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Three new Senior Experts

We have the pleasure to announce that the following three top experts in illicit trade and maritime security have recently joined the CBRA’s Consulting Team, as Senior Consultants: Ms. Vittoria Luda di Cortemiglia, Mr. Michael Ellis and Mr. Lars W Lorenzen. We work closely with them in monitoring new calls and preparing project proposals – and, once new projects are funded, they play a key role in executing the actual research, consulting and training work. In the meanwhile, each one of them carries out other “non-CBRA professional activities”. In today’s CBRA Blog we introduce all the three of them, by sharing their short bios below. Please do not hesitate to contact us in case you see interesting joint project opportunities in the future! Have a great weekend everyone, Juha.

Ms. Vittoria Luda di Cortemiglia, Senior Consultant, Illicit Trade and Human Trafficking, Italy

Ms. Luda di Cortemiglia is a senior researcher and consultant with extensive experience on various criminal justice and supply chain security issues at international level. Experience specifically includes applied research and analysis as well as project management and training for professionals, in the field of illicit trafficking and supply chain security, including trafficking in persons, trafficking in counterfeit products, illicit trade in precious metals, illegal waste trade and eco-crimes, cybercrime and misuse of technologies. After graduating in Law at the University of Turin, Italy, 1999, Ms. Luda di Cortemiglia obtained a Master degree in International Relationships and Diplomacy at St. John’s University, New York, USA, in 2001, joining the United Nations in October 2001. Until September 2016 she has coordinated the programs and activities of the Emerging Crimes Unit at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). She has acted as UNICRI Focal Point for the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network (PNI), and from 2009 until 2016 she represented UNICRI within the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Human Trafficking (UN-ICAT).

Mr. Michael Ellis, Senior Consultant, Illicit Trade in Global Supply Chains, United Kingdom

Mr. Ellis has nearly 40 years of experience in law enforcement, coming from an operational policing background. He served with the London Metropolitan Police fighting against serious international and organised crime for 20 years, He was then engaged in the corporate security function in multinational firms, dealing with anti-counterfeit and illicit trade issues on a global basis for a further 16 years. Michael was with Universal Music, with IFPI, the music industry’s trade association, and with Beiersdorf. Most recently he was the Assistant Director of Police Services at INTERPOL and the Head of the INTERPOL Program on Traffic in Illicit Goods and Counterfeit. Michael was responsible for managing and coordinating INTERPOL’s global strategy to fight against this criminal activity, and he lead the police organisations international efforts in this area. Michael has a Master’s degree in Social Science, where he specifically researched the extensive links between organised crime and illicit trade and counterfeiting. Michael joined CBRAs consulting team on 1 October, 2016, as a Senior Consultant. He will be involved in various projects related to illicit trade and counterfeit goods in global supply chains.

Mr. Lars W Lorenzen, Senior Consultant, Maritime and Port Security, Denmark

Mr. Lorenzen has had a career with the Maersk Group spanning 37 years within a number of business units, notably within container transportation in the broadest sense. His particular knowledge and expertise covers the operational, equipment management, security, safety, standardization and regulatory sphere. He has been leading the Maersk Group work in obtaining and maintaining US C-TPAT and EU AEO-F supply chain security certifications and validations since the inception of both initiatives, while engaging with customers in shaping their profiles. As part of his security tasks, Lars has built and maintained a security response programme for the Maersk Line organisation, being also the focal point and first responder to security breaches. For a period, he was a member of the WCO PSCG (World Customs Organization Private Sector Consultative Group). During the past 20+ years he has been an appointed national expert in standardization work, mainly within ISO TC104 and TC204, including leadership of working groups - while heading the Danish delegation. Lars has served as a civil expert to NATO and other military initiatives by appointment of the Danish Government for the past 12 years, providing commercial views and factual information relating to logistics, and in the course of this participated in developing and conducting table top and other exercises.

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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.

 

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 )

Supply chain security education materials

Blog-29.02.16FP7-CORE is the European flagship research and development project in supply chain security and trade facilitation, running from May 2014 to April 2018. In today´s CBRA Blog we focus on education and training material development – Work package 19, Task 19.1 – in the CORE-project.

The CORE Task 19.1 - Education and training materials development – has an impressive set of partners: INTERPOL, World Customs Organization (WCO), European Shippers Council (ESC), European association for forwarding, transport, logistics and customs services (CLECAT), International Road Union (IRU), and Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) as the established big players; ourselves Cross-border Research Association (CBRA) as the Task leader (and an enthusiastic lecturing body in supply chain security and trade facilitation); as well as the BMT Group, as the Work package 19 leader. We first started interaction with the entire Task 19.1 team during summer 2014, when the CORE-project had just been kicked off, and everything was still in it´s infancy.

Today, at the end of February 2016 - near two years into the project - we are about to launch the full scale production of the CORE education and training materials. We vision content to be produced in three parallel categories: CORE Flagship Handbook (CFH); Partner-specific materials; and Other education content. Content which is considered to be near-final can be published on-the-fly for example at CBRA´s web-portal, www.cross-border.org , where a new section is planned for the “CORE Education” (like the “CORE Observatory” which has been live since last autumn). Having just over two years left with the CORE-project, we are right on schedule to start the full production of education and training materials!

CORE Flagship Handbook (CFH) will be the main joint outcome of Task 19.1, thus we welcome INTERPOL, WCO, ESC, CLECAT, IRU, TU Delft and BMT to work closely with us in the production, review and piloting of the Handbook. In our current plans the Flagship Handbook has the following four sections, each section having multiple chapters (typically between two and six chapters per section):

  1. Introduction to CORE innovation agenda; including explaining key CORE themes and concepts; and frameworks and models.
  2. CORE outcomes, findings and results – written primarily in the context of the 16 CORE-Demonstrations.
  3. Interpretation of CORE results per key stakeholder group: customs, police, cargo owners, logistics sector, security sector and academics
  4. Future research and development roadmap – focusing on gaps and shortcomings; critical assessment on what works and what doesn’t by the end of CORE-project.

Partner specific materials typically fall into two sub-categories. First one is generic, introductory materials which would be of relevance to 1-2 stakeholder groups – for example Supply chain management 101 for police officers. Such materials can quite easily be developed within Task 19.1, using CORE supply chains and trade lanes as examples. At the same time, such basic education material would not be of relevance for supply chain companies, thus it should not be published in the CORE Flagship Handbook, CFH. Second sub-category is on detailed technical content, which again would be relevant to 1-2 stakeholder groups. An example could be technical review on risk management tools for the logistics sector.

Other education material may consist of the following content buckets, listed in a rough “simple to more complex” -order: Factsheets; Quizzes; Basic case studies; Comprehensive case studies; Videos and animations; Serious games, and so forth. It is still early days to decide what makes sense to develop – and for what we have adequate resources, skills and budgets. Maybe we will start with some simple factsheets, quizzes and basic case studies – this is still to be discussed among Task 19.1 partners.

Finally, the plans regarding the CORE Education web-portal are still in a preliminary stage. We could have a simple dropdown menu at www.cross-border.org , for example with the following selection options: Introductory materials; Technical sections; and Factsheets & quizzes. In the last category we could share first outcomes of Task 19.1 work. Here, just like in all other aspects of CORE Task 19.1, we welcome ideas and feedback from the Task 19.1 team, and from the whole CORE Consortium – and even beyond, from any interested stakeholders and potential future users of CORE Education materials!

In Lausanne on 29.2.2016 - CBRA Blog by Juha Hintsa

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 3 of 3

The last blog in our three-part series on Border Agency Cooperation introduces a conceptual framework capturing the essential dimensions of Border Agency Coordination: three levels of collaboration, four areas of integration and four objects for sharing. We hope that the framework helps the customs and other border agency communities to see all levels of Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) so that they can move from isolated coexistence towards more active cooperation at the borders. Higher levels of cooperation are likely to translate into higher levels of trade facilitation, control over cross-border cargo flows and resource efficiency, simultaneously. Compared with the previous BAC Blog Part 2, this BAC Blog Part 3 intends to present a comprehensive framework surrounding BAC ambitions, plans, implementations and monitoring activities – while the previous BAC Bloc 2 focused purely on a set of 15 key BAC actions, grouped according to the main beneficiary groups. This final BAC Blog has been written by Dr. Toni Männistö of CBRA.

