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Industry News

The latest news from BIFA
  1. Robert Keen, Director General of BIFA said: “We brought the deadline forward this year, but September has been an extremely busy post-holiday period for many of our members, which has limited the time that some of them have had to prepare their entries.

    “Hence, we have decided to extend the deadline to give all the trade association’s corporate members a little more time to get their submissions together.

    “Every year I hear from members who regret not entering, so we are extending the opportunity for the best in the industry to be recognised by their peers at the 29th awards ceremony, next January.”

    All you need to do to be in with the chance of being announced as an award winner, is choose your category and write a 1,000-word submission.

    See for full details of all categories, the entry procedure, and to download your entry template. You can enter up to three of the following categories plus nominate individuals for the Young Freight Forwarder of the Year Award:

    • Air Cargo Services Award
    • Cool Award
    • European Logistics Award
    • Extra Mile Award
    • Ocean Services Award
    • Project Forwarding Award
    • Specialist Services Award
    • Staff Development Award
    • Supply Chain Management Award
    • Young Freight Forwarder Award
  2. he storm follows the publication this week of report by the Department for Transport (DfT) after five years of trials.

    The 2016 annual report into the LST trial, authored by research consultancy Risk Solutions, concludes that LSTs have cut haulage road miles and have lower accident levels than conventional HGVs.

    LSTs are up to 2.05 metres longer than standard semi-trailers, 15.65 metres rather than 13.6 metres, and are not as large as the “mega trailers” or “road-trains” permitted in other countries.

    They also operate under the same 44-tonne road weight limit as HGV trailers and must pass the same turning circle test, which usually involves a steering rear axle.

    Last year, some 1,800 LSTs made road trips operated by 161 haulage firms, and since trials began in 2012 there have been 2.6m LST journeys. Last year, the study found that due to the higher carrying capacity of LSTs more than 10m miles of HGV journeys were removed from the roads – a 5% reduction in the number of trips by participating companies.

    It also found that LSTs appear to be safer to operate.

    “On a per kilometre basis, we estimate LSTs have been involved in 70-80% fewer personal injury collisions, compared with the urban (excluding motorways) average for all articulated HGVs,” the report says.

    Christopher Snelling, the Freight Transport Association’s head of national and regional policy, said: “The success of the LST trial is clear and undeniable. It is time the DfT looked to simply establish the flexibility in law so that the UK can continue to benefit from the efficiency they bring.

    “The success of this project shows what can be gained from adding marginally to the dimensions of our road freight fleet – massive carbon, air quality and safety benefits can be achieved right now. Weights and dimensions should be looked at in a rational, evidenced-based manner and not simply rejected because some campaigners do not like the sound of them.

    “Almost three-quarters of goods movements are carried by road rather than by rail or water. We need to maximise the use of rail and water freight as part of making the UK’s supply chain as efficient, clean and safe as possible, but they can never replace road. That is why we need to maximise the efficiency of road freight.”

    However, the findings were disputed by lobby group Freight on Rail, which argued that its findings were “based on flawed data and incorrect assumptions and ignores important safety factors”.

    Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager, said: “Despite what the DfT claims, longer semi-trailers are not the answer to reducing collisions, congestion or pollution, and are actually more dangerous than standard HGVs on urban and town centre roads because of their 7ft tail swing and extended blind spot.

    “Risk Solutions should be analysing the usage and loading patterns of existing lorries to find out what will happen in real life if these longer semi-trailers are allowed in general circulation.

    “There is no question that longer semi-trailers save operators money, but this is because these bigger trucks result in lorries paying even less of the costs they impose on the economy and society, with the taxpayer picking up the bill in terms of more road crashes, road damage, congestion and pollution, and this is simply unacceptable.”

    Risk Solutions said the LST trial mainly involved FMCG goods “and other cage or pallet loads”, and that 62% of the distance travelled was between industrial locations such as distribution centres, with around 30% to and from retail sites.

