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Published by: Olivier Schoenmaeckers
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Changing the climate of logistics
We are in the final stretch heading towards the highlight of the Belgian freight forwarding sector, the FIATA World Congress in Brussels on 3-6 October.
The preparations for this international event for the logistics world have been ongoing for several years, the programme and speakers are confirmed, many strategic partners are already on board, registrations from all over the world are pouring in... It promises to be an exciting event, with many interesting panel discussions about the future of our industry and numerous lively networking events at unique locations in Brussels.
We warmly invite the Belgian freight forwarding and logistics sector not to miss out. It will be a long time before our country hosts this event again!
For Belgian participants who cannot attend the entire congress, we have provided various registration options so that everyone can decide which days and events they wish to participate in.
The opening show, specially directed for this congress, already promises to be so spectacular that you won’t want to miss it – a mix of dance, film and music against the backdrop of the freight forwarder’s profession. Keep a close eye on our social media in the coming weeks! Amidst all these preparations, at FORWARD Belgium we are currently focusing strongly on modernising customs legislation. Time is running out in the current legislative term, and we want to reach an agreement with AAD&A by the end of summer on an important first step in reforming customs criminal law in Belgium. It is also important here that the groundwork is already in place for a more comprehensive reform that the next government will implement.
The European Commission’s recent proposals for reforming the Union Customs Code will undoubtedly also play a further role when considering the responsibilities of the various players in the customs process. It will certainly be important to continue to safeguard the role and added value of customs representative in the far-reaching proposals for simplifying ‘Trust and Check’ exporters and importers.
The coming months will also focus on the rollout of IRP (PN/TS), which you can read more about later as we enjoy looking back on the great work that has already been done within the community over recent months. I strongly believe that this project will be the start of the true added value of a Port Community System.
Finally, we are currently exploring the possibility of offering the FORWARD in-house mentoring programmes online to our members as well. Knowledge and training is set to become even more important in our industry in the next few years, and you will learn more about our initiatives over the coming months.
Stay tuned for all FORWARD Belgium initiatives.
Eric Verlinden on the benefits and first project of ‘The Way Forward’
At the beginning of 2023, Eric Verlinden joined ‘The Way Forward’ (TWF) as project manager. He is guiding, directing and bringing to fruition the various ambitious projects within this digitisation programme. “The Inbound Release Platform is the first project within TWF, and I really want to make sure it succeeds,” says Eric.
‘The Way Forward’ originated from the digital pact signed between Alfaport Voka and the Port of Antwerp at the end of 2021. They reached an agreement to further develop digital applications with the aim of improving logistics
efficiency and safety within the Antwerp port. Eric says, “The digital pact was the start of TWF, and then a roadmap was drawn up to determine the projects and their importance, and sought a project manager to oversee TWF and its projects. And they ultimately ended up with me.”
Eric has a background in logistics. He worked for 20 years in an operational management role at the cargo airport, and spent the last 5 years at VIL, where he gained knowledge of project management and supervised many projects with companies, including collective projects. He can put this valuable knowledge to good use in his current role.
Where ‘entrepreneurship’ is not just a value on our wall, but lived every day
The Inbound Release Platform is the first project within ‘The Way Forward’
The Inbound Release Platform (IRP) is a solution for the new PN/TS customs system and is set to start in March 2024, making it the first project for ‘The Way Forward’, and a very large project at that. Eric says, “We soon realised that a solution for PN/TS, which is essentially the customs declaration upon goods arrival, would not be sufficient on its own. What we also need is more control over terminal releases, which involves systems like CCRM that disappear with the implementation of PN/ TS, and CPU.”
er companies decide to come on board with the IRP is up to them, but we believe that most – especially shipping agents and terminals, but also forwarders and customs representatives – cannot really do without the IRP.”
As project manager, Eric’s task is to reconcile the different interests of different types of companies and arrive at mutually agreed solutions that serve the common interest. Eric explains, “The goal of a collective project is not to disadvantage one party while the others make progress.”
The roadmap of projects within TWF is divided into three groups:
- Shipping companies, shipping agents
- Terminals (definition changes per project)
- Forwarders and customs representatives, etc.
The functionality of CCRM will be incorporated into the IRP, and CPU will then be linked to the IRP. This provides a clear view of the goods coming in, how they leave the terminals, and the associated customs declarations. Eric explains, “The great advantage of the IRP is that it provides more transparency throughout the entire inbound process.”
