CORE-Observatory

Towards Trusted Trade-lanes (CORE1207)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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. Thorsten Neumann on TAPA EMEA

21.6.2016: Today’s CBRA Interview is with Mr. Thorsten Neumann, from TAPA EMEA and Microsoft.

Hey Thorsten, can you first tell a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hey Juha, thanks for the opportunity to give an interview for the CBRA. First of all, my name is Thorsten Neumann, and I’m the chair of the Transport Assets Protection Association TAPA Europe, Middle East and Africa. I’m leading the board of directors in EMEA and I am the representative in the TAPA Worldwide Council. Furthermore, I’m the director for channel security management at Microsoft within the ANTIPIRACY services department, and I’m leading all our risk management-related Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Volume Licensing (VL) efforts inside our company. I’m in charge of business resilience, as well.

Can you tell more on TAPA EMEA: What are your main activities in the field of supply chain security?

Since TAPA was founded in 1997 in the US by four major global manufacturing companies, the organization has transformed into a completely new business model. And what we mainly do is, that we connect the dots within the end-to-end supply chain security world. In TAPA EMEA, we have people who are experts in various technologies, industries and countries. If you take a look what we’ve achieved in the last ten to twenty years, you can see that our security certification model has been very successful. It is today one of the most important pillars within the TAPA organization globally. The certification program covers mainly the Freight Security Requirements (FSR) and the Truck Security Requirements (TSR). We are now also working on new Parking Security Requirements (PSR). We also offer a lot of other services and systems, like the Incident Information Service (IIS) that provide tremendous benefits to our members. TAPA is involved in regulatory affairs, as well: we are interacting with the European Commission, the United Nations, the World Customs Organization and other great institutions – they all see us as the leading industry association fighting cargo theft in the global supply chain.

How would you describe both the benefits and challenges of conducting industry-academia research in the field of supply chain security?

Considering the ongoing TAPA-CBRA work, I think increased transparency and the opportunity to identify and fix the weakest security links in the supply chain are the main benefits. I do strongly believe in proactive partnerships with research experts who are capable of identifying and analysing return on investment linked to the great work we are doing as an association. I trust on CBRA’s professional skills and their outstanding network. I’m convinced that, with inputs from TAPA members, CBRA will build the most robust model possible for estimating the total cost of cargo theft. From the study point of view, I’m looking forward to work with you guys.

Can you elaborate a bit on the “Total Cost of Cargo Theft” study background and the expected outcomes of it?

In the first kick-off phase, we try to estimate the total cost of cargo theft in all three TAPA regions - EMEA, Americas and APAC. This study gives us a unique, global overview on the total cost of cargo theft and estimates on various cost components that account for the total cost. I’m proud to work together with CBRA, the Borås University in Sweden and Texas A&M in the US. The plan is also to engage the Singapore Institute for Materials Management (SIMM) in the study.

The background and motive of this study is the following: we are operating in a very competitive business environment, and therefore security managers need to justify and explain budget that they spend on cargo security. With this study, we could underline how dramatic impact cargo theft has not only on company profits but also on the entire economy of a country. If you take a look on what is happening right now for example in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France, but also in South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia and so forth, you realize the seriousness of modern cargo crime. The study would give us the analytical background and results we need to sell what we do also to the government, to our own companies, to the CEO, CFO, but also of course the WCO, as one of the driving factors of fight against criminals within the supply chain.

Thanks a lot for this interview, Thorsten! By the way, HEC University of Lausanne Executive MBA students learn every spring about the latest & greatest in supply chain security management, including from “TAPA activists” like our buddy Gilad…. Maybe next year you could also join as a guest lecturer at the UNIL eMBA class?

I would be really happy and proud to be a guest lecturer at your university. This fits quite nicely my current activities as I’m already running lectures at the University in Bremen. Count me in and see you in the class room next year. Thanks!

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!