    It found that LST trailers ran empty for 18% of the total distance travelled, compared to 29% for all HGVs, and that the LSTs “made maximum use of the additional length for at least 34%, and made some use for 50%, of the distance travelled”.

    It added: “Many operators restrict LSTs to operations where they can run heavily loaded on both outbound and return legs to make the most of what is a significant investment. In many cases, this is between major distribution centres, which will mainly be on trunk roads.”

    Source: The Loadstar

  3. Roads Minister Jesse Norman has today called on UK businesses to lead research into low emission technology for lorries, as well as cars and vans.

    The projects could see materials which make vehicles lighter, or improve the efficiency of engines or batteries.

    Roads Minister Jesse Norman said:

    “We have made important progress in lowering emissions and are always looking at further ways of improving air quality.

    “Lorries cause a third of the UK’s transport CO2 emissions and simple new technologies can have the greatest impact in reducing the harmful pollutants of freight.

    “This funding will give UK companies the chance to lead the world in developing important innovations to improve air quality across the country.”

    The Government is continuing to find innovative ways of improving air quality across the country and the funding comes just a month after the Air Quality Plan.

    The competition has been developed with Innovate UK and will help the Government achieve its ambition to be a global leader in electric vehicle technology and to see all vehicles emission free by 2040.

    Simon Edmonds, Director Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK, said:

    “We welcome this significant further investment in zero emission research and development funding, in particular its focus on freight and commercial vehicles as this is a major opportunity for UK companies to drive forward innovations.”

    The first of the projects in the Government’s Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, announced earlier this year, are now using new electric and hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles on our roads. By mid-2018, more than 300 of these low emission vehicles will be on UK roads.

    Since 2010, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK have invested more than £300 million in research and development, targeted at improving technologies for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), which has unlocked a further £200 million of private sector investment. The number of ultra low emission vehicles on our roads is at record levels with more than 118,000 registered to date and more than 11,000 registered between April and June this year.

    The competition is the 14th in the joint Innovate UK and OLEV Integrated Delivery Programme and will be open for applications on 18 September 2017. Details of how to apply can be found on the Innovate UK website:

    Source: Department for Transport

  4. BIFA would like to draw your attention to the publication of draft EU legislation on the Europa website, Implementing act under Article 15(11) of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU & Delegated act under Article 15(12) of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU.

    Companies and their representative bodies within the tobacco supply chain who may be impacted by these regulations are encouraged to review and provide any comments directly back to the Commission.

    As you may already be aware that the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) agreed by the EU Council in March 14 introduced a set of requirements for the control of tobacco products with the intention of contributing to the good functioning of the single market and protecting public health.

    While the Directive seeks to strengthen the existing rules governing the sale and control of tobacco products there were also a number of new provisions including pictorial health warnings and standardised packets. In addition, Articles 15 &16 required the introduction of a pan-EU Track &Trace system from manufacturer to last economic operator before first retailer and the introduction of a series of security markings.

    Most of the Directive had to be implemented by May 2016 but track and trace and security features aren’t required until May 2019 for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco (HRT), and from May 2024 for all other tobacco products. The Department of Health led for the UK on negotiating the TPD and implementing a majority of its requirements, however implementation of track and trace and security features is the responsibility of H M Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

  5. Average contract rates on two major container trade routes - from Asia to North Europe and North America – have increased by another 4% between the second and the third quarter of this year. This means that the latest Drewry Benchmarking Club Contract Index has increased by 39% in the year to the third quarter, based on $2 billion of ocean freight spending.

    “The container shipping market has seen a sustained, radical reversal away from the previous, long deflationary trend,” said Philip Damas, Head of Drewry’s logistics practice. “Not only are freight costs increasing, but rapid consolidation in the supplier base, changes in supplier behaviour and new developments in tender technology will bring real change and uncertainty to the ocean transport procurement environment,” he added.

    Drewry reiterates its previous warning to BCOs that they need to re-think their contract negotiation strategy and that, by incorporating benchmarking and e-sourcing best practices such as eSOFS™ in their tender management process, they can mitigate rate increases.