Let’s start by first presenting the BAC diagram: Conceptual framework on Border Agency Cooperation (source: Männistö, T., and Hintsa J., 2015; inspired by Polner, 2011 and by Institute of Policy Studies, 2008)

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Levels of cooperation

Intra-agency cooperation is about aligning goals and work within one organization, either horizontally between departments or vertically between headquarters and local branches, in particular border-crossing offices / stations. Ways to foster horizontal intra-agency cooperation include development of intranet networks, cross-training, inter-departmental rotation of staff, and establishment of joint task forces that tackle multifaceted challenges like transnational terrorism. Ideally, the vertical cooperation would be bi-directional: headquarters would define priorities and objectives and then communicate them to local branches. The branches would, reciprocally, send back status reports and suggest improvements to the general policies. Solving intra-agency cooperation lays a basis for broader cooperation: it’s hard for any organization to cooperate efficiently with external stakeholders if it struggles with internal problems. The logical first step in coordinated border management is therefore breaking departmental silos and building a culture of cooperation within boundaries of one organization.

Inter-agency cooperation, at the operational level, concerns relationships among a broad range of border agencies that play a role in controlling cross-border trade and travel. In many countries, primary agencies present at the borders include customs, border guards, immigration authorities and transport security agencies. However, also police organizations, health authorities, and phytosanitary and veterinary controllers, among others, take part in border management. According to a recent study, typical areas of customs- border guard inter-agency cooperation can include strategic planning, communication and information exchange, coordination of workflow of border crossing points, risk analysis, criminal investigations, joint operations, control outside border control points, mobile units, contingency/emergency, infrastructure and equipment sharing, and training and human resource management (CSD, 2011). Governmental inter-agency cooperation occurs between border control agencies and ministries and policy making bodies that are responsible for oversight and financing of border management activities.

International cooperation may take place locally at both sides of a border. One Stop Border Posts, OSBPs - border crossings managed jointly by two neighboring countries - are prime examples of such cooperation. One Stop Border Posts can involve various forms of collaboration: harmonization of documentation, shared maintenance of the infrastructure, joint or mutually recognized controls, exchange of data and information and common investments in infrastructure and so forth. Operational arrangements between the Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish customs illustrate advanced international cross-border cooperation that save time and money of border control authorities and trading companies. The cooperation builds on division of labor, where the national border authorities of each country are allowed to provide services and exercise legal powers of their home country and neighboring countries. For instance, when goods are exported from Norway, all paperwork related to both exports and imports may be attended by either Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian customs office (Norwegian Customs, 2011). At the political level, this requires international cooperation between authorities and policy makers in two or more countries. Operational cooperation (e.g., mutual recognition of controls or regional Single Window), often bringing tangible trade facilitation benefits, usually follows from political, supranational decisions (e.g., the WCO’s Revised Kyoto Convention and SAFE Framework of Standards).

Areas of integration

Technical integration often entails improving connectivity and interoperability of information and communication technology systems within and across organizations. Single Window solutions are typical outcomes of technical cooperation as they enable automatic exchange of electronic trade information among border control agencies. The UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, UN/CEFACT, is an important international organization helping to build connectivity across countries and between business and governmental stakeholders. UN/CEFACT, for instance, develops and maintains globally recognized standards for EDI messages.

Operational integration is largely about coordination of inspection and auditing activities among border control agencies. Benefits of synchronized activities are evident: organizing necessary controls at one place and at the same time reduces delays and administrative burden that trading companies and travelers face at borders. A simple and powerful example of operational integration is coordination of opening hours and days of customs offices at the both sides of a border. Operational integration also covers provision of mutual administrative assistance, joint criminal investigations and prosecution, and sharing of customs intelligence and other information.

Legislative integration seeks to remove legal barriers and ambiguities that prevent border control agencies from exchanging information, sharing responsibilities or otherwise deepening their cooperation. Essentially, most forms of Border Agency Coordination require some degree of legislative harmonization and political commitment. For example, Article 8 of the WTO/TFA to the WTO Members requires that national authorities and agencies responsible for border controls and dealing with the importation, exportation and transit of goods must cooperate with one another and coordinate their activities in order to facilitate trade.

Institutional integration is about restructuring roles and responsibilities of border controls agencies. An example of a major restructuring is the annexing of US border control agencies – including the US Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard – into the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, a body that took over the key governmental functions involved in the US non-military counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermaths of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Objects of sharing

Sharing of information – data, knowledge and intelligence – reduce duplicate work (e.g., sharing of audit findings), enable operational coordination (e.g., synchronized border controls) and facilitate development of common agenda for future border agency coordination. At the global level, the WCO’s Customs Enforcement Network CEN is an example of a trusted communication system for exchanging information and intelligence, especially seizure records, between customs officials worldwide. Another WCO initiative, the Globally Networked Customs, analyzes potential to further “rationalize, harmonize and standardize the secure and efficient exchange of information between WCO Members” (WCO 2015).

Resource sharing involves multi-agency joint investments in equipment, facilities, IT systems, databases, expertise and other common resources. The joint investment activities are likely to result in higher resource utilization and bulk purchasing discounts. For example, national and regional Single Window solutions are often outcomes of joint development and investment activities of various government agencies.

Sharing of work is mostly about rationalization of overlapping border control activities, controls and formalities. If two border control agencies, for instance, agree to recognize each other’s controls, there is no need to control the same goods more than once. Combining forces to investigate and prosecute crime also often help border control agencies to use their limited resources more efficiently.

Sharing of responsibilities is about coordinating and streamlining administrative and control tasks among border control agencies. Norway, again, sets a good example of sharing the responsibilities. The Norwegian customs represents all other border control agencies - except the veterinary office - at the frontier. Customs officers are responsible for routine border formalities, and they summon representatives of other border control agencies as and when the officers need assistance. Internationally, the Norwegian customs cooperates closely with Swedish and Finnish border control authorities at the Northern Scandinavian border posts. Bilateral agreements between its neighbors allow Norwegian customs officers authority to perform most customs checks and formalities for and on behalf of their Swedish and Finnish colleagues. The coordination decreases border-crossing times and lowers administrative costs for trading companies and the border control agencies in the three countries.

This concludes now our three-part series on Border Agency Cooperation. In Part 1, we shared an illustrative worst case example on how complex, slow and expensive a cross-border supply chain execution comes when no cooperation takes place between relevant government agencies, neither nationally nor internationally. In Part 2, we presented a conceptual BAC model with 15 key actions to improve the degree of cooperation in a given country or region – for the direct benefit of supply chain companies, or government agencies, or both. And in this Part 3, we finally presented our comprehensive BAC framework, which hopefully helps government policy makers and border agencies to design, implement and monitor their future BAC programs and initiatives in an effective and transparent manner. Toni Männistö and Juha Hintsa.

Bibliography:

Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), 2011. “Better Management of EU Borders through Cooperation”, Study to Identify Best Practices on the Cooperation Between Border Guards and Customs Administrations Working at the External Borders of the EU.

Institute of Policy Studies 2008, Better connected services for Kiwis: a discussion document for managers and front-line staff on better joining up the horizontal and vertical, Institute of Policy Studies, Wellington, NZ.

Männistö, T., and Hintsa J., "Theory of Border Agency Cooperation”, CBRA working paper 2015, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Norwegian Customs, 2011. Case Study on Border Agency Cooperation Submitted by Norway for the November Symposium.

Polner, M. (2011). Coordinated border management: from theory to practice. World Customs Journal, 5(2), 49-61.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 2011 Border Agency Coordination”, UNCTAD Trust Fund for Trade Facilitation Negotiations Technical Note No. 14.

