were warmly welcomed by Swiss Customs Officers at the Basel/Weil- Motorway border-crossing point – the highest volume customs clearance point in Switzerland. First the hosts explained about facts and figures on Basel/Weil, topped with interesting information on customs risk management processes and IT-systems. Now we all know that on average 3500 trucks cross the Basel/Weil border per day, and that around 600 million CHF is collected annually as indirect taxes at that border crossing point. After that we took a rooftop view over the border area premises, discussing further Import/Export/Transit -procedures, as well as visited the Swiss Transito-Cabins / Checkpoints. From the motorway we drove to the Swiss Customs House at the Basel Port, visiting the famous tri-border-point between Switzerland, Germany and France. There the Delegation learned about the barge traffic on River Rhine – the same river we saw three days earlier at Port of Rotterdam. From the Basel Port, we drove again to Bern, this time to visit the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO. Lively discussions took place on the SECO rooftop meeting room on topics including EFTA – Central American FTA, as well as Bilateral Economic Relations Switzerland – Central America. And after lunch kindly offered by SECO, we headed towards Geneva for the final meeting of the week: World Economic Forum, WEF, where we all arrived just in time to learn about the organization and the key activities of WEF, including: the work of the WEF in Latin America, with updates from the Latin American Summit; and, the work of the WEF on trade and investment policy and implementation, including Policy Directions, Enabling Trade Index, Enabling Trade implementations. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UNECE, was kind enough to explain about latest developments and trends in single window projects and implementations. And lastly, I shared briefly select work on trade facilitation and supply chain security research and education materials by the Cross-border Research Association and HEC University of Lausanne.  I highlighted the important developments taking place within the FP7-CORE project - referring naturally to our meeting two days earlier at the World Customs Organization.

This concludes the brief summary of the SIECA week in Europe, and now I would like to thank all the SIECA Delegation members for coming over and spending the five days with us, here on the old continent:

  • Costa Rica: Mr. Jhon Fonseca, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mr. Luis Fernando Vasquez Castillo, Costa Rica Customs.
  • El Salvador: Mrs. Luz Estrella Rodriguez, Vice Minister Foreign Trade
  • Guatemala: María Luisa Flores Villagran, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mrs. Maria Elisa Chang, Guatemala Customs.
  • Honduras: Jeronima Urbina, Director of Economic Integration
  • Nicaragua: Eddy Aldolfo Artola Garciá, Director Risk Management of Nicaragua Customs.
  • Panama: Melitón Arrocha. Minister Foreign Trade; Mrs. Diana Salazar, Vice Minister Foreign Trade; and Mr. José Gómez Núnez DG of Panama Customs.
  • SIECA Secretariat: Carmen Gisela Vergara Mas, Secretary General
  • Intra-American Development Bank: Mr. Jaime Granados

And last but not least, warmest thanks to all the local hosts: Dutch Customs Administration; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs; European Commission DG TRADE; World Customs Organization; Federal Customs Administration of Switzerland; Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland; State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland; and World Economic Forum.

CBRA Blog by Juha Hintsa

blog 22.03.20163PS. If your country / region would be interested on a similar European field visit, please contact us – we could organize the practical details for the next delegation, possibly every 1-2 years (of course the actual hosts need to agree to the visit in the first place, that goes without saying…). And one final note: next time a bus and a professional driver need to be rented, please!

 

FP7-CORE Education – Two new diagrams

Today’s CBRA Blog presents two new diagrams which have been recently designed and developed in the context of FP7-CORE Education and training work (Work package 19.1). The information visualized in the diagram is based on CBRA’s supply chain security research work since year 2001, particularly from the past 5-6 years.

Some background information on the first diagram of crime types in global supply chains has been presented before for example in CBRA’s Blog of 13 October 2014 – Crime taxonomies from Athens. In the center of this diagram we list the crime types - including document fraud and cybercrime - which in the supply chain criminal context are performed in order to succeed with the actual economic or ideological crime, e.g. cargo theft or terrorism.

The left area of the circle lists four examples of crime types, which typically are of primary concern for supply chain companies: cargo theft, sabotage, parallel trade and product specification fraud. With such crime types it is commonly up to the companies to prevent, to detect and to react – of course, law enforcement agencies can be called for any time there is reasonable suspicion of such activities (and naturally in certain cases the government agencies may even be the first ones to detect and react, e.g. in case of armed robberies and truck hijackings).

