The trade association that represents UK freight forwarders and logistics service providers will be using the forthcoming Multimodal 2022 event to emphasise the benefits of using its members’ services.

Robert Keen, BIFA’s director general, says that as airlines and container shipping companies increasingly encourage shippers and beneficial cargo owners to deal directly with them, it has never been more important to explain why a relationship with a professional freight forwarding company is of much greater value.

He says: “During my 50-year career within the freight business, I have seen many attempts by market disrupters to challenge the existing status quo.

“Of late, we have seen several shipping lines refusing to agree contracts with freight forwarders in future, as they seek to work directly with cargo owners.

“Whilst we acknowledge that in a free market, that is perfectly legitimate, our advice to any cargo owner considering that approach is to tread very carefully, or you may be biting off more than you can chew.”

To support members and promote the benefits of using a freight forwarder, BIFA has now produced a booklet that helps members to present and explain to existing and potential customers the range of services on offer and the expertise required to oversee the movement of freight through the supply chain. BIFA says that many of these services and levels of expertise are unlikely to be on offer from airline and shipping companies.

Copies of the booklet will be available on the BIFA stand within its Forwarder Village, which was introduced at last year’s show and is again taking centre stage this year.

The BIFA Forwarder Village provides a networking marketplace where visitors to the show can learn more about the workings of the trade association; the benefits of being a member, whilst discussing their day-to-day freight forwarding requirements with actual BIFA members that have decided to take a presence in the marketplace.

In addition to BIFA’s exhibition stand, the Forwarder Village includes bespoke Logistics Services Provider Pods (Logpods) from which some BIFA members will be promoting their products and services to the significant number of shippers, cargo owners and other visitors that Multimodal attracts.

The trade association that represents the UK freight forwarding and logistics business is also using the event to demonstrate its ever-increasing portfolio of training services, which are now delivered both virtually and in-person, following the lifting of Covid-related restrictions.

This will include promotion of an online training course to help members to use the UK’s new Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

HM Revenue and Customs’ CDS will replace CHIEF in a phased transition ending in April 2023, and BIFA’s CDS – eLearning course, developed in conjunction with ASM (UK), provides hands on tuition, practical exercises and a technical resource, finishing with an assessment.

It is designed for those completing Customs declarations and BIFA plans to showcase the course at its stand and will demonstrate the main differences between CHIEF & CDS.

Over the past couple of years, much has been made of the supply chain ‘talent gap’, a pre-existing concern that was only exacerbated by Covid restrictions.

Many attendees at this year’s event, BIFA included, are doing their bit to rectify this state of affairs. In BIFA’s case, through its training department, its involvement in the ongoing development of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist Apprenticeship, its schools initiative and its Young Forwarder Network.

In fact there will be a meeting of the Young Forwarder Network at the BIFA stand on Day 2 starting at 14:30, during which existing and potential members, as well as other stakeholders will be able to meet and find out what the network offers.