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New survey on European postal security

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

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

Common Postal Security Space:

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

D-tube drug screening station:

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

Explosive detection system:

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

Image recognition system:

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

Radiological screening:

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

Security standard and certificate:

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

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

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

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Figure 1 Theoretical framework of the SAFEPOST survey paper

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

 

SIECA delegation visiting Europe in June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CBRA Blog by Juha Hintsa

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

 

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

Border Agency Cooperation, Part 3 of 3

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

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

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Levels of cooperation

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

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

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

Areas of integration

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

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

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

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

Objects of sharing

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

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

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

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

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

Bibliography:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CORE-Observatory

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

Summary

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

The displacement effect in cargo theft (Ekwall 2009)

Summary

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

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

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)

A Decade of GAO’s Supply Chain Security Oversight, 2015 (CORE1113)

Summary: The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent government watchdog organization that has been publishing many reports on the US government’s supply chain security initiatives over the past ten years. This article reviews 25 most relevant GAO’s reports that discuss strengths, weaknesses and future challenges of the US policies and regulations on supply chain security. The review findings reveal interesting facts about similarities and differences of the US and the EU approaches to supply chain security. This comparison opens new venues for further Transatlantic benchmarking as well as harmonisation and mutual recognition of supply chain security programs. This review was conducted as part of European FP7-Project CORE.  The reviewed document is available for download here: https://hicl.org. Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

Collaborative Border Management in Thailand and Neighbouring Countries: Needs, Challenges and Issues, June 2013 (CORE2014)

Summary: Thailand is interested in coordinated border management conceptualization and implementation like many other countries. There are, however, some special challenges that Thailand faces when the country tries to strengthen cooperation with its neighbouring countries. The reviewed document is available for download at: Collaborative Border Management in Thailand and Neighboring Countries: Needs, Challenges and Issues.

Transit electronic platform in Central America, December 2010 (CORE2013a and 2013b)

Summary: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reports that more than 95% of commercial goods in the Mesoamerican region are transported overland using the Pacific Corridor. This traffic represents approximately 6 billion USD worth of goods on a highway which runs from Puebla, Mexico to Panama and crosses six national borders. The problem with the Pacific Corridor is with unreliable, inefficient and substandard infrastructure. In 2008, to upgrade the inadequate infrastructure, the IDB launched a ambitious project called International Goods in Transit. According to the report, the results of the project were outstanding: average time to cross a border was reduced from 62 minutes to eight. The project also succeeded to reduce the number of documents that traders needed to submit to border control agencies.  The two reviewed files are available for download at: Interoperability at the Border: Coordinated Border Management Best Practices & Case Studies and Automating the Control of Goods in International Transit: Implementing the TIM in Central America.

Integrated Border Management Strategy in Croatia, April 2005 (CORE2012)

Summary: An Integrated Border Management (IBM) Strategy was written in Croatia in accordance with the guidelines of the European Union and in collaboration with international experts. This strategy and its implementation action plan was adopted by the Croatian government on the 21 April 2005. The reviewed document is available for download at: Strategy for Integrated Border Management (Croatia).

Cooperation experiences of the Canada Border Services Agency, July 2012 (CORE2011)

Summary: The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a dual mandate (1) to facilitate cross-border movements of cargo and people and (2) to protect security and safety of the Canadian people. The agency seeks to provide integrated border services, by closely cooperating with other Canadian border control agencies as well as with foreign customs administrations. The reviewed document is available for download here: Customs Cooperation Case Study for Canada.