The right area of the circle deals with supply chain incidents where the authorities typically focus on prevention, detection and reaction: fraud in indirect border taxes; trafficking / violations in cross-border restrictions and prohibitions; human trafficking; and exploitation of illicit labor. From supply chain perspective one can characterize them as “a priori non-disruptive illegal activities – only if / after authorities detect the violations, the supply chain is disrupted and the involved supply chain companies can get in trouble”.

Lastly, on the bottom area of the circle, we list four supply chain crime areas where the prevention typically is in strong interest of both supply chain companies and governmental agencies – and, the detection and (instant) reaction varies on case-by-case basis: counterfeiting, sales channel violations, sea piracy and terrorism. Counterfeiting hits revenues on both sides of the equation, and, with many products can also be health damaging or even lethal. Not having proper sales licenses, and/or selling to unauthorized buyers – for example cigarettes and alcohol, dual use and strategic goods etc. – can again harm both the involved companies and the society as a whole. And of course, sea pirates hijacking cargo ships; bombs exploding and bringing planes down; and terrorists attacking critical supply chain infrastructures, all are in the best interest of both companies and government agencies to prevent, to detect, and to react – in the fastest and most effective possible manner.

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The second new educational diagram below depicts the negative socio-economic impact areas – six in total – caused by twelve typical smuggling and trafficking activities. The data behind it has been presented before e.g. in CBRA’s Blog of 14 January 2015 – Socio-economic damages. Inside the square we present the six societal impact areas – the larger the area, the more links there are between the trafficking activities and the negative impacts. As an example of a “big area”, seven different types of trafficking typically lead into increasing market place distortions and/or unfair competition. In the other extreme, only trafficking in stolen cultural products leads to losses in cultural heritage.

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That’s all for the CBRA Blog today – please let us know if you see this type of visualization as beneficial when teaching and learning about the big picture of supply chain security!  Thanks, Juha Hintsa ( email: cbra@cross-border.org )

Revisiting the Yemen bomb plot of 2010

blog_070316This CBRA blog revisits the Yemen bomb plot from 2010, the most decisive turning point in modern air cargo security. More than five years after the events, this blog discusses the plot’s implications to the contemporary air cargo security and outlines CBRA’s recommendations for future security work. Parts of this blog text have already been published in the doctoral thesis of CBRA researcher Toni Männistö.

Two explosive devices aboard passenger planes: The series of events, that we call the Yemen bomb plot, took place on 29 October in 2010. On that day, al-Qaeda terrorists almost destroyed two passenger airplanes with a pair of express courier parcels, each enclosing plastic explosives hidden inside a printer toner cartridge. The explosive parcels where sent to Chicago from the capital of Yemen, Sana'a, via two different express courier operators.

Both parcel bombs were eventually intercepted and defused, without fatalities or injuries. But before the interception, the bombs had already travelled onboard multiple air freighters and passenger planes. Many people flew that day with a fully functional explosive device under their seat! Though the parcels were addressed to Chicago, officials think that terrorists wanted to detonate the bombs mid-air, just before landing using cell phone timer alarms.

A Lockerbie-style mayhem was slightly avoided, largely thanks to a timely piece of intelligence. The bomb plot started to uncover when a suspected double agent tipped Saudi-Arabian intelligence that al-Qaeda terrorists had shipped two parcel bombs from Yemen to the US via the express courier service. The Saudi intelligence forwarded the tracking numbers of the suspected explosive devices to their US and German colleagues and told them to look for printer toner cartridges.

The first parcel was intercepted in Dubai, and the second one at the East Midlands airport, nearly 200 km to the northwest from London. In the UK, a bomb squad did not first recognize anything suspicious when they screened the suspected parcel. “It looked like a printer cartridge – there were no wires or anything,” one of CBRA’s contacts at World Customs Organization (WCO) recounts. “But of course, what the cartridge did contain was explosive that current technologies couldn’t detect.” Later laboratory tests revealed that each parcel contained 300 to 400 grams of PETN, military grade plastic explosive, wirings, and a detonator hidden inside a printer’s toner cartridge. The bombs were so meticulously concealed that they had not only passed the standard air cargo and safety screening but also the special screening of the bomb squad.

