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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.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three calls for journal and conference papers

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

SIECA delegation visiting Europe in June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CBRA Blog by Juha Hintsa

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

 

Revisiting the Yemen bomb plot of 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bibliography:

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

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

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

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

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

CBRA Blog by Dr. Toni Männistö

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)

blog-200516-1

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!

CORE Information Observatory

cbra_blog_post_040116Please visit FP7-CORE Information Observatory . If you find it useful for your work, please consider registering to become a regular CORE Observatory user and to receive the CBRA Monthly Newsletter!

On behalf of the whole CBRA-team – Sangeeta, Susana, Susan, Phan Hien, Toni, Vladlen, Duayner, Perttu, Matti, Ari-Pekka, Ninoslav, Peter, Andrew, Harri x 2, and David x 2 (http://www.cross-border.org/team/ ) – I would like to wish you the best of success for the year 2016, in your professional as well as private life. In the context of global supply chains, we are ready to work with you towards faster and more predictable global logistics, naturally combined with low crime rates and with high compliance rates. One great tool to support such “common industry-government-academia global supply chain mission” is our new media platform – the recently launched FP7-CORE Information Observatory, which you can find at: http://www.cross-border.org/core-observatory/core-observatory-full-list/

CORE Observatory gives you 10-20 regular reviews and updates per month on supply chain security and trade facilitation policies, regulations, standards, good practices, roadmaps, research papers etc. – for the benefit of FP7-CORE partners, and beyond. Our primary focus is currently on European Union and its main trading partners – global expansion is possible later, depending on user needs and priorities. Each CORE Observatory entry has a title and a summary, visible to every user. At the end of the summary we provide a URL for the source document, whenever an electronic version is available in public domain. Starting 1 January 2016, the title and summary are also translated to Spanish. New languages (e.g. French, Arabic or Russian) may be offered later in 2016 depending on user preferences. The full review text is available only for the registered users, who will also receive the CBRA Monthly Newsletter, tailored to their personal information needs and interests. The CORE Observatory entries are listed in chronological order, the latest entry appearing on the top of the list. Any user – registered or not – can search CORE Observatory entries either via pre-defined keywords and tags (most common ones listed on the right side of the web page), or via free text search.

Again, Happy New Year 2016 everyone – and looking forward to having many new visitors at the FP7-CORE Information Observatory!

Yours, Juha

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.

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.

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.

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

Summary

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

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

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)