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 2 of 3

Our second blog on Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) focuses on a conceptual model developed by CBRA. We have crafted this “CBRA-BAC15” diagram to visualize a set of key BAC actions and primary beneficiaries, with contributions by Dr. Toni Männistö (supply chain security post-doc researcher at CBRA), Mr. Gerwin Zomer (TNO, technical manager for the FP7-CORE project) and by Ms. Susana Wong Chan (education and training materials developer at CBRA).BAC-1

The diagram is cut to three sectors: on left side, the supply chain companies are the primary beneficiaries of BAC actions; on the right side, the government agencies form the primary beneficiary group; and on the bottom area, both supply chain companies as well as government agencies benefit from BAC actions. Each of these three sectors contains five examples of concrete border agency cooperation actions – 15 in total - explained in a moment by using real examples, whenever available in the literature or by expert suggestions. In the center of the diagram lies a circle with the more generic “smart cross-border improvement actions”, applicable to virtually any work in global trade facilitation.

The diagram should not be considered exhaustive, when it comes to all optional actions to improve BAC in a given country or region or globally. Some of the 15 key actions may be strongly interconnected, or, partially overlapping. Some of them may apply mainly on national multi-agency environment, and some of them mainly on international e.g. customs-to-customs environment. Also, the division of the key actions into the three beneficiary groups can and should be challenged, by the interested audiences. But, let´s start now by listing and illustrating the key 15 BAC actions:

Supply chain companies as the primary beneficiary (left sector in the diagram). The following five BAC actions can bring immediate benefits to the companies operating in supply chains, in terms of saving administrative costs and speeding up the supply chain – less work dealing with various certifications and audit visits, less variation and IT costs with import/export data filing and less waiting times at the borders.

  • Harmonized ´trusted trader´ & other certification programs: In the European Union, the European Commission´s implementing regulation (No. 889/2014) updates the references to the aviation security legislation in force, including recognition of the Known Consignor (KC) status and its relevance to Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), and framing the scope of recognition of the common requirements between the respective programs.
  • Coordinated company visits & audits: Closely linked to the previous BAC-action, in the Netherlands, the Dutch Customs executes joint audits on AEO security (customs) and known consignor/regulated agent (air cargo) with the Dutch Immigration and air-police agency - during the application phase, as well as during periodical audits.
  • Harmonized data filing requirements: Despite a global, harmonized data model, harmonized tariff codes and standards on clearance procedures, there are many differences in operational import, export and transit procedures and information requirements between countries. This results in additional complexity of IT systems for globally operating traders and logistic service providers. An example is the pre-arrival security declarations, where harmonization would be most useful e.g. between the Importer Security Filing, “10+2” in the US and the Entry Summary Declaration in Europe - Multiple Filing, supported by Standard Trader Interface, under development within the Union Customs Code, UCC.
  • Synchronized border interventions & inspections: The Article 4 of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Cross Border Transport Agreement on Facilitation of Border Crossing Formalities calls upon the contracting parties to progressively adopt measures to simplify and expedite border formalities by carrying out joint and simultaneous inspection of goods and people by respective competent authorities of agencies such as customs, immigration, trade, agriculture, and health. It further provides for single-stop inspection and urges the national authorities of adjacent countries to carry out joint and simultaneous inspections.
  • Harmonized operating hours: This applies particularly in the context of two neighboring country customs offices – having same opening hours across the border helps to maximize the daily throughput volumes. As the Article 8 of the World Trade Organization´s Trade Facilitation Agreement puts it, “Each Member shall, to the extent possible and practicable, cooperate on mutually agreed terms with other Members with whom it shares a common border with a view to coordinating procedures at border crossings to facilitate cross-border trade. Such cooperation and coordination may include: … alignment of working days and hours … “. In the ASEAN region, the Article 7 of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit urges the contracting parties to “coordinate working hours of the adjacent border posts”.

Government agencies themselves as the primary beneficiary (right sector in the diagram). The following five BAC actions can provide instant benefits for the cooperating government agencies, in terms of cost savings and improved efficiency – in other words, identifying more violations and catching more bad guys with less total spending.

  • Sharing of agency intelligence, information & data: Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAS), signed bilaterally by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and eight counterparties during years 1979-2010 (European Community, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea and the United States) provide Canada with a legal basis to share customs information to prevent, investigate and combat customs offences, particularly customs fraud, and to provide reciprocal mutual assistance to ensure the proper application of customs laws. Under CMAAs Canada may share customs information pertaining to: persons, goods and means of transport; activities planned, on-going, or completed, that constitute or appear to constitute a customs offence in the territory of the country requesting the data; proven law enforcement techniques; new and emerging trends, means or methods of committing customs offences; and facilitation of risk assessment activities, within the mandate and authority of the CBSA.
  • Joint investments in common resource pools (equipment, facilities etc.): In Finland the Customs Administration and the Border Guard share common premises and equipment. Each authority has a designated role in the servicing and maintenance of the equipment. X-ray machines are largely the responsibility of Customs. Road-testing equipment, such as lorry brake-testing pads, is also maintained by Customs. All equipment can be shared and operated by each agency upon request. Thus, although the equipment belongs to one agency, it can be easily relocated to the other agency, enabling smoother processing of the workflow without unnecessary and lengthy administrative procedures, thereby reducing costs.
  • Joint teams: In the Netherlands, “HARC” - Hit and Run Cargo Rotterdam team, is a joint operation of Dutch Maritime Police, Dutch Customs, the Fiscal and Economic Crime Agency and the Ministry of Justice collaborating operationally in narcotics enforcement. Joint teams differ from Joint operations below by being a long-term / permanent set-up; while Joint operations “come and go”.
  • Joint operations: A joint operation Meerkat, (23-27 July 2012) involving the World Customs Organization and INTERPOL against the illicit trafficking of cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol in East and Southern Africa, resulted in the seizure of tons of illicitly traded products in seven countries. Operation Meerkat saw Customs and police authorities carry out some 40 raids at seaports, inland border crossing points, markets and shops in Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. More than 32 million cigarettes – equivalent to 1.6 million packets, 134 tons of raw tobacco and almost 3,000 liters of alcohol were seized, resulting in national authorities initiating a number of administrative investigations into tax evasion and other potential criminal offences.
  • Collaborative criminal investigations & prosecutions: In the United States the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) units gather officers from more than 100 different law enforcement agencies under one roof. The objective is to identify, investigate, disrupt and dismantle transnational organizations posing the greatest threat to border security, public safety and national security, by employing the full range of federal, state, local, tribal and international law enforcement resources. Over the years, the BEST has become a successful interagency law enforcement collaboration model that’s keeping the US safer.

Both supply chain companies as well as government agencies as beneficiaries (bottom sector). The five BAC actions can bring instant benefits to all parties in cross-border supply chains, in terms of lowering costs and improving performance, from supply chain company and from governmental agency perspectives.

  • ‘Single window’ -type import/ export/ transit data submissions: In the Netherlands, the authorities have designed Digipoort, the government’s ‘electronic post office’ for businesses. It provides the communication infrastructure for the exchange of digital information between companies and government authorities. Digipoort enables companies to submit import and export information at a single entry point aimed at multiple government authorities.
  • Common risk indicators, risk profiles & targeting systems: In Finland, common databases are linked to the different agencies’ operational and risk management databases, leading to a common approach when a ‘signal’ is recorded. Some control and enforcement officers have access to each other’s systems on a need-to-know basis, with levels of restricted access determined by rank and functional responsibility.
  • Mutual recognition of supply chain inspection procedures & outcomes: As part of the European Union funded research and development project FP7-CORE ( http://www.coreproject.eu/ ), the phytosanitary and customs administrations in Kenya and the Netherlands are working towards mutual recognition of controls carried out by Kenyan authorities, as well as the exploitation of digital phytosanitary certificates and other trade documents, between the two countries. Outside of the research world, mutual recognitions (MR) of customs inspections are being explored in the context of EU MR Agreements, for example with Japan.
  • Cross-training and empowering manpower: In Finland, Customs officers have been trained by the Border Guard to inspect identification documents and visas, among other procedures. Border guards have, in turn, received basic Customs training, which includes the search of vehicles and the recognition of prohibited and restricted goods, such as drugs, alcohol, and counterfeit items.
  • Joint public-private partnership arrangements, training sessions etc.: In 2011 in Hong Kong, the Customs and Excise Department established a Joint Liaison Group with the representatives of shippers, freight forwarders and truck drivers for exchanging operational views and comments on the Road Cargo System “ROCARS”. Moreover, Customs also launched an extensive publicity program and established outreach teams to assist the industry stakeholders to get used to the ROCARS. Following other government departments are listed on the ROCARS web-site http://www.rocars.gov.hk/ : Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Census and Statistics Department, and Transport Department.