Aftermaths: The Yemen incident was rude reminder of the vulnerability of the air cargo logistics to terrorism. Sure, the day was saved by old-school, field intelligence work and prompt government response. But before interception, the first parcel travelled aboard three different flights: Sana’a - Dubai, Dubai – Cologne, and Cologne - East Midlands Airport. The second explosive parcel flew first from Sana’a to Doha and then to Dubai where it was intercepted.

In the immediate aftermaths of the events, aviation security authorities in the US and many European countries stopped accepting freight shipments from Yemen. Germany also cancelled all passenger flights from Yemen for more than two weeks. “As often happens in these situations,” the WCO’s air cargo specialist remarks, “the first reaction was stopping anything coming from this part of the world – any plane for any reason.” The new security rules changed the air cargo operations virtually overnight, seriously disrupting the air cargo and mail service. Delays were widespread and lengthy, but the worst aspect of the disruption was that no one knew when the new apparently transient security regime was to be revoked.

Eventually, once the precautionary stoppage was ended, new unprecedentedly stringent security requirements entered into force, disrupting the air cargo and mail service further. The US Transportation Security Administration, TSA, introduced the most stringent rules: any mail originating or transiting through Somalia or Yemen was banned, as well as printers or printer toner cartridges from high-risk locations. Moreover, parcels originating from any business partners had to be screened up to high-risk screening standards, piece by piece, if such shipment did not accompany a tendering statement, a document assuring that cargo comes from a known and trusted shipper. The new regime disrupted seriously international air cargo logistics, causing air cargo shippers worldwide to accumulate huge backlogs of US-bound shipments. Annoyed and surprised about the turn of events, the air cargo industry reacted to the US rules with a barrage of criticism, calling the measures superfluous and impractical. Over the following weeks, the reactive security rules were gradually relaxed to enable clearing of the backlog of US-bound air cargo.

In the long term, the Yemen events put air cargo security into a spotlight, securing political commitment and spurring further reforms for years to come. The International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, for example, included advanced security, concepts such as the “secure supply chain” principle, the concept of high-risk cargo and mail, and the consignment security declaration, CSD, into the new edition of the Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention. Also the European Union expanded the EU air cargo regime to cover airlines operating into the EU aviation security area - EU-28 plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland - from third country airports. The amendment also specified criteria for identifying and screening high-risk cargo and mail, known as HRCM.

CBRA considerations for future air cargo security: The modern air cargo security has taken major leaps since the Yemen incident, but the work towards higher air cargo security still continues. The CBRA research team considers that, like in any other area of supply chains, it is crucial both to facilitate cross-border logistics and to ensure adequate security. This classic dilemma of striking the balance between trade facilitation and supply chain security is not easy to solve, but we believe that there are some promising ways to promote logistics-friendly air cargo security.

Governments should normally consult the air cargo industry before introducing new security rules. New security rules should avoid reducing speed, on-time reliability, or cost-efficiency of the air cargo service. There are often ways to integrate new security requirements seamlessly into the sequence of day-to-day logistics activities, but this requires close government-business coordination.

One promising way forward is to improve capabilities of pre-loading risk assessment, so that the riskiest air cargo shipments can be identified early on and subjected to a more stringent screening. Many projects on this matter are under way, most notably the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) in the US and Pre-loading Consignment Information for Secure Entry
 (PRECISE) in the European Union. The CBRA team applauds these efforts of advancing risk assessment and reminds of the importance of proactive updating of risk-scoring algorithms.

EU’s decision of forcing flights from third countries into EU to comply with EU’s air cargo security regime makes also good sense. It is reasonable to secure air cargo up to an adequate standard sooner rather than later, preferably before the first flight. More global capacity building – especially training and funds for modern screening equipment – are needed in developing countries. Also, auditing activities in third countries would benefit from further resources.

Harmonization and mutual recognition is another key theme for years to come. In the EU, civil aviation and customs authorities might find some synergies if they harmonized their respective Known Consignor (KC) and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs. Air cargo companies would also benefit if types and performance requirements of screening methods would be uniform across the members of the European Union.

