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FIATA e-flash
14 May 2024

FIATA representing the voice of the Freight forwarders at WCO meeting on AEO

During the 8-10 May, FIATA attended the World Customs Organization's (WCO) 6th WCO Global AEO Conference in Shenzhen, China, where 1100 participants from 109 countries discussed the opportunities and challenges of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes over 3 days, in 8 plenary sessions and 6 workshops.

This voluntary framework for collaboration between customs and the private sector plays an important role in securing the supply chain and facilitating trade. AEO programmes focus on:

  1. efficiency
  2. transparency
  3. trust
  4. mutualism
  5. facilitation
  6. capacity building

FIATA would like to thank the WCO, the Chinese customs authorities and the Shenzhen municipal government for the excellent organisation of the meeting, as well as all the experts, speakers and participants who helped to shape together the future of the AEO programme. FIATA Director General, Stéphane Graber stated: "It is now up to all of us to implement the results of the meeting in our own organisation for the benefit of a secure and efficient supply chain."
FIATA was proud to take part in a key panel on the future of AEO programmes, envisaging the actions to improve AEO programmes, among which: 

  1. Dealing with the challenges related to the certification process and the accessibility to AEO programmes. Importance of providing guidance and support to SMEs and logistics actors in order to make AEO programmes more accessible for them; 
  2. Ensuring that AEO-certified companies are receiving tangible benefits. Importance of collecting specific data regarding the expected and received benefits in different regions in a standardised manner; 
  3. Improving business-customs relationship in order to collect inputs regarding the actual need of the industry in different regions, which is crucial to ensure that AEO programmes remain up to date and relevant for the industry;
  4. Working towards more coordination among different government agencies. In order to move goods across borders, freight forwarders need to interact not only with customs authorities but also with other government agencies, which requires raising awareness on the importance of different government agencies being included in AEO programmes;
  5. Having a global framework for AEO as there is a need for a high level harmonisation and an international body like WCO monitoring it. Differences in AEO criteria and benefits between countries complicate participation and readability for global operating companies;
  6. Continuing to develop capacity building as an essential basis for the successful implementation of AEO programmes;
  7. Using technology for improving efficiency and unlock additional ressources to enlarge AEO programmes. 

WCO Secretary General, Mr Ian Saunders, and FIATA Director General, Dr Stéphane Graber at the 6th WCO Global AEO conference in Shenzhen discussing Mr Saunders participation at the forthcoming FIATA World Congress 2024 in Panama in September 2024

Mutual responsibility for the Shenzhen Action Plan on AEO
The AEO programmes are not just about security and trade facilitation, they are first and foremost a framework that encourages the building of trusting relationships between customs and the private sector and the strengthening of mutual communication. FIATA Director General stated: "The spirit of the AEO programmes was perceptible throughout the meeting and provided an opportunity to exchange best practices, discuss inclusiveness, understand the role of digitisation or raise the need for greater accessibility for SMEs, to name but a few. The meeting was rich in friendly contacts and ideas for taking the AEO agenda to the next level. Let's all work together to implement the inspiring Shenzhen Action Plan."

FIATA private exchange on logistics with the Chinese Vice-Minister of Customs 
In parallel with the 6th WCO Global AEO Conference in Shenzhen, FIATA was honoured to have a private exchange with the Vice Minister of Customs of the People's Republic of China, Mr Wang. This was an opportunity to discuss not only access to AEO programmes for small and medium-sized forwarders, but also the future of logistics, the disruption of the Red Sea supply chain, the importance of multimodality, the digitisation of transport corridors, but above all FIATA's electronic bill of lading as a key document for the logistics industry to promote efficiency and confidence. FIATA's efforts within UNCITRAL, supported by China, to promote a legal framework for a multimodal transport document inspired by the FIATA electronic bill of lading model were also discussed during this high-level exchange. Finally, China's major investments in the development of transport corridors such as the New Land and Sea Transport Corridor (NLSTC) and the Europe-China express train were covered. 

FIATA would like to warmly thank Mr Wang for his positive interest and constructive exchange, as well as for his confidence in FIATA, and looks forward to maintaining a regular flow of communication.