Eric is aiming to make the IRP an example case. It is a very large and important project for the sector, with significant added value for all parties involved. Eric states, “We can use the IRP to demonstrate that tackling such a large project collectively works. It may take a little longer than doing it alone as a company, but it’s less expensive and you get a lot in return.”
IRP is not mandatory but a logical choice for companies
PN/TS obliges companies to share much more data with customs than before, including data they do not have in their systems, which means that a company would have to establish many one-on-one connections via APIs. This therefore makes it is more advantageous, both in terms of cost and time, to join the IRP. Eric continues, “Wheth-
Within each project, TWF aims to find added value for each of these groups. This is not an exact science, of course, but there are several specific benefits, including for forwarders, in the case of the IRP. The main advantage is the rebuilding of the import consignment API.
The new import consignment API does a lot of automation for forwarders
Within the IRP, the plan is to rebuild the import consignment API. Forwarders know that this already exists with NxtPort, but it has limited added value, mainly because NxtPort does not have much data. Eric explains, “We will completely rebuild the import consignment API as part of the IRP, with a much larger dataset and status updates. This will allow the process to be automated, reducing the need for companies to enter data manually and enabling them to make declarations outside of their opening hours.”
Smaller companies will also gain more insight into their containers through the enhanced import consignment API, and transport planning will be made visible in the declaration process. From day one, the IRP will be of significant added value for forwarders.
For more information about ‘The Way Forward’ (TWF), or if you have any questions about the Inbound Release Platform (IRP), please attend the PN/TS and IRP information session on 21 September. ■
“ Everyone has to put aside their own interests for the common good, and that’s one of the biggest challenges for The Way Forward.”Eric Verlinden.
The Inbound Release Platform provides more transparency and improves security,” says Eric Verlinden, project manager for ‘The Way Forward’.
Have you heard about the theme for the FWC of 2023? This year we’ll be covering key challenges, innovations and the latest developments of logistics. We’ll call it “The Changing Climate of Logistics”. The congress starts at the 1st of October, and you’ll definitely want to be there. Here are 5 reasons why.
1) Meet the World Customs Organization and its expertise!
During the first 2 days of the congress, on the 1st and 2nd of October, you are invited to participate into different workshops and sessions about the various FIATA Institutes and Bodies. And as if that is not enough, there’s also a special session organized jointly with the WCO, the World Customs Organization, you’ll need to get inspired.
2) An illuminating hackathon
On October 3rd, the entire day will be dedicated to the future of our sector. Students and young professionals will take on all current challenges during the famous Hackathon. Think about brainstorms, creative ideas and solutions about climate goals, sustainable development, carbon neutral transport and sustainable logistics. At the end of the Hackathon, all teams will pitch their most brilliant idea, and afterwards the winner will be chosen carefully by a professional jury. Game on!
Oh, by the way, the day will be opened with an inspiring keynote by the one
5 reasons why you should join the FIATA World Congress
and only Elena Doms, who’s born in the Arctic and Kristof Cuadros Perez, a passionate keynote on the impact of climate change and the individual choices we can make.about sustainability. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this one!
3) A spectacular opening act & high-level speakers will blow your mind.
On October 4th, we’ll take off with the most spectacular opening act you’ve ever seen on an FWC. You’ll witness a beautiful performance of image, dance and music about a young girl whose dreams come true. Be prepared to wipe away a small tear along the way, because this show will definitely leave no one untouched.
After this performance, you can expect various high-level speakers to join the congress and talk passionately about their unique discipline. Just a small tip of the hat of who will join us: the secretary-general of the WCO, Jan Hoffman, Christian Clauwers, and many more.
4) 5 unmissable logistic trends
What about green logistics, ideal transport solutions or risk management? Those are just a few topics we’ll touch upon during this last day of the FWC. Through theme sessions and panel discussions, we’ll reflect on current trends you can’t ignore.
Here’s a quick overview of all the topics we will talk about:
■ The future of green logistics: CO2-neutral operations & initiatives.
■ How digitalization can help solve logistic matters: smart technologies, AI and cybercrime.
■ Navigating evolving transport needs: thinking about the ideal transport solution.
■ How to optimize risk management: an overview of all possible risks in logistics thanks to current trends, and how to solve them.