Bibliography:

BBC, Q&A: Air freight bomb plot, 2 November 2010

European Commission, Regulation 173/2012, amending 185/2010

International Civil Aviation Organization, Chicago convention, Annex 17, 9th edition

Koolloos M.F.J., Männistö T., van der Jagt O.C., Jezierska M.M., Hintsa J., Kähäri P. and Tsikolenko V. (2015), Security Screening for the Air Express Cargo Industry, Final Report, Brussels, Belgium.

Männistö, T., 2015. Mitigating Crime and Security Risks in the International Logistics Network: the Case of Swiss Post. Doctoral thesis, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

CBRA Blog by Dr. Toni Männistö

CORE-Observatory

Towards Trusted Trade-lanes (CORE1207)

Summary: The paper explores the concept of trusted trade-lane. In trusted trade-lanes operators implement an internal control system that makes possible to detect, handle and report dubious events in a way that meet requirements of customs agencies. Writers identify three essential characteristics of trusted trade-lanes: single partners are considered reliable and trustworthy, collaboration is based on long-term partnerships powered by viable business opportunities and managed by a clear decision-making mechanism, and control systems ensures integrity of traded goods and transferred data. In addition, the paper presents three alternative scenarios how the trusted partnerships can be designed in cross-border trade. The paper can be viewed here: https://pure.uvt.nl.

Integrating carrier selection with supplier selection decisions to improve supply chain security (CORE1206)

Summary: The paper describes a collaborative decision making process that makes possible to select optimal combination of suppliers and carriers that meet both business operational and security requirements. Security information is quantified in order to create a pool of qualified suppliers and logistics providers. Quantification enables to incorporate security with other business criteria such as price, delivery and quality into an optimization model. Logistics and purchasing managers can use the model to analyze the tradeoff between these criteria. The paper can be viewed here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

Supply chain security culture: measure development and validation, 2009 (CORE1200)

Summary: Supply chain security culture (SCSC) is as an overall organizational philosophy embracing norms and values that keep employees vigilant when performing supply chain security practices. The article presents a scale that makes possible to gauge supply chain security culture and its correlation to organization’s ability to respond to unexpected disruptions. Employees are asked to assess two topics: security strategy of the company and impacts of significant supply chain breech to business operations. According the study improved supply chain security culture makes company more resilient against major disruptions. This research helps executives to justify their expenditures on security efforts. The reviewed document can be purchased here: http://dx.doi.org.

Enhancing security through efficiency focus- Insights from a multiple stakeholder pilot implementation (Sternberg et al. 2012)

Summary

Efficiency and security are said to be opposing goals of logistics operations: when security goes up, efficiency decreases, and vice versa. Yet, it is suggested that information technologies could improve efficiency and security simultaneously. Sternberg et al. (2012) investigate this hypothesis: whether and to what extent increased attention to efficiency results in improved security in carrier operations in a seaport context. In a longitudinal case study, they research carrier operations in connection with port terminals carrying out Roll-in Roll-out (RoRo) operations on trailers at the port of Gothenburg. They find that investments in new ICT solutions, in fact, remove some of the barriers to higher efficiency and improve security against cargo theft and terrorism. In particular, they report that ICT investments increased efficiency in terms of reduced waiting times and increased ability to plan port operations (pre-arrival notification) and fast positioning of trailers in a port. The new ICT solutions also increased security in terms of more secure document handling (decreases the risk that sensitive information falls into the hands of criminals), better anomaly detection (helps customs identify trailers that are most likely tampered in-transit) and increased visibility. The abstract is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Global supply chain design considerations: Mitigating product safety and security risks (Speier et al. 2011)

Summary

There is a broad consensus among supply chain professionals that supply chain disruptions are very bad for business: supply chain glitches commonly lower operational performance and reduce shareholder value. Regardless of this, there is surprisingly little research on supply chain design strategies that have the highest potential to mitigate the risk of disruptions. Based on interviews with 75 US-based managers, an industry survey and a case study, Speier et al. (2011) identify types of SCS strategies and examine how contextual factors influence business managers to select a set of SCS design strategies. They argue that the depth and breadth of security initiatives depend mainly on top management mindfulness, operational complexity, product risk and coupling. The abstract is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Supply chain efficiency and security: Coordination for collaborative investment in technology (Lee et al. 2011)

