SITPRO Simplifying International Trade

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Securing the Supply Chain

Increasing emphasis has been placed on the need to secure borders and protect the trade supply chain against threats after terrorist incidents around the world. Simultaneously, there has been a shift of focus by regulators from threats to trade to threats from trade. As a result, globally there has been the introduction of a number of new national and international security measures.

Security is similar to safety, but with added emphasis on protection from dangers originating from terrorism and organised crime. As a technical term, security means not only that something is secure but also that it has been secured: a condition resulting from the establishment and maintenance of protective measures that aid to safeguard a state from hostile actions and/or influences.

SITPRO conducted a survey to gain an overview of the kinds of burden and challenges security measures have placed upon business in the last five years. The survey asked six wide-ranging, though not detailed, questions covering a number of immediate concerns as frequently expressed by the trading community. Responses were received from approximately 70 companies across the international trade sector: freight forwarders, agents, airlines, airline cargo handlers, ferry services, port authorities and road hauliers. This report collates these responses.

Although a burden, industry has to comply with security legislation to enable their business to function. Within that process, Government has a clear responsibility to ease that burden and SITPRO is making three recommendations for improvements.



Sources of Information


Influencing Factors

Factors influencing business practices and security thinking include:

Case Studies

Freight Forwarder

Number of Employees: 10

Ships 200 containers per month @£14 per container security charge £2,800 per month
£33,600 per year
Ships 80,000 kilos of airfreight per month @ £0.09 per kilo "cargo known" charge £7,200 per month
£86,400 per year

Port Authority

Number of Employees & Contractors: 200

Security Operating Costs 4% of operating budget up from 2% over the last 5 years
Security Charges Passed on to the Customer by form of unit dues, i.e. per car, trailer etc., or as a lump sum


Number of Employees & Contractors: 125

Security Operating Costs Increased costs due to employing additional security guards, CCTV and enhancing security airside with security cages etc.
Security Charges Passed on to the customer in the form of cargo known charge @ £0.07 per kilo.
The airline has always charged a security fee at a rate of £0.05 per kilo

Global Logistical Supplier

Number of Employees & Contractors: 400

Security Operating Costs Increased costs due to additional security equipment
Additional Costs £10,000

Food Importer/Exporter

Number of Employees & Contractors: 70

Increased Security Admin Costs £30,000 - Increased costs due to additional checks conducted by staff to ensure that the company is not being overcharged for security.
Additional Security Costs $10 per USA inbound container
$6 per Far East inbound container
€9 per container to Germany
£14 per outbound container

SITPRO’s Recommendations

Availability of Information

Keeping up to date and understanding security legislation is a vital aspect of trade intelligence, which is currently obtained from a variety of sources. The UK is currently developing an International Trade Single Window (ITSW) to provide cross-departmental information and guidance, tools and links related to international trade regulation, through one information portal. SITPRO recommends that all information pertaining to security-related measures be incorporated into the ITSW to meet traders’ information needs.

Consultation with HM Government

Trade benefits from having a close working relationship with HMG specifically the Department for Transport/ Transec, which is seen as the key department on security matters. The trade feel that it is vital for them to be involved in consultation about the movement of freight to avoid confusing announcements, fragmented information or unintended consequences. SITPRO recommends that consultation levels with the relevant departments, particularly DfT/Transec operates at an optimum level to ensure that all parties can function efficiently and effectively.

Improving Competitiveness

The survey has highlighted the emerging costs of security for trade, which are ultimately passed onto the customer and affect the competitiveness of UK business. SITPRO recommends that steps are taken to reduce the overall cost of security on the trade by: eliminating the duplication of data; the timely development of an ITSW; and reducing the number of agencies the trade have to deal with through a co-ordinated approach to border management.

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