Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Freight forwarders remain ahead of the curve despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty
While the UK government keeps working, pushing and grinding on to try again to make the case for its Brexit compromise, and MPs carry on hunting, and arguing for alternatives that could take the place of that compromise if it ultimately fails, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) is advising its members to continue preparing for a no-deal departure on 29 March, until further clarity is obtained.
Robert Keen, BIFA’s Director General said that that this has been the advice of the trade association for freight forwarders for several weeks.
Keen says: ‘Confusion reigns and with less than a fortnight to go before Brexit, no proposal is off the table and some suggest that a no deal exit can happen because last week’s vote was advisory.
‘A no-deal departure would be very disruptive and damaging for the UK economy as a whole, but freight forwarders – many of whom are Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accredited – would play a key role in tidying up the mess left by the politicians by ensuring UK importers and exporters can continue trading with the rest of Europe as best as possible after 29 March.
‘I am pleased to report that BIFA members are ahead of the curve and planning for every eventuality, with their trade association trying to make sure it gets relevant information to its members following the release of that information from the various UK government departments.
‘BIFA’s executive management has engaged with various government departments over the last two years regarding the issues that affect the movement of visible trade post-29 March, in order to provide our members with advice on those discussions whenever procedures are finalised.
‘Our members have also been discussing the possible impacts with their clients. Large and small, BIFA members have taken actions to review all options to overcome the disorder that a no-deal Brexit could bring to international trade in order to define sustainable solutions as the set of Brexit conditions becomes clearer.
‘One thing is certain, our members are ready, willing and able to clear up any mess regarding the movement of freight into and from the UK, created by politicians.’
It was announced on 18 April from Singapore by Ocean Network Express (ONE) that A P Moller-Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express had established the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) in The Netherlands.
After gaining regulatory approval from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last month (March), four container shipping companies officially established the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) on 12 April 2019 with HQ in Amsterdam and the association is now commencing operations.
Industry veterans form a leadership team with Thomas Bagge appointed as CEO.
In the words of Noriaki Yamaga, Managing Director, Corporate & Innovation, Ocean Network Express (see illustration here of an example of ONE’s tonnage): ‘ONE is constantly seeking best practices and standards to support and drive innovation technology in the shipping and logistics industry to create valuable opportunities for digital transformation. To realize these goals, concrete discussion and solid collaboration works must be done in order to standardize solutions, establish common IT standards and governance for the industry to streamline and digitize shipping process to shape the future of the shipping industry. We truly believe that the establishment of this association will bring values, benefits and opportunities to our customers, as well as logistics companies, leading shipping and logistics industry to new ecosystem of digital supply chain.’
On 8 April in Singapore, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) signed a joint memorandum of understanding (see illustration).
This new MOU codifies the extensive level of co-operation that already exists between these important international trade associations and provides a framework for their closer co-operation. The three associations collectively represent over 90% of the world merchant fleet. The agreement recognises their respective memberships of national shipowners’ associations and the unique and special relationship which their members enjoy with their national governments.
The MOU confirms the roles of ICS, ASA and ECSA as the principal global and regional associations, representing shipowners and operators – in all shipping sectors and trades – with those global and regional organisations, regulators and other bodies which impact and affect the interests of international shipping.