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            september 20, 2019

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HAFFA persuades IATA to ease costly bureaucratic burdens for forwarders


Hong Kong forwarders scored a goal in reducing a costly bureaucratic burden after talks with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that will reduce unfounded mandates and make air forwarding less expensive and difficult, according to the Shipping Gazette.
Gone are major burdens contained in the unloved Annual Financial Review (AFR) that requires air freight forwarders to establish the solvency if they chose to retain their status as IATA agents.
Speaking at the Hongkong Association Freight Forwarding and Logistics (HAFFA) annual spring dinner, chairman Paul Tsui said exemption from the AFR for local forwarders has all but been approved.
Said Dr Tsui: "Following numerous deliberations, a proposal to exempt Hong Kong IATA cargo agents from AFR implementation was submitted to the IATA FIATA [Federation Internationale des Associations de Transitaires et Assimiles] consultative council in February and it was duly endorsed and shall be recommended to IATA Cargo Services Conference for the final approval."
Under the old rules, accredited forwarders, IATA agents, were subject to annual examinations of their financial standing. "If any forwarder failed the assessment, IATA would collect an additional bank guarantee," he said.
HAFFA complained of the expense for the financial assessments and in some cases bank guarantees to IATA, saying "there was no fair reciprocal arrangement in return". (The current director general of IATA is Tony Tyler, the former CEO of Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways.)
A compromise was reached, he said. Forwarders in good financial shape were not required to pay for the bank guarantee and those needing one would only be obliged to submit it to IATA and not to each airline with which it did business.
This will soon fall under a Cargo Agency Modernisation Programme (CAMP), which resulted from the HAFFA-IATA talks, and is intended to standardise and replace current IATA resolutions now in force.
Dr Tsui also expressed satisfaction that IATA has recognised the HAFFA VTP Airfreight Module 1 and Module 2 training for accreditation and IATA agent renewal under its own cargo agency programme.
"That means members can now present their certificates of VTP Airfreight M1 and M2 to IATA as one of the required training certificates for IATA agents accreditation or agent renewal," he said.
"In addition, we shall also submit our VTP Airfreight Module 3 & 4 training material to IATA shortly for their endorsement and become the recognised IATA training course for supervisory and managerial training," said Dr Tsui.
Of a meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung, Dr Tsui reported that they developed an understanding on global security compliance, namely on the development of a common e-platform to facilitate information flow in Hong Kong, the need to introduce a transshipment ordinance and establish a mechanism of "co-location customs clearance at a bonded area in which Hong Kong freight logistics companies can perform customs brokerage for all import cargo to mainland China".

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