The Key Role of Freight Forwarders in the COVID-19 Crisis
According to Robert Keen at the British International Freight Association (BIFA), the COVID-19 crisis has put emphasis on the importance that freight forwarders play in delivering vital commodities through our international supply chains. After spending many years being the “invisible hand of international shipping” Keen speaks of freight forwarders as, “the important role……taking centre stage and being recognised.” With BIFA seeking to influence the UK government on all issues surrounding international shipping, they have been pleased so far with the pragmatic solutions that have been made. These include the easing of opening hours at temporary storage facilities rather than going through the formal process of a change in legislation, that could have held up the change. Currently, BIFA are looking for the government to ease VAT on import tax as they have done with domestic VAT. Keen spoke of the official statement made in Parliament recently that the government acknowledged that international freight services are, “vital for ensuring the continuity of supply chains.” The government recognised the individuals working in this sector as key workers. Keen added it was important to recognise that the key worker title didn’t just extend to the obvious employees such as drivers and warehouse operatives but also people working behind the scenes such as customs data entry clerks.