Finally, the center circle of the CBRA-BAC15 diagram highlights the basic, classical principles of trade facilitation – naturally in the context of multiple agencies dealing with cross-border regulations, procedures, IT-systems and data requirements:

  • Simplification & Harmonization: agencies work together with the first aim to streamline certification requirements and procedures, to minimize the number of data elements required from traders etc.; and the second aim to unify the rules and requirements facing supply chain companies.
  • Interoperability & Synchronization: agencies invest in improving interoperability between their inspection technologies, IT-systems etc.; they also work together to better synchronize their supervision and control processes, particularly for the benefit of supply chain companies.
  • Transparency & Predictability: agencies keep each other well informed of their current regulations, procedures, operations etc., as well as planned future changes – such proactive approach helps to minimize surprises and related hassles.

This concludes the second of three parts of our Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) blog. In Part 3 – to be published sometime in February – we focus on the overarching institutional arrangements on Border Agency Cooperation, including establishment of single border agencies (e.g. in the US and Australia); creation of one-stop border posts, OSBPs (multiple examples across the world); carrying work permanently on behalf of other agencies etc. We also plan to discuss bit more on the benefits and costs of BAC, as well as the main challenges and obstacles in BAC-projects across the globe. Talk to you again in February, Juha Hintsa.

 

Bibliography / sources for the examples and cases attached to the 15 BAC key actions:

  • Harmonized ´trusted trader´ & other certification programs: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 889/2014 of 14 August 2014 amending Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, as regards recognition of the common security requirements under the regulated agent and known consignor programme and the Authorised Economic Operator programme.
  • Coordinated company visits & audits: Email exchange with a Dutch Customs expert
  • Harmonized data filing arrangements: Interview with a Dutch supply chain and trade facilitation expert (29 January 2016); and AnNa Master Plan Extended Collaboration Project Book, December 2015. Available for download at: http://www.annamsw.eu/
  • Synchronized border interventions & inspections: Jain, S.R. (2012), “Coordinated Border Management: The Experience of Asia and the Pacific Region”, World Customs Journal, Vol. 6 No.1. (CBM25).
  • Harmonized operating hours: Article 8 (Border Agency Cooperation) of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation of 15 July 2014; and Jain, S.R. (2012), “Coordinated Border Management: The Experience of Asia and the Pacific Region”, World Customs Journal, Vol. 6 No.1.
  • Sharing of agency intelligence, information & data: “Customs Cooperation Case Study for Canada”, paper submitted by Canada (Canada Border Services Agency - CBSA) for the July 2012 WTO Symposium on Trade Facilitation.
  • Joint investments in common resource pools (equipment, facilities etc.): “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Joint teams: “Customs find cocaine buried in cocoa bean shipment”, NL Times 25.5.2015, Available online at: http://www.nltimes.nl/2015/05/25/customs-finds-cocaine-buried-in-cocoa-bean-shipment/ (accessed 28 January 2016).
  • Joint operations: “WCO and INTERPOL joint operation against illicit trafficking in Africa leads to tobacco and alcohol seizures”, WCO Press Release, 27 August 2012. Available online at:   http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2012/august/operation-meerkat.aspx (accessed 28 January 2016).
  • Collaborative criminal investigations & prosecutions: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76
  • ‘Single window’ –type import/ export/ transit data submissions: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Common risk indicators, risk profiles & targeting systems: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Mutual recognition of supply chain inspection procedures & outcomes: The Consistently Optimised REsilient ecosystem, CORE FP7 project, EU. See online at: http://www.coreproject.eu/ (accessed 28 January 2016).
  • Cross-training and empowering manpower: “Coordinated Border Management”, WCO News, February 2015, No. 76.
  • Joint public-private partnership arrangements, training sessions etc.: “Road Cargo System (ROCARS) (Hong Kong China)”. Available online at: http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/wco-implementing-the-wto-atf/atf/border-agency-cooperation.aspx (accessed 28 January 2016).

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 1 of 3

“A beloved child has many names”, goes an old Finnish proverb. This saying applies quite well in the conblog-210116text of ´smart cooperation between multiple agencies when dealing with cross-border supply chains, goods movements and transports´. The World Customs Organization talks about Coordinated Border Management (CBM); the European Union about Integrated Border Management (IBM); the World Bank about Collaborative Border Management (CBM); and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe about Comprehensive Border Management (CBM). Cross-border Research Association is aligning with a fifth term: Border Agency Cooperation (BAC), a term used in the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization. Despite minor differences in scope, priorities, underlying principles and philosophies among these five terms (and possibly even more), one can easily agree that the work carried out under any and all of them aims to coordinate activities across and within various border control agencies, for the benefit of both governmental agencies themselves as well as supply chain companies.

Our first blog on Border Agency Cooperation, BAC, provides an illustrative worst case example on how complex, slow and expensive a cross-border supply chain execution comes when no cooperation takes place between relevant government agencies, neither nationally nor internationally. The illustration is about meat export from Latin America (Country X) to the European Union (Country Y), with maritime transport in reefer containers.

A well-known beef producer in country X– also the first Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) beef producing company in the region - has just signed an annual contract with a beef importer and distributor in country Y. As this is the producer ‘s first export deal to the EU, the producer needs to ensure that all licenses and certificates are up to the EU standard. Organizing health certificates, certificates of origin, sanitary certificates, export licenses – and what have we – takes weeks and weeks of time. There is no communication or procedures in place between the various agencies and officials to facilitate the process, no coordinated company visits or audits, no sharing of information, and no mutual recognition of inspections.

When all documents are finally in place, and regular exports can start, the beef producer and it´s forwarding agent face the burden of filing export data to customs, to sanitary agencies, and to national security agencies – with somewhat similar datasets, but with no single-window filing opportunity. And when export controls and inspections take place – which happens often – there is no synchronization of inspection times between the different agencies. One agency might come to inspect the reefer container on Monday noon, second one on Wednesday morning, and third on Friday afternoon – another week lost in the beef supply chain lead-time.

Once the consignment is happily on board towards the EU, one continues to experience lost BAC opportunities: no data is passed from country X customs or sanitary agencies to their counterparties in country Y, to enable pre-arrival compliance control and risk assessment. In case of criminal suspicions – e.g. when supply chain insiders exploit beef shipments for cocaine smuggling – no intelligence is shared between police and customs, from country X to country Y. The option of joint law enforcement operations between country X and Y police and customs agencies has never been even considered. Even on national level, both in country X and Y, the agencies are not co-operating neither on risk profiling and targeting systems, nor during criminal investigations and prosecutions – what a waste of resources when it comes to catching and convicting the bad guys…

In the meanwhile, some ten days later, the ship arrives at a major sea port in country Y. For the importer, there is no option for single-window data filing; instead, import data must be transferred separately to all different agencies in country Y. As the customs administration in country Y has no Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in place with country X customs - neither when it comes to AEO certificates nor when it comes to recognizing inspections carried out at export – it treats the import as a “medium to high risk” one, calling for physical inspections. And as the sanitary agency does not share any common resources with the customs administration – particularly no joint inspection facilities and equipment, including x-ray machines - and even the daily opening hours are different from the customs hours, the sanitary agency carries out their own inspections only two days after the customs intervention. And finally, improving the situation does not seem likely, as there are no joint public-private partnerships, and no export/import compliance training sessions or similar in place, neither in country Y nor in country X.