    Full benchmarking data on freight rates, detention and demurrage conditions and transit times are available to shippers within the benchmarking group, provided they meet the group’s non-disclosure agreement clauses. Under the group’s rules, Drewry is allowed to disclose in public only high level summary index numbers.

    Source: Drewry

  6. The revised edition (BIFA STC 2017) has been produced following an extensive review of the existing STC by the BIFA Legal and Insurance Policy Group, taking advice from solicitors with significant experience of the freight and logistics industry.

    Although the current edition of the BIFA STC is still effective and well-balanced, the updated version will give BIFA members and their customers some helpful amendments and clarifications, says the trade association for UK freight forwarding and logistics companies.

    Robert Keen, director general of BIFA says: “Over time, in the same ways laws must change, so do contractual rights and obligations that flow from these changes and therefore it is essential to review any set of industry terms against changes in legislation and industry practice.”

    Three clauses with the STC have undergone significant changes, including clause 17, which has been extended to take account of the SOLAS rules relating to verified gross mass (VGM) requirements. The revised terms provide a warranty from the customer that they are giving an accurate and actual verified gross mass of any container packed with packages and cargo items. This means that if the Member is legally responsible for provision of this information to the carrier, then it is able to pursue the customer, if the mass is not accurate, under the indemnity at clause 20 for any losses incurred as a result.

    Clause 28, which covers the jurisdiction of any claim, has been amended so that any member can choose arbitration rather than litigation in order to deal with any dispute they may have with their customer. This improves the ability for members to pursue their customers in jurisdictions that may not give effect to an English law and jurisdiction clause in favour of English Courts, or may not have any reciprocal agreement in force with the United Kingdom regarding the enforcement of judgments.

    Slight changes to the document include outdated wording being revised as well as the preamble and definitions being made tighter to reflect the new EU regulation number following the introduction of the Union Customs Code.

    Additionally, the role of the direct representative has had a specific reinforcement. This issue has become more complex over the past year and there have been changes in trade such as the growth in fulfilment houses where there is no EU representative, whilst HMRC is demanding more detailed evidence of the status.

    Keen added: “The importance of BIFA members ensuring that their incorporation of the BIFA STC into their contracts with their customers is effective cannot be stressed enough. 

    “We have been notified of a couple of instances recently where a BIFA member took a customer to a county court only to have the BIFA STC set aside as it could not provide evidence to the court that the STC were effectively incorporated in the contract.

    “This is something we address constantly with members and BIFA will be urging its members to check that they do everything they can to ensure their company has adopted the necessary steps in its good practice guide on this subject which is available on the BIFA website.”

  7. VolkerFitzpatrick Limited will be appointed to undertake the design and construction of approximately 13 hectares of paved container yard directly behind Berth 9. The work will include the reclamation of 3.2 hectares of seabed behind the existing finger pier.

    Commenting on the latest development, Clemence Cheng, Executive Director, Hutchison Ports, said:

    “Berths 8&9 were the first berths in the UK built to accommodate the latest class of ultra-large container vessels. The creation of additional container storage will allow us to optimise container handling operations between the berth and its supporting yard and further enhance the service we offer to our customers.”

    Completion of the new container yard, which will comprise ten container blocks and allow 6-high stacking, is scheduled for early 2019. The yard will add 18,000 TEU of stacking capacity to the 130,000 TEU already available at the UK’s largest container port.

    The work will further enhance Felixstowe’s ability to handle the world’s largest container ships. The port was the first in the UK to handle the latest class of 18,000+ TEU ships in 2013 and continues to handle more than any other port in the country.

    On 14 September 2017 the port handled its 100th mega vessel of the year when the  18,270 TEU Matz Maersk arrived at the port from Bremerhaven.

    Felixstowe Port


  8. Graeme Wilkinson

    Graeme, who has over 20 years of freight forwarding experience, joins from Pantos Logistics. Prior to this, he worked for C.H. Robinson, MIQ Logistics and Emery Worldwide.

    Carl Hobbis, training development manager, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Graeme to our team. His wide range of industry knowledge, covering many aspects of forwarding and logistics is perfect for the delivery of our freight and customs training.