Summary

Information technologies often provide significant benefits for companies in terms of better logistics efficiency and security. But despite of this fact, many companies in the logistics sector have not adopted such technologies to a high extent as one would expect. In their research paper, Lee et al. (2011) investigate coordination problems and related incentive mechanisms between manufacturers and retailers in a two-echelon supply chain, when companies are investing in ICT technologies that have potential to improve both logistics efficiency and security. Using mathematical modeling, they find that relative strengths of efficiency and security concerns result in different coordination problems when implementing a technology. To increase overcome coordination problems and reach the optimal level of ICT investments, the authors propose imposing penalties on parties, that are responsible for security breaches, and introducing tax incentives. They conclude that IT-based supply chain security solutions have a high potential for increasing both security and logistics performance through higher supply chain visibility. The abstract is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Controlling access to pick-up and delivery vans: the cost of alternative measures (Haelterman et al. 2012)

Summary

The situational crime prevention theory suggests that preventive security measures often backfire. For this reason, it is problematic that many managers do not have a holistic picture which kind of considerations should precede selection of implementation of security measures. A paper by Haelterman et al. (2012) tests the practical feasibility of a new management model that is designed to highlight the most promising preventive security measures given a set of preconditions and costs. The authors apply this model in the context of pick-up and delivery van operations at a Belgian branch of a major express courier company. Such transport operations are subject to risk of theft and terrorism, especially if unauthorized people managed break into pick-up and delivery vans. To test the management model, the authors collect views of of supply chain practitioners in two expert panels and through a survey. Their analysis covers a broad array of preventive security measures including key card, audible alarm, silent alarm + GPS, notification on vehicles, awareness training, no company logos, formal instructions / compliance checks & sanctioning, double drivers, over security escorts. The abstract is available at: http://link.springer.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

The displacement effect in cargo theft (Ekwall 2009)

Summary

Cargo theft has always been a problem for shippers and logistics service providers. Even so, regardless of the persistent efforts to reduce cargo theft, crime continues to strive. This classic supply chain security paper by Daniel Ekwall analyzes and explains why cargo theft continues to occur in the transport network despite all implemented countermeasures. Focusing on Swedish transport and logistics facilities, the Ekwall’s research builds on interviews with six subject matter experts, survey with four terminal operators, and macro-statistics from TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association). The paper finds some evidence on crime displacement in terms of method (modus operandi): cargo thieves target increasingly cargo in-transit because logistics facilities are nowadays better protected. However, displacement is likely to be partial in contrast to complete displacement. This means that absolute theft risk can be reduced. Download the abstract here: http://www.emeraldinsight.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Estimating the Operational Impact of Container Inspections at International Ports (Bakshi et al. 2011)

Summary

The US government is pushing a new 100 % screening regime for US-bound containers in foreign ports to mitigate the risk of weapons of mass destruction entering US soil. The 100 % regime, however, is a major concern for foreign port operators because the current Container Security Initiative (CSI) regime seems not to be scalable for high inspection rates. The paper of Bakshi et al. (2011) simulate impacts of two container inspection regimes (the CSI and a new one) in terms of port congestion, handling cost and dwell time. To carry out the simulation, the authors use discrete event queuing network simulation with real container movement data from two of the world’s busiest container terminals. The analysis shows that cargo inspections many times disrupt optimized logistics processes at seaports. In particular, inspections extend the transportation leadtime because shipments lose time as they (i) are moved to an inspection site, (ii) queue for inspection to start, (iii) pass inspections themselves. Download the abstract here: http://pubsonline.informs.org.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Supply chain security orientation: conceptual development and a proposed framework (Autry and Bobbit 2008)

Summary

Even though supply chain security has become an increasingly important managerial domain, there is little understanding about what security aware firms are, what enables and drives security awareness, and what are the outcomes of supply chain security (SCS) orientation. Autry and Bobbit (2008) set out conceptualize, validate and operationalize the construct of SCS orientation. Based on 31 interviews with US-based managers, they conclude that SCS orientation comprises four general categories of security solutions: security preparation and planning, security-related partnerships, organizational adaptation and security-dedicated communications and technology. The authors write that these security solutions “could result in supply chain risk management-related efficiencies, such as decreased lead times to customers, greater product reliability, waste reduction, and increased delivery reliability, due to the lessened need for operations workers to perform security-related tasks such as redundant container checking, securing shipments, or other similar tasks.” The abstract is available at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com.

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.