This concludes the first of three parts of our Border Agency Cooperation (BAC) blog. In Part 2 – to be published next week – we will present CBRA´s conceptual model (Hintsa J., Dec.2015) on BAC key actions and beneficiaries: which key actions to take in order to speed up the logistics chain, to save costs with all actors, to increase overall predictability, and to improve government agency performance e.g. in terms of number of seizures and convictions. In the BAC Blog Part 2, we plan to present some preliminary experiences and real-life results from FP7-project CORE. Please stay tuned!

Chemical Security in Istanbul

2015-12-15 09.02.08I had the most interesting week in Istanbul with the Iraqi government representatives, chemical sector companies and the US State Department Chemical Security Program, CSP.

Security in the chemical supply chain is a major challenge for government agencies and chemical supply chain companies across the globe, including those in the Middle-East and North African (MENA) region. Theft, diversion, trafficking, export violations, counterfeit chemicals, sabotage and terrorism – among other criminal threats – keep the agencies and companies constantly on their toes when considering how to best tackle the vulnerabilities and threats in their respective chemical supply chains.

This was my second time to join as an external expert in a Chemical Security Program (CSP) event in the MENA region. The first time was in Hurghada, Egypt, in March 2015 – thanks again to Professor Andrew Thomas, the Chief Editor of the Journal of Transportation Security, for hooking me up with CRDF Global and the US State Department on this. Now the four day event targeted for the relevant Iraqi government agencies as well as the Iraqi chemical sector companies was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 14-17 December 2015.

We had a fully packed agenda: Day 1 consisted of several introductory and state-of-play speeches by the workshop facilitators and by Iraqi experts, the latter group sharing key governmental, industry and academic perspectives to the chemical security progress in Iraq.  Day 2 started with a case study presentation on “Post-2001 supply chain security developments at Dow Chemicals”, followed by private-public partnership considerations in chemical supply chain security. During the afternoon of day 2, two more presentations were given on potential threats to materials of interest, as well as on site-physical security. Day 3 started with presentations on international transport of dangerous goods and security rules, followed later by presentations on export control and border security issues, as well as risk assessment methodological aspects.

Interactive sessions, group exercises and other discussions were vivid throughout the four days. On day 1, the main interactive session was about government-industry coordination. On day 2, the focus shifted to identifying key players in Iraqi chemical supply chain security, as well as exploring private sector specific chemical security issues. On day 3, a major interactive session took place to recognize existing vulnerabilities and threats in the chemical supply chain, as well as to identify appropriate countermeasures and other possible means of improvement. And finally, on day 4, a draft table of content for a potential “Iraqi chemical supply chain security master plan and implementation roadmap” was produced in a highly interactive manner, followed ultimately by drafting some actual planning content in areas including chemical transport security and raising security awareness.

The actual workshop outcomes and possible follow-up actions will be worked upon later by the organizing team and some key participants. In the meanwhile, I want to express my warmest thanks for this opportunity and great on-site collaboration in Istanbul to: Ms. Shawn Garcia from the U.S. Department of State, Chemical Security Program (DOS/CSP); Ms. Pelin Kavak and Mr. Nidal Abu Sammour from CRDF Global, US / Jordan; and Dr. Caner Zanbak and Mr. Mustafa Bagan from the Turkish Chemical Manufacturers Association (TCMA). Hope to meet you again in 2016 in Iraq, Algeria and possibly other locations in the MENA region!

 

Cheers, Juha Hintsa

P.S. We also tested two CBRA frameworks / models – CBRA SCS15/16, and CBRA-BAC-Actions and beneficiaries – with the audience during the Istanbul week. Both of them were well perceived, and will be topics for CBRA Blog during the coming couple of months. (SCS = Supply Chain Security, and BAC = Border Agency Cooperation).

PPS. Last but not least I would like to thank Ms. Antonella Di Fazio of Telespazio, Italy, and FP7-project CORE, for excellent inputs on transport of dangerous goods, traceability and monitoring solutions, demonstrators, and practical experiences.

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.

Assessing the drivers of change for cross-border supply chains (CORE1205)

Summary: This paper explores the main global change drivers and how they impact on international supply chain management in the next two decades. The Delhi method is adapted to structure communication, to produce well-grounded opinions and counter-arguments, and to find consensus among selected experts. The results highlight efficient networking and business-to-business and business-to-government collaboration as core supply chain management competences. The paper can be viewed here: http://www.emeraldinsight.com.

Analytical method to identify the number of containers to inspect at U.S. ports to deter terrorist attacks (CORE1204)

Summary: The requirement for 100% container scanning has been a burning topic, since U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued the initiative in order to prevent terrorists from smuggling weapons of mass destructions into the U.S. The paper explores how much it is reasonable to come down from the 100% inspection rate, if deterrence and cost of retaliation are considered in the model. Deterrence means the power to dissuade an attacker from attempting to smuggle weapons as opposite to use coerce or compel.  Retaliation cost describes the cost incurred by an attacker e.g. due to dismantling the attacker’s network. It is assumed the defender discloses in advance how many containers are inspected. The paper can be viewed here: https://www.researchgate.net.

Progress in combating cigarette smuggling: controlling the supply chain (CORE1203)

Summary: The paper presents cases how government agencies have reduced illicit tobacco trade by making the industry liable for controlling their supply chains. Tobacco companies were required to monitor the movement of lawfully manufactured tobacco products in their supply chains, and even retrospectively track the route taken when products were seized due to suspected excise fraud. According the paper illicit trade was substantially reduced, if manufacturers stopped delivering lawfully manufactured tobacco products in amounts that exceeded the tobacco market in the countries with lower excise duties. The criminal market dried out due to unavailability of illicit tobacco products that had been smuggled to the countries of higher excise duties by organized criminal groups. The document can be viewed at: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com.

Conflict resolution in supply chain security, 2009 (CORE1202)

Summary: The paper presents a mathematical tool for conflict resolution based on conflict modeling theories. Decision and policy making on supply chain security is sensitive to technical, political, environmental, ethical and economical aspects. What aspects are emphasized depends on whom we ask. Consequently, broadly endorsed decisions and policies require balancing between these dimensions.  The presented conflict resolution approach identifies involved decision makers, their individual and collective goals and gives options how to agree on security interventions. A case study on trade facilitation and security enforcement illuminates the approach. The article can be purchased at: http://www.inderscienceonline.com.

The effect of supply chain security management on security performance in container shipping operations, 2012 (CORE1201)

Summary: The study creates a supply chain security framework that can be adapted on assessing how security management measures affect on safety and customs clearance performance in container shipping firms. Security management interventions are clustered in four categories: facility and cargo management, accident prevention and processing, information management, and partner relationship management. Findings indicated that container shipping firms that mainly focus on facility and cargo management and less on partner relationship management are generally more dissatisfied with their company’s customs clearance performance than companies that prioritize partnerships with governmental and commercial companies. The governmental agencies and commercial actors can employ supply chain security management framework, its attributes and dimensions in order to assess the supply chain security performance of container shipping firms.  The reviewed document is available at: 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.

CASSANDRA compendium. Standards in supply chain management (Ch. 9)

Summary: Chapter 9 of the CASSANDRA compendium lists and discusses various standards that set the context for international supply chain management. The chapter focuses especially on management standards (e.g., ISO28000), technical standards (e.g., RFID, electronic seals and barcodes), standards for exchange of information among supply chain stakeholders (e.g., UN/EDIFACT and XML messaging), and customs security standards (especially the World Customs Organisations’ SAFE Framework of Standards). GS1 Global Visibility Framework and other industry standards are included in the discussion, as well. The chapter points out that because a large variety of standards are already available, the challenge is not a lack of standardisation but the lack of harmonisation between different standards. The section also concludes that even if the diversity of standards was harmonised, the next step would be to ensure that the standards would be consistently implemented in different contexts.