    He adds: “With Brexit and the development of a relevant freight forwarding apprenticeship in the pipeline, we expect the need for training to increase and we plan to add to the team early in the New Year.”

    Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association added: “It is an exciting time to be joining BIFA, while we push to improve the quality of education and skills development, and cultivate the next generation of freight forwarders.”

    • The composite index is down by 2% this week and down by 5% from the same period of 2016.
    • The average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry for year-to-date, is US $1,536/40ft container, which is $100 lower than the five-year average of $1,636/40ft container. It is also 5% lower than a year ago.
    • The pre-Golden Week holiday volume spike is bleak this year as the Chinese government’s crackdown on polluting factories led to massive closures. The less-than-expected demand has already watered down the GRIs in September. The World Container Index (WCI) between Shanghai and Rotterdam lost another $63 for a 40ft box this week to reach $1,535. While the slump in rates from Shanghai to Los Angeles was minimal at $6 to reach $1,485 per feu, rates on Shanghai-New York declined by $128 to $2,172 per 40ft box. No upturn in rates is in sight for the rest of the month.

    View the latest freight rate assessments on eight major East-West trades:

    Read more >

    Source: Drewry

  9. In May BIFA highlighted this new legislation and highlighted that, in certain circumstances, the shipper had to provide the haulier a statement of weight (SOW) however, due to the snap general election there was insufficient parliamentary time available to pass the relevant legislation.

    The DfT s guidance can be viewed by clicking on the following link

    The Guidance covers a variety of  matters including additional  weight allowances for battery powered vehicles etc., however the key section covering the SOW is reproduced below.

    Information about the weight of a container

    6.  After regulation 5, insert—

    Information about the weight of a container

    6.—(1) The shipper must give to the haulier to whom it entrusts the transport of a container or swap body a written statement indicating the gross weight of the container or swap body being transported.

           (2) If required, the haulier must provide enforcement authorities access to the statement of weight and all documentation relevant to the statement of weight provided by the shipper.”.

  10. Euro Shuttle Stats - August 2017

    In August 2017, Le Shuttle Freight transported 127,729 trucks, an increase of 1% compared to the month of August 2016, setting a new historic record for a month of August. Since 1 January 2017, Le Shuttle Freight has transported more than 1,080,000 trucks.

    Passenger vehicle traffic increased by 3% compared to the month of August 2016, with 361,902 vehicles transported, closing a Summer 2017 during which Eurotunnel set new traffic records for Le Shuttle Passenger service with almost 564,000 vehicles carried over the period from 17 July to 3 September. Since 1 January 2017, Le Shuttle Passenger traffic has decreased slightly with 1,832,356 vehicles transported.

    The traffic figures for September 2017 will be published on Wednesday 11 October 2017, before markets open.

  11. Now in their 29th year, BIFA’s Freight Service Awards are open to all members of the trade association, which represents UK companies engaged in the international movement of freight forwarding and logistics industry. The deadline for entries is September 25th.

    BIFA asks for submissions that detail a relevant service or project such as a specific case study, the development of a new service for a particular customer, or a more generic example of good practice.

    Comments Robert Keen, Director General of BIFA: “The awards represent the chance for the best in the industry to be recognised by their peers, and every year the standards improve. As we organise the awards for their 29th year we are looking forward to yet another successful competition with a large number of entrants.

    “Every year, after the awards have taken place, I get members who say that they wish they had entered. As the entry process has been simplified, and all categories are now free to enter, I would urge all members to get their entries submitted now, so they don’t have any regrets later.

    “The awards are an important part of BIFA’s mission to encourage our members in their pursuit of improved standards and excellence within the logistics and supply chain industry.”

    Sponsored by a number of blue chip companies, each of the ten award categories is recognised as very prestigious and winning an award has become more coveted year-on-year.