■ Forging different career paths in the logistics industry: refreshing and inspiring ideas from a real marketing specialist
5) Belgian entertainment on site
Since the congress is taking place in the heart of Belgium, we need to make sure you truly feel and experience Belgium as it is. That’s why we’ve taken care of real Belgian side entertainment. Expect things such as Belgian museums & attractions, a FIATA Gala Dinner in a museum of vintage cars, some of the most delicious Belgian specialties, Belgian art nouveau, comic strip art, Belgian fashion & design, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Magritte’s surrealism. And that all in just one congress… We told you; you’ll definitely want to be part of this year’s FWC. Register now and get inspired right away! ■
List of speakers at FIATA World Congress 2023
A whole host of internationally renowned speakers have already confirmed their participation. Many more will follow in the coming weeks!
A mix of expertise and regional representation will undoubtedly ensure engaging and informative sessions at the congress!
- Ivan Petrov, President FIATA
- Jef Hermans, President FORWARD Belgium
- Tia Meyvis, outgoing President Young FORWARD
- Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General WCO
- Jo Caudron, Transformation Strategist
- Jan Hoffman, UNCTAD Head of Trade & Logistics
- Margi Van Gogh, World Economic Forum, Head of Supply Chain
- Theo Notteboom, Professor University of Antwerp
- Ashwin Bhat, CEO Lufthansa Cargo
- Christian Clauwers, Climate Explorer
- Mike Yarwood, TT Club
- Mike Van der Zanden, Nike - DPW, Sustainability Manager - Smart Freight Centre
- World Shipping Council
- Ziegler, Xavier Vanwijnsberghe
- Stephane Graber, Director General FIATA
- Wim Gijbels, Essers
- ICC Banking Commission
- Global Shippers Forum
- Erwin Verstraelen CIO Port of Antwerp – Bruges
- Eye for Security
- Philippe Van den Bossch, UIC, International Union of Railways
- Jens Roemer, Sr. Vice President FIATA
- Joke Op Den Acker, Brussels Airport
- Brandon Fried, CEO Air Forwarders Association
- Dr. Wang Wei, lnstitute for Market Economy, Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), People’s Republic of China
- Wouter Verheyen, Professor University of Antwerp
- Michael Brown, Avalon Risk
- Werner Rens, Belgium Customs Administration
- Nicolas Collart, Customs Support Compliance
- Christa Sys, Professor University of Antwerp
- Catrien Scheers, CEO Fast Lines
- Carol Lamarque, CEO ChITA
- Daniela Smal, CEO Pro Africa
- Tej Contractor, Chair FIATA Information Technology
- Joost Sitskoorn, Evofenedex
- Angel Sanchez, President Panama Association
Join the FIATA World Congress 2023. Customise your programme!
You have the option to participate in the full congress programme or create your own customised programme. You can choose a day ticket for 4 October, which includes the spectacular opening ceremony and plenary session with numerous captivating keynote speakers. Alternatively, you can opt for a day ticket on 5 October, which includes various panel discussions covering the following topics: sustainability, compliance & risk management, modes of transport, digitisation & innovation, careers and employment.
If you are mainly interested in networking events, you have the opportunity to take part in the Belgian Night at the Comic Strip Museum and/or the Gala Dinner at Autoworld. For the Gala Dinner on Thursday 5 October 2023 at Autoworld, you also have the option to reserve a table for 10 people (cost: €1,500).
Register for the FIATA World Congress 2023 via the website https://fiata2023.com/. ■
Young FORWARD Belgium
In June 2023, the FORWARD Belgium Board of Directors appointed a new board for Young FORWARD Belgium.
Within the Young Board, we will continue to focus on informing, engaging and inspiring young professionals in our sector. We offer young people the opportunity to make contacts and exchange experiences, allowing them to expand their professional network and knowledge.
We organise activities for our members and will continue to host events such as the FORWARD Cup and FORWARD Academy. In doing so, we aim to explore other interesting topics beyond the logistics sector.
Young FORWARD Belgium also strongly promotes the logistics sector in education. We support initiatives that expose young people to our challenging industry.
On 3 October 2023, the Young Logistics Challenge will take place at the FIATA World Congress in Brussels, with a focus on “The Changing Climate of Logistics”. At Young FORWARD, we are looking forward to ensuring this event is a great success.
The logistics sector has a crucial role to play in climate change.