CASSANDRA compendium. Technologies for supply chain visibility and security (Ch. 8)

Summary: Chapter 8 of the CASSANDRA compendium reviews current and future technologies that help managers to improve visibility and security over global end-to-end supply chains. The supply chain visibility technologies, in essence, provide logistics managers with a variety of information - shipment data, performance metrics, inventory levels, production / delivery schedules and sales forecast, for example - in or close to real time. The chapter’s review on supply chain security technologies focus mainly on security sensors (e.g., motion detectors), container seals, biometric user authentication devices (e.g., fingerprints), and non-intrusive inspection equipment (e.g., X-ray screening stations). The section also elaborates modern ways for sharing information among stakeholders that are concerned about security of the supply chain. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: www.cassandra-project.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

CASSANDRA compendium. Private sector perspectives on risk management (Ch. 5) and crime prevention and security management in supply chains (Ch. 6)

Summary: Chapters 5 & 6 of the CASSANDRA compendium provide a general overview on supply chain security risk management from the private sector perspective. Explaining the essentials of supply chain risk management, Chapter 5 introduces commonly used risk management models and tools (e.g., risk matrices and risk registers), discusses various classifications of supply chain risks, and elaborates current trends of risks and risk management in the supply chain context. Chapter 6 focuses on specific challenges of supply chain security risks - the risks that arise from intentional, man-made criminal activities such as terrorism, theft, trafficking, and sabotage. The chapter explains a few early classifications of supply chain security risks (e.g., motive-based typology and taxonomies based on private sector perspectives). Following the classifications of security risks, the chapter puts forth a few models for managing security risks in the supply chain context (e.g., the 8-layer model for supply chain security management). The chapter concludes with a detailed case study on security management of an international security company and a comparison of supply chain security management and the total quality management (TQM) management philosophy. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: www.cassandra-project.eu. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

Interviews

Interview with Mr. Boley, SC Johnson, Switzerland

17.11.2016: Today’s CBRA Interview with Mr. Bill Boley focuses on supply chain security management at SC Johnson

Hi Bill, and thanks for joining CBRA Interview, here at the TAPA EMEA Conference in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Good afternoon Juha, first I want to thank you and the CBRA team for all the great work you have done for the Supply Chain Security Community over the years. It seems that every time I attend an event CBRA is there…

We first met in 2008, and worked together on the World Bank Supply chain security guidebook, good ol’ times…. In your current job, which supply chain security standards and guidebooks your company follows?

Here at SC Johnson we actually first strive to meet the guidelines laid out in the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards. This is important for us as a global player, global citizen and manufacturer with many supply chains, to do our part in assisting Customs and Law Enforcement Agencies making the Global Supply Chain more safe and secure. At the same time, safe and secure supply chains support the overall optimisation and predictability, helping us to meet the customer and consumer demands. This is why we pursue the various AEO schemes already in place around the world, be it C-TPAT, EU AEO, or Kenyan AEO – in other words, we strive to certify so Customs can focus on the unknowns…  At the warehouse level we have adapted the TAPA FSR standard as the "SCJ standard". As a global company with many different nationalities, languages and moving parts both upstream and downstream a universal standard written for the practitioners is a key for us. It is also a requirement for our service providers and the transporters moving our product. Soon we will start to give preferential consideration to those service providers who have the TAPA TSR certification, as part of the contract award process.

What about information on actual threats and risks with your global supply chain - which sources you use for that? 

As you are well aware, we are facing many threats around the world: stowaways, weapons and drug smuggling, hijackings, cyber threats particularly with the Internet of Things, and counterfeiting, just to name a few...  At SC Johnson we are fortunate to have a buy-in from our C-Suite on the importance of Supply Chain Security programmes and tools we have been implementing. We have established a Global Security Operations Centre at our World Headquarters and, our Product Supply, Logistics, and Procurement Leaders around the world are very proactive on the topic of supply chain security.  SCJ has actually built an own network of information providers such as BSI, IJet, OSAC, and of course Law Enforcement Agencies, as well as select Customs regimes. The TAPA IIS system, FreightWatch International, and yes, even CBRA, also feed into our information portal. Getting involved at every level to develop a community of interest on supply chain security is a key. As they say, it takes a network to defeat a network.

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Can you share any stories on how these supply chain security standards and risk information have helped you to do your job as a SC Johnson supply chain security manager better?

Yes absolutely, most recently we fell victim to two separate events. One was facility related while the other was on transport. We conducted an analysis on how our mitigation measures failed, and it became evident that we lacked timely, accurate and relevant information to change our measure to adapt to the latest Modus Operandi of the criminal networks. Delivery times to our facilities, pick-ups, chain of custody, liaison with local Law Enforcement and audits of our service providers have been instrumental. In fact, just last week local Law Enforcement in Nigeria was able to interdict and recover a high value shipment, thanks to our close communication and cooperation with the Government of Nigeria.

Yesterday I briefed you about our on-going TAPA study titled “Total Cost of Cargo Theft (TCCT)”... Would your company be interested to join the study?

SC Johnson would be very receptive to taking part of this study. First, as we have suffered Supply chain losses there is a misunderstanding on what is covered by insurance or not. And, second, if we can then place a more precise value or declaration on what those stolen finished goods will cost outside of the retail value, that would be great. Loss of customers or at least their confidence in a non-delivery, recovering our full costs of production, investigative costs, etc. are just some of the cascading effects and costs we encounter.

Great news, thanks a lot Bill, for both the interview and for agreeing to join the TCCT-study! Juha.

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Mr. Mike Ellis, INTERPOL, on illicit trade and counterfeiting

Today’s CBRA Interview is with Mr. Mike Ellis who is the Assistant Director of Illicit Trade and Anti-counterfeit Sub-crime Directorate at INTERPOL, Lyon, France.

Hi Mike, can you first tell a bit who are you and what you do?

I am the Assistant Director for Police Services at INTERPOL, based in Lyon France.  INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization. Our role is to assist law enforcement agencies in our 190 member countries to combat all forms of transnational crime. We work to help police across the world meet the growing challenges of crime in the 21st century by providing a high-tech infrastructure of technical and operational support. Our services include targeted training, expert investigative support, specialized databases and secure police communications channels. I am responsible for the coordination of all activities related to illicit trade, smuggling of illicit goods and counterfeiting for the organization and police forces within our 190 member countries.  I lead a team of expert officers who are engaged in training, capacity building, and operational support who operate along with my analytical support who manage risk awareness and intelligence handling.

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From your perspective, how bad is the current situation with counterfeit and other illicit trade in global supply chains? Can one for example see links between illicit trade and transnational organized crime groups; or, even terrorist organizations?

For many years the clear link has been established between the trafficking of illicit goods and transnational organized crime. Criminal organizations are attracted by the lucrative profits involved in trading counterfeit or fake goods, or in trading legitimate goods through illicit channels. The criminals involved manufacture and trade illicit goods on a regional and increasingly global scale.  It is well documented that they use the profits to fund other criminal activities such as drug trafficking and people smuggling, and for investment into funding subversive political groups.  Selling fake or counterfeit products is one aspect of illicit trade, as is selling genuine goods on the black market to avoid paying taxes. By avoiding regulatory controls, the criminals behind these activities peddle dangerous and illicit goods with a complete disregard for the health and safety of consumers. The phenomenon has grown to an unprecedented level, posing tremendous risks to society and the global economy. Counterfeiting harms businesses which produce and sell legitimate products, governments lose tax revenue from products manufactured or sold on the black market, and consumers are at risk from substandard products.

By the way, we met first time about one year ago in Lyon at an INTERPOL workshop linked to FP7-Project CORE. One of the main objectives of CORE-project is to develop leading edge education and training materials on supply chain security – for the benefit of law enforcement agencies, supply chain practitioners, and academics alike. Can you share your views about law enforcement – academia – industry cooperation in education material development, as well as in the broader field of supply chain security management?

