UK logistics body champions AEO status for shippers

20 / 06 / 2017

The UK's Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) is encouraging all companies involved in the supply chain to become an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), in order to ensure that Britain operates "frictionless borders" after it leaves the European Union (EU) or 'Brexit'.

Following the EU Referendum in the UK last summer, CILT has been working to present issues, solutions and advice regarding the practical implementation of a frictionless border for goods to the EU and the rest of the world.

CILT has noted a rise in the question ‘Do you hold AEO status?’ being on the list for preferred supplier listing and tenders. The institute is now urging British government and the profession to "wake up to the advantage" of being an AEO.

AEO status is, said CILT, "an internationally recognised quality mark indicating that your role in the international supply chain is secure, and that your customs controls and procedures are efficient and compliant".

In May 2017 only 568 companies in the UK held AEO status and CILT is "championing" AEO certification to aid its members to gain "competitive advantage, recognition for professional competence and trouble free border crossings".

Kevin Richardson, CILT chief executive, said: “It is an absolute necessity that companies throughout our supply chain start to adapt to become Authorised Economic Operators.

"AEO status is crucial to achieving the smooth transition of borders to market when we leave the European Union. The more Authorised Economic Operators we have operating in the UK, will help ensure a successful Brexit and beyond.”

The institute is now raising awareness of the importance of becoming an AEO and that companies should press forward and attain the status before Brexit, so that they can take advantage of the benefits available now, and that they are also best placed to gain benefits post-Brexit.

Richardson added: “The focus of CILT’s position on behalf of members to the UK Government is very much about keeping trade flowing across our borders post-Brexit. We believe that AEO status should give companies that have demonstrated their commitment to security in the supply chain, access to what would, in effect, be a green lane through UK ports and airports.

“Holding AEO status is going to be key to experiencing the frictionless border that industry wants and needs post-Brexit. Only AEOs will be trusted to be self-policing and sufficiently knowledgeable to be granted such ease of movement. Non-AEOs will undoubtedly get left behind and disadvantaged.”

The route to becoming an AEO certified operator is an extensive and detailed process, with approximately 95% of AEO applications failing. CILT said that it will offer support, training and guidance to help operators understand AEO and assist them through the rigorous AEO application.

Susan Morley FCILT, ‎Director, Morley Consulting Training Limited, and Chair, Customs and International Trade Compliance Forum, CILT, says: “The application process takes months not weeks and companies need to prepare prior to submitting their applications. Now is the time to get started.”