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Phil Lavin

Phil Lavin, Siemens Digital Logistics development consultant
Phil Lavin, Siemens Digital Logistics development consultant

It is a problem with holdups and delays in the food supply chain, which is really down to documentation, interpretation of documentation or lack of preparation for companies who are importing from Europe

The way the problem can be resolved is to have automation through customs processing. In the UK the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) was introduced in August 2018 to phase out Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

This reporting system is used to process declarations for goods entering and leaving the UK or EU through ports and airports, with complete customs information submitted electronically.

Most importers will use a 3PL (Freight Forwarder), probably about 90 per cent of importers. But from an automation point of view, there’s a lot companies can do to make sure their supply chains run smoothly, one is to consider accreditation for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).

This is a process accredited by HMRC, which has validated data about the customer and its suppliers. Managed with a visibility platform it provides HMRC with a means of expediting border controls and creates a level confidence for the security and integrity of the inbound supply chain.

A further development is the government’s plan for 10 Freeports spread through Scotland, NI, Wales and England. These could be standalone or a division of selected 3PLs who have the technical know-how for adapting digital logistics.

Considered opinion is to improve transit to a level of seamless transactions and to make supply chains smarter. This can be achieved by using and analysing all the data, sales, forecasting, planning, production, relating to the business and ergo the supply chain, in other words, embracing digitalisation.


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