One of our principle functions is capacity building and training.  At INTERPOL we recognize that capacity building brings with it raised identification of the impact of illicit cross-border trade and counterfeiting and all our new operations, or established operations in new regions, are preceded by a capacity building workshop.  The public domain is represented by police, customs, border control officials, and prosecutors, as well as representatives from various regulatory bodies including trading standards.  In addition, INTERPOL TIGC, the Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting program which I am heading, has developed a Mentoring Program which aims to increase cross-border, cross-industry law enforcement operational interventions by: strengthening capacity to deal with all types of cross-border trafficking in illicit and counterfeit products. We have also developed an online International Intellectual Property Crime Investigator’s College and have built already a robust network of over 10.000 law enforcement officers, and partner stakeholders with specialist knowledge and skillset.  This online training course provides specialist knowledge on transnational organized crime.  It is aimed at all law enforcement officials, regulatory authorities and private sector investigators who are committed in the fight against illicit trade and intellectual property crime.   We aim to provide crime professionals with specialist awareness and learning on the subject of transnational organized intellectual property, IP, crime, and illicit trade, by delivery of leading-edge training that meets international standards and allows crime investigators from any discipline to quickly identify other certified investigators.  Through this learning platform we also facilitate cooperation between the public and private sectors in the fight against IP crime, and ensure all public and private sector crime investigators have a common understanding of the problems facing them, while being aware of each other’s competencies and roles.  We seek to promote knowledge on what intervention strategies and tactics work, in order that all stakeholders are better able to work together in partnership in enforcement operations.

Thank you Mike for this highly interesting interview. It complements well our previous interviews on similar themes - with non-law enforcement experts including Mr. David Hamon and Mr. Tony Barone. CBRA and the whole FP7-CORE consortium, around 70 partners in total, wishes to continue the great cooperation in research and education material development with INTERPOL, throughout the CORE-project, until April 2018 - and beyond!  Juha.

 

Criminalization of global supply chains, by Mr. Hamon

Hi David, and thanks for joining a CBRA Interview – can you first tell a bit who are you and what you do?

I served in the US Army as a logistician, served with the United Nations Peacekeeping Department as well as work with the UN humanitarian organizations.  I recently retired from a not-for-profit government contractor to pursue more creative work.  Whilst at the latter position I was seconded to the US Defense Department, first in African Affairs, and then as Research and Studies Director for a strategic studies office within a US Defense Agency.  I currently work, mostly independently, on a great many things related to future threats and re-defining of security/stability as it pertains and impacts diplomacy, development, defense, society, and economics/finance.

We met first time in Lausanne, Switzerland, around 2005 – what was that roundtable event again about?

Many years before cyber based terror threats were on the radar, we launched an inquiry into what we termed “Economic/Financial Terrorism” and whether security threats emanating from terrorism in the future would take the form of attacks on the Western system of finance and the economy.  We brought in a host of experts from the US and Europe to debate the changing face of terrorism and likely goals of future terror groups.  We examined everything from evolving ideology, motivation and intent, culture and identity to strategy, tactics, targets, weapons, and groups.  It was an extremely interesting event with industry admitting - at the time - they were not prepared for this phenomenon and governments largely split on the issue.  Additionally, experts and think tanks disagreed on whether economic terrorism was tangible.  It was very forward-looking for its time.  All participants came away with greater awareness on the subject as we went above and beyond what is currently called “financial crimes,” exploring potential kinetic based threats terror groups would use against the economic and financial machinery that included physical attacks on the supply chain, tourist industry, psychological undermining of the Western economic system to disrupt the normal provision of goods and services.

Can you tell more about your views on ´criminalization of global supply chains´?

I take similar views on the subject as Dr. Moisés Naim, in his 2005 book ‘Illicit: How smugglers, traffickers, and copycats are hijacking the global economy.’ He addresses several tenants that remain true today including the role of governments, technology, the Illicit traders mimicking licit trade and logistics actors - while simultaneously collaborating with many of them, and criminal groups seek high-profit opportunities as opposed to any other attribution (see CBRA Blog 21 October 2014).  Terror groups care less about profit but when thinking about logistics networks, what if the two groups collaborated?  Today logistics systems are more complex and move faster than ever in history, have less margin to fail, are far less ‘hands-on’ and offer many ways and places to hide illegal activity.  Detection and interdiction of this activity isn’t exclusively in the realm of governments. Industry has a role to play if it wishes to minimize new regulations, taxes, deter corruption, and other drains on efficiency and profit.  Experts, both public and private, rarely take a systems approach to detecting criminal activity with much throughput going undetected.  Both parties want to specialize on one aspect and miss the big picture.  A good example was the AQ Khan network.  How long has it been since industry has undertaken an assessment of whether there is a new “Khan” network out there?  Do trade organizations war-game with governments on criminality within supply chains?

Interesting! What are your views on ‘multi-commodity trafficking / crime portfolios’?

At the last corporate organization where I worked my team did some analysis on unregulated, illegal fishing as a security threat to Pacific Island nations.  In the course of this analysis, we discovered it was the same actors doing the illegal fishing as doing illegal dumping, illegal smuggling, illegal trafficking, among other illicit activities.  The criminality was only one aspect of the supply chain as the “demand” side as well as the delivery side was entirely legal and within businesses who conduct practically all business legally.  The same boats as platforms - and their crews - were used to conduct all activity legal and illegal and to the local authorities - as well as donor nations attempting to help - it was impossible to project accurately when the activity would switch between licit and illicit.  We couldn’t analyze if this was a regional or global phenomena but I guess it was a widely copied practice.  As Anthony Barone has pointed out, border management and controls are not the panacea of containment but need to be part of a larger practice (see CBRA Interview 18 December 2015). Criminals use technology just as effectively!  His idea of assembling a group of independent experts to rethink new approaches to border management - and I might add, redefining the meaning of borders and how thinking differently about borders per se - is a good start.   Using strategic foresight come up with several alternative futures to present to a dedicated [supply chain] private-public partnership empowered to make changes would be my overarching recommendation

Sounds that the global supply chain community is facing increasingly more threats and risks! Any other suggestions on how to improve the situation, both short term and long term?

In the short term, as I mentioned, conduct a public-private-partnership exercise to rethink the concept supply chain surveillance for illicit activity and anticipating new and emerging illicit activity.  In the long run, we don’t give enough thought to knowledge as a part of the supply chain.  Using the supply chain for illicit activity begins with motivation and intent getting out in front of those who may do harm.  To address alternative futures will take some innovation and creativity, but the stakes are high.  The next AQ Khan Network may bring very bad things into Europe (and beyond!) compliments of ISIS.  We don’t know what knowledge the current refugee population possesses that may be part of some future attack on the financial and economic system of the EU or if some refugees worked on chemical or biological programs in their countries of origin.

Thanks David for this interview – and let´s start working towards a joint project on these topics of common professional and research interest!

Web-links:

http://www.cross-border.org/2014/10/21/dr-naim-on-illicit-trade/

http://www.cross-border.org/interviews/new-approaches-to-border-management/

Updates on Customs brokers, by Ms. Carol West

int-300116-1Hi Carol, and thanks for joining a CBRA Interview – can you first tell a bit who are you and what you do?

I am the President of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers and the Secretary of the International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations, IFCBA. My office is in Ottawa, Canada. I have spent my professional life in the world of Customs, border management and trade facilitation. I am an advocate for the value and importance of customs brokers and I am passionate about the possibilities of Customs-business partnership, in Canada and worldwide. I believe strongly that building knowledge, investing in technology and managing relationships are critical to effective border management.

IFCBA and CBRA produced jointly the first survey study on future roles of customs brokers around 2004-2005. Looking now, in 2016, at the study outcomes: do you see that anything has changed or evolved in the “world of customs brokers” the way we anticipated a decade ago?

It is difficult to generalize as the role of a customs broker still differs so much between countries. The regulatory framework for licensing customs brokers and their scope of practice may be different, and the level of automation of a country’s Customs administration may influence the role of customs brokers in effective border management. Having said that, I believe that in the last decade the role of a customs broker as a trade facilitator has been even more effective than we had anticipated. Both importers and Customs recognize that knowledgeable, regulated customs brokers not only provide expedited navigation through and compliance with complex Customs requirements, they are widely used by businesses looking to reach new markets, with a minimum of cost and delay.