    The BIFA Freight Service Awards are separated into ten categories, as follows:


    Cool Award - Sponsored by: American Airlines Cargo

    Extra Mile Award - Sponsored by: Descartes


    Project Forwarding Award - Sponsored by: Peter Lole & Co

    Specialist Services Award - Sponsored by: Forward Computers

    Staff Development Award - Sponsored by: Albacore Systems

    Supply Chain Management Award - Sponsored by: BoxTop Technologies


    Young Freight Forwarder Award - Sponsored by: Virgin Atlantic Cargo


    Air Cargo Services Award - Sponsored by: IAG Cargo

    European Logistics Award - Sponsored by: TT Club

    Ocean Services Award - Sponsored by: CLECAT

    For more information on the entry criteria for each individual category see the BIFA website -

  12. Notice for market surveillance authorities.

    According to the European Commission, 55 per cent of Europeans this year will buy products online and have them delivered to their door, "escaping the authorities' traditional controls". The fear is that dangerous products not in line with EU product safety laws – such as counterfeits, products containing substances banned in the EU or those that carry falsified certification – will unwittingly enter the EU market.

    Notably, the guidance touches on the new e-commerce trend of “fulfilment services for marketplace sellers”, such as Amazon's Fulfilment by Amazon. These services include product storage, packaging and delivery to customers, and dealing with returns. Such services, however, can also be services of “regular” logistics service providers and forwarders, which might not deal directly with e-commerce, but still have a distribution, warehousing or other role in the supply chain. According to the guidance the role of fulfilment service providers raises questions linked to their responsibilities under the EU product legislation. The guidance for example says:

    "This is the case especially when the economic operator providing the goods is located outside the EU and the agreement to supply the product is concluded directly between that economic operator and the consumer or other end-users in the EU, without any identifiable economic operator within the EU to be held accountable (for example, an importer or an authorised representative). In such a case, the only identifiable actor in the supply chain in the EU is often the fulfilment service provider. Experience has shown that their readiness to collaborate with authorities varies significantly."

    Specifically for customs, the guidance, for example, mentions that where products offered for sale online enter the EU from third countries, cooperation between market surveillance authorities and customs should also be sought to control and stop shipments of products at the border. According to the Commission, this is crucial when a shipment directly arrives from outside the EU to an EU customer and where no economic operator is present in the EU. This stopping of the goods also should include goods sent through postal services.

    The guidance also mentions a definition of a declarant in the customs declaration, which, although it refers to the UCC, is not in line with the Union Customs Code. According to article 5(15) of the UCC, the declarant the person lodging a customs declaration in his or her own name or the person in whose name such a declaration or notification is lodged. Therefore, this person is liable for the declaration. In the case of representation, the declarant/liable person is not the person making the declaration, but nonetheless this guidance gives a definition which states that the person making the declaration is the declarant, which would undermine representation.

    The guidance was produced by the Commissions DG for Justice and Consumers and for some issues, like mentioned above, it seems as if not enough though was put into this guidance. CLECAT was not consulted on this matter, but will still address some issues to DG JUST and DG TAXUD.

    Source: CLECAT

  13. BIFA has published this important Good Practice Guide, to add to its current portfolio, which highlights the different types of Representation as discussed in detail within the Union Customs Code (UCC).

    This publication coincides with certain changes in trade such as the growth in Fulfilment Houses where there is no EU representative.

    This publication is restricted to BIFA members only. Login is requird to access.

    • The composite index is down by 3% this week and up by 9% from the same period of 2016.
    • The average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry for year-to-date, is US $1,543/40ft container, which is $100 lower than the five-year average of $1,643/40ft container. It is also 9% higher than a year ago.
    • Spot rates on the Asia-Europe and the Transpacific trades declined this week. Rates on the Shanghai-Rotterdam route lost $37 to reach $1,702 per feu. On the other hand, rates on Shanghai-New York plummeted by $104 to reach $2,473 for a 40ft box, and rates on Shanghai-Los Angeles tanked by $59 to reach $1,561. Since the GRIs, in the initial week of September, have been deferred, the peak season rate growth is expected to be moderate this year.

    Read more >

    Source: Drewry