UNCITRAL work towards an international framework for negotiable cargo documents

From 6-10 May 2024, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group VI met at the UN Headquarters in New York to continue its work on an international convention to support negotiable cargo documents for unimodal and multimodal transport. FIATA, a longstanding active contributor to this project since its inception, was represented by its Legal Services Director, Andrea Tang. Following on from its contributions and joint presentation with the Global Shippers Forum on practical industry practice regarding freight forwarders' issuance of bills of lading, such as the FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading (FBL), FIATA was also invited to participate in two dedicated side events dedicated to industry needs. 

The first side event, held on Monday 6 May, featured a panel on "Enabling legal environment for digital transport" comprising FIATA, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International union of Railways (UIC) and the UN Economic Council for Europe (UNECE), moderated by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). This panel discussion provided the opportunity for industry stakeholders to showcase some of the current digital industry initiatives and the corresponding legal needs of the industry to support digital transport documents and data exchange. It provided food for thought for the Working Group in its deliberations on the draft provisions related to digital documents.

The second side event, held the following day, featured a roundtable discussion moderated by the Global Shippers Forum, with the participation of FIATA, the Federation of Commodity Associations, IATA, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Banking Commission, and TT Club. This lively and insightful discussion looked at the industry needs and practice concerning negotiable cargo documents in today's context, and the important risk considerations from an insurance perspective

FIATA was pleased to note the positive developments in the draft provisions, and to continue its work in providing practical inputs drawing lessons from the FBL, which serves as the only working industry example in practice of a negotiable cargo document that is the subject of the draft convention

FIATA explores the future of digital trade documents in the Arab World

On 30 May 2024, FIATA was pleased to participate as a speaker at a symposium on "The future impact of negotiable cargo documents and negotiable electronic cargo records in the Arab World", organised by UNCITRAL, UN/CEFACT, and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport. This hybrid event took place in Alexandria, Egypt and online.

FIATA's presentation focused on the issuance of bills of lading by freight forwarders, highlighting the crucial role that freight forwarders play to bring resilience in an uncertain and challenging supply chain context, and the importance of freight forwarders having the capability to issue their own bills of lading. The presentation pointed to the current work conducted at UNCITRAL on the development of an international legal instrument for negotiable cargo documents, drawing examples from the FBL and the Digital FBL, and formed part of UNCITRAL's efforts to raise awareness on the project in different world regions and to obtain feedback on industry practice and needs.

FIATA Director General to discuss PLACI compliance requirements in Abu Dhabi

FIATA is pleased to announce that on 14-15 May 2024, FIATA Director General, Dr Stéphane Graber, will represent the freight forwarding industry at the IATA 2024 PLACI (Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information) Compliance Requirements Session. The event is taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and is hosted by the UAE Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP).
FIATA will participate in the Panel Discussion: Airline, Freight Forwarder Experiences with PLACI Implementation on 15 May and will provide the experience of the freight forwarders on  PLACI regimes, globally. The implementation of new PLACI requirements is changing the way we operate in the air cargo industry. The impact of these new requirements should not be underestimated, especially for the freight forwarding industry! 
FIATA emphasises the importance of ensuring multiple filing options in all PLACI regimes, maintaining a consistent approach across transportation modes, and streamlining global data submissions.

If you have not yet, don't forget to register for the event here!

📣Implementation of ICS-2: Your Feedback and FIATA Resources!

The new European Union (EU) regulations, Import Control System 2 (ICS-2) Release 2, focusing on airfreight, came into force last year, and Release 3 for maritime, rail, and road transport is set to come into force this year.

ICS-2 is a crucial system designed to facilitate and streamline customs procedures for inbound air cargo in the European market. It enables the advanced electronic submission of import information, enhancing security measures and expediting clearance processes. Freight forwarders can provide the required data directly to carriers or opt for multiple filing.

FIATA would like to hear about your experiences and feedback regarding the implementation of ICS-2 for airfreight to identify areas for improvement. Please kindly send us your feedback or any issues you encounter to [email protected]. Your input will help us provide this feedback to regulators, ensuring that ICS-2 works efficiently and effectively.

FIATA Resources:

Thank you for you for your feedback, as it is crucial in ensuring the smooth implementation and operation of ICS-2!

Please note the following go-live dates for ICS-2 Release 3:

  • 3 June 2024: maritime and inland waterways carriers
  • 4 December 2024: maritime and inland waterways house level filers
  • 1 April 2025: road and rail carriers