With Customs administrations automating their systems for risk management and implementing coordinated border management processes, there is also more focus on gathering information on the goods being imported prior to arrival, for admissibility and security purposes. In this context, the automation of carrier and cargo information is more important than it was ten years ago. With that in mind, the role of a customs broker is even more crucial today as the broker acts as a hub for all the data relating to a client’s transaction, ensuring its accuracy and compliance with Customs requirements.

Ten years ago, we thought that, by now, we would have made more progress with consistency of data requirements globally. There has been great work done by the World Customs Organization with its data model, but we still find that data requirements are not as harmonized or standardized as they could or should be.

From a business process standpoint, where licensed customs brokers exist they are used by the majority of importers - large multinational companies as well as small to medium enterprises. In a competitive marketplace, customs brokers are seeing more emphasis on performance measurement and key performance indications during the procurement process as well as in standard operations. Today, there is greater uncertainty in the business environment and increased complexity of the global supply chain. We think this also reflects the maturation of the brokerage industry where business managers focus on continuing improvements to their processes to reach maximum efficiencies in delivering value to clients.

By the way, are you aware of any recent research focusing on customs brokers, either on global or on national level?

The World Customs Organization, WCO conducted a survey of its members in 2015 on the subject of customs broker regulation and had an outstanding response rate. With many models of customs broker regulatory regimes among the WCO members, from no regulation to the mandatory use of a licensed customs broker, the results of the survey point to some opportunities for cooperation between Customs administrations and customs brokers, and, based on existing best practices, suggests considerations for a model for establishing a broker licensing system, particularly valuable where none exists today. It also offers ideas on engagement with customs brokers and other private sector players to enhance compliance and trade facilitation. We see this as a positive indicator of interest in issues that are of critical importance to the international customs broker community, and a sign that there is value in doing some additional work in this area.

From a customs broker’s perspective, which areas of global trade facilitation and supply chain security do you see as most important in 2016? What about the most difficult or challenging ones?

A very important development that might impact global trade is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TTP. I say might because coming into force depends on the US Congress ratification of the agreement, and currently the rhetoric coming from Washington shows little support for it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. But assuming the TPP is ratified by the 12 signatories, even though it means elimination of tariffs and tariff barriers, it also means a more complex environment to navigate the multiple free trade agreements for the multi-national importers. Customs brokers as experts in rules of origin and compliance, in general will continue playing a very important role in the trade chain.

Looking a bit further out, one of the most challenging issues of the next 5 years will be the immense growth in e-commerce globally, and the pressure put on governments world-wide by online retailers to increase the de-minimis thresholds. It is projected that the online sales will reach US $3.5 trillion by 2020. That represents a lot of import duties that may not be collected and remitted if the de-minimis thresholds are increased or standardized. We expect that the impact of this will be seen differently depending on positions taken by national administrations given their own economic situations and pressures for competitiveness. Customs brokers will no doubt integrate any such changes into their compliance models and service offerings, keeping their clients’ interests and obligations foremost.

We can’t speak of challenges without mentioning the global trade slowdown we’ve experienced since the 2008 global financial crisis. Many factors seem to be contributing to the continued sluggishness which some consider cyclical others structural in nature. Regardless, governments have to remember that trade can be a powerful tool in their policy toolkit and customs brokers are natural allies in promoting its growth.

Any other greetings you would like to send to the CBRA Interview and Blog readers?

IFCBA will be holding its next World Conference in Shanghai 17-21 May, 2016, and the theme is “Facilitating Trade Through the Customs-Business Connection”. Hundreds of delegates from all regions of the world will be in attendance representing national customs brokers associations, international customs organizations such as the WCO, freight forwarding firms, shipping companies, cross-border e-commerce associations, world logistics enterprises, and many more. Our conferences are held only every two years, and we are very excited about sharing ideas and strategies for success with business and government colleagues from around the world.

Thanks a lot Carol for this concluding note – we just added the IFCBA World Conference to CBRA´s Events calendar – and thanks for the whole interview; maybe we can explore bit later this year on joint research, training or other project opportunities…!

 

Web-resources:

http://ifcba.org/

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/facilitation/resources/~/~/media/234D5143B2344B918496C93F24B48586.ashx

https://www.internetretailer.com/2015/07/29/global-e-commerce-set-grow-25-2015

http://bruegel.org/2015/08/the-global-trade-slowdown-puzzle/

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres15_e/pr752_e.htm

https://globalconnections.hsbc.com/global/en/tools-data/trade-forecasts/global

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2016/update/01/pdf/0116.pdf 

Related CBRA studies:  

Gutierrez, X., Hintsa, J., Wieser, P. and Hameri, A.P. (2005), “New roles for customs brokers in international supply chain”, Proceedings of First International Conference on Transportation Logistics (T-LOG), July 27-29, 2005, Singapore.

Hintsa, J., Mohanty, S., Tsikolenko, V., Ivens, B., Leischnig, A., Kähäri, P., Hameri, A.P., and Cadot, O. (2014), The import VAT and duty de-minimis in the European Union – Where should they be and what will be the impact? Final Report, Brussels, Belgium.

New approaches to border management

Today we discuss with Mr. Anthony Barone how to modernize border management techniques. Mr. Barone is a writer and adjunct professor. He has served at the WCO and American Federal Advisory bodies and held senior positions in both the industrial and logistics industries most recently at Pfizer.

Tony, it seems that we are living in a fairly dangerous world today. Threats to society arise from globalized terrorism, organized crime and individual criminal acts, such as the commission of fraud. How do border management techniques address these threats?

Not very well, I’m afraid. Border management techniques that are used today to identify and interdict criminal activities are based on technologies and concepts that are out of date. They cause unpredictability in supply chains, discriminate against smaller companies and opportune official corruption.

The absence of real time information exchange between countries, and even within countries among different departments of border management, is complicating the inherent challenges faced by border management authorities. Unfortunately crime has globalized, but law enforcement has not.

The supply chains are internationalizing rapidly, so all nations need to find ways that facilitate legitimate trade and simultaneously disrupt criminal activity hidden in commercial supply chains. Can emerging technologies be the solution?

Newly emerging technologies present both new threats and new opportunities. Threats arise from the criminal use of new technologies such as the use of social media by terror organizations and bitcoin money exchange by drug cartels. Opportunities to leverage technology arise from the ubiquitous use of integrated supply chain technology within the private sector, relatively inexpensive cloud based processing capabilities and a variety of hardware developments, such as Machine to Machine data processing or Internet of Things.

Emerging technologies may make it possible to accomplish the dual goals of facilitation and security, but certain prerequisites must be addressed in order for such solutions to succeed. The innovations must benefit both the private sector and governments in several different ways. There must be real economic value in transformative strategies. Political leadership must see a match to public policy goals and developers must see profit opportunity in the development of tools.

As you said, various public and private stakeholders may have different interests and priorities, and on top of this private citizens have increasing and legitimate privacy concerns. What should we do that real issues are accommodated despite these potentially contradictory goals?

The importance of engaging the private sector as agents of change cannot be understated. Both goods shippers and logistics service providers must find benefit through significantly reduced costs. And those savings must outweigh out-of-pocket investments that are needed to achieve them.

Articulating possible solutions faces significant headwinds. Among these are the investments made in current practices on both the private and public side. Reluctance to change is further bolstered by financial considerations including possible costs of transformation and the loss of revenue derived from existing systems.

Additionally, authorities charged with these responsibilities may feel threatened by criticism of programs they administer. Importers and exporters may fear reprisal from authorities. Trade associations may be too dependent on access to authorities to seriously challenge extant programs. Without a political constituency and given these challenges, introducing and implementing game changing ideas will be difficult.

So, what would you propose to modernize border management techniques? It seems to require radically transformative ideas.

I propose that we get together a group of independent experts who are willing to explore radically new approaches to border management. They would be tasked to investigate how supply chain facilitation as an open source capability could simultaneously block criminal activity and reduce the costs of border administration. They should consider both private and public sector effects and have a global focus so that all nations can benefit from their work.

Thank you, Tony, for the interview. CBRA team is interested to join the group of independent experts you suggested – hopefully we can get together on this, already during the first couple of months in 2016!