I work at Customs Support, where I have a varied role. My responsibilities include a wide range of tasks, mainly focused on optimising customs and logistics processes in a digitised context.
This includes onboarding and implementing partners, providing support for customs-related issues, managing the internal quality management system (AEO/ISO) within our organisation, and applying for (customs) permits. This ensures that both our own and our clients’ operations continue to function at the highest level of efficiency and reliability.
I find it fascinating to support different types of organisations – logistics companies, shipping companies, SMEs, international shippers, etc. – in their customsrelated/logistics activities. I also have the opportunity to contribute to European working groups and think about certain challenges we are facing face, such as CBAM.
Beyond my work, I love taking part in sporting challenges. You will find me playing football every week on the pitches at KSK ’s Gravenwezel-Schilde, a team in the Belgian First Provincial Division.Cédric Peeters President
Hello, I’m Cynthia.
An enthusiastic 23-year-old, working in the Customer Service Intermodal department at Haeger und Schmidt Logistics Belgium.
I grew up on a ship and have a background as a boatman’s daughter, which has given me a strong affinity with water and the maritime world. Besides my job, I have a passion for tuning cars, which is my creative outlet. I also take part in recreational Boxfit as my sporting outlet. I am determined and a team-player, always ready to contribute to a positive environment.Cynthia Clauwaert Vice President
Dear readers of FORWARD magazine, I am delighted to have the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Nicolas Lens, and although I studied Finance and Insurance, I quickly became fascinated by logistics, particularly in the field of freight forwarding.
I really enjoy being involved in every step, from cargo planning to arranging the appropriate modes of transportation. And being in close contact with different parties and applying negotiation techniques are real bonuses.
All this has taught me to be flexible, react quickly to changing circumstances, and think in a problem-solving way. I strongly believe in teamwork and the importance of open communication to achieve successful logistics solutions together.
As Operations Manager, I am able to combine my passion for logistics with my leadership and coaching skills, enabling me to increase customer satisfaction and make a positive contribution to the company’s success alongside my colleagues.
When it comes to sports, padel is my main passion, even though I’ve only been playing for a year. I introduced padel to Antwerp Cargo Movers last summer, and now we play every week with different colleagues. Padel is an extension of the teamwork we build on every day.
Looking at my career in logistics, I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and the growth I have already achieved. I am determined to keep developing myself, both professionally and personally. The biggest
challenges we face in our industry are in the field of digitisation. This transition will play a crucial role in the future of freight forwarding, and I am committed to contributing to this progress through my role at Young FORWARD Belgium. Strengthening a diverse network of young professionals will add to an increasingly better and more connected logistics world. ■Nicolas Lens Vice President
At FORWARD Belgium, we recognise the need for companies to find suitable and trained employees. To meet this demand, FORWARD Belgium now offers in-house supervision for its members, with practical in-house toolkits provided to address current topics.
1. A practical Toolkit for freight forwarders
In this toolkit, we take time to discuss current logistical and legal challenges with your employees, such as demurrage/detention discussions, relationships with various logistics partners, the legal status of the freight forwarder, general Belgian freight forwarding terms and conditions, basic customs
In-house supervision for FORWARD Belgium members
concepts, insurance, reporting suspicious shipments, etc.
2. A Toolkit for freight forwarders outsourcing their customs activities (internally or externally) Freight forwarders and logistics service providers who outsource their customs formalities are increasingly seen as ‘customs intermediaries’ with their own responsibilities in the customs process. The argument for customs formalities being outsourced to a professional customs representative no longer holds when it comes to avoiding all customs-related responsibilities. This toolkit, led by a practical expert, delves into the necessary practical basic customs knowledge
and associated risks, and discusses in detail the method of collaboration between the freight forwarder and the customs representative. Finally, it also addresses:
- The process for screening and accepting clients;
- Controls by the freight forwarder on their clients’ goods flows, including value and origin;
- The control system for customs declarations made by customs representatives;
- Training and professional competence.
You can find more information via the following link: https://forwardbelgium. be/toolkits
Using artificial intelligence to process customs claims faster, more error-free and more efficiently? The opportunity is here and now: check out Customaite.ai
Connect with us during these upcoming events:
15/9: AI Afterwork – Antwerp
3-6/10: Fiata World Congress – Brussels
”A year from now you may wish you had started today”