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International Forwarding Association Blog » European Logistics

European Logistics

Regulations and Challenges when Shipping from Europe to Africa

If it is the first time you’re shipping from a European to an African country, there can be a level of uncertainty and unfamiliarity involved. Different countries have imposed different customs rules and regulations, with some challenges like strict regulatory regimes on imported goods.   Technical Regulations A number of countries across Africa have imposed import regulations, including Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Botswana, among others. The main idea of establishing regulations is to ensure product quality and protect the plant, animal, and human health and life. Under the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement, states have the right… Read more

Guide to Shipping Antique Items

Antiques are among the most valuable items that customers ship, whether bought from specialized dealers, auction houses, or flea markets or passed down through generations. As they have а financial and sentimental value, leaving them behind or selling them is usually not an option. And whether shipping for individual customers, estate distributors, auction houses, or dealers, there are some details to consider when moving antiques long distances.   Types of Antiques Freight forwarders ship a wide range of antique items, including dressers and chests, curio cabinets, secretary desks, and mirrors. Other items include: Glass and porcelain items Family heirlooms Clocks… Read more

Shipping Companies Outsourcing Non-core Capabilities to Focus on Their Core Expertise

A recent survey by Deloitte reveals that 59 percent of shipping companies are in the process of acquiring new core capabilities, while a similar share (60 percent) of carriers are looking to outsource their non-core capabilities. According to the study, these processes could complement each other, with shippers outsourcing support functions while building or expanding their core capabilities.   Core Functions Core capabilities include processes such as order fulfilment, warehouse management, transportation scheduling, safety, workforce and demand planning, and portfolio planning. Currently, the majority of shippers are looking to add new capabilities so that their services and operations align with… Read more

Sea freight in Europe

The Shipping Industry Is Lagging Behind on Embracing AI

Artificial intelligence can provide forwarders with an opportunity to enhance their decision-making capacity. Data transmitted by commercial vessels, for example, can be used for predictive guidance and performance monitoring, enabling businesses to forecast greenhouse gas emissions. This is a way to lower emission levels and ensure carbon transparency. Other implementations include automated processes, improved scheduling, real-time analytics, and so on.     To leverage AI, however, international freight forwarders should take multiple factors into consideration, including the legal framework guiding artificial intelligence. One particular challenge to implementation, especially for shippers operating in both EU member states and the UK is… Read more

Logistics Branches

Logistics Branches: From Production to Recycling

Logistics can be divided into a number of branches, each with its functions and specifics. The main branches are production, procurement, sales, and recovery logistics. These functional areas cover a wide range of activities such as packaging, transportation, inventory control, storage and distribution, materials handling, and order processing, to name a few.     Production Logistics Production logistics involves a wide range of processes, among which the execution, control, and planning of storage and transport for finished, semi-finished, spare, and purchased parts as well as operating, auxiliary, and raw materials. The goal is to ensure an efficient and smooth flow… Read more

Warehouse Automation to Maintain Social Distancing and Increase Productivity

Warehouse automation is a major trend amidst a coronavirus pandemic that already entered its second year. The resulting global recession and lockdowns across the world brought industrial activity to a near halt. As manufacturers began to gradually reopen and resume operations, forwarders throughout Europe found themselves faced with multiple challenges – e-commerce logistics, a growing demand for essential commodities, restricted mobility, and social distancing. As a result of all this, logistics providers have been forced to seek ways to optimize resource use, shorten loading and shipping times, and increase productivity. Many companies turned to warehouse automation in an attempt to… Read more

Trends That Will Transform the Logistics Industry in the Post-Covid-19 Era

With vaccines receiving regulatory approval for roll out by national authorities, hopes are high that the pandemic is slowly coming to an end. It has been a difficult year, however, with millions of people hard hit by restrictions, lockdowns, and school closures. Many industries have been affected as well and are still struggling to recover while others shut down. It is safe to say that the European logistics industry has been hit like many others and is continuously adapting to meet safety protocols and current demand.    What we are likely to witness is small businesses disappearing, rising prices, and… Read more

Logistics Challenges to Mass Immunization

If the vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech gets approved, distribution and storage requirements can pose a significant challenge to mass immunization. Pfizer and BioNTech just announced that their vaccine is over 90 percent effective but must be transported at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Demand would be significant and immediate and far exceeding what manufacturers are able to supply.Distribution not only involves specialized transportation but shippers would also be involved in transporting the vaccine.   Distribution within EU Manufacturing plants in Belgium and Germany would produce the vaccine for EU Member States. If Pfizer and BioNtech secure regulatory authorization, deliveries could… Read more

EU Regulations on Goods Subject to Shipping Restrictions

Shipping restrictions vary by country and may apply to items such as explosives, combustibles, firearms, and corrosives, which are subject to special controls. In the European Union, restricted or prohibited goods fall in three categories – pirated or counterfeit goods, dangerous chemicals, and endangered species.      Dangerous Chemicals Hazardous chemicals that are subject to authorization are listed in Annex XIV to Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 (REACH). The list of hazardous goods includes items such as diarsenic trioxide and dibutyl phthalate which are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction. Some items cannot be shipped and placed on the market, whether for… Read more

Requirements and Documents to Transport Agricultural Produce

Earth population growth is not expected to slow down over the next 80 years, making global sourcing the key to meeting growing demand for agricultural products. Producers, farmers, and growers market and sell commodities that are shipped to different parts of the world. There are import requirements, regulations, and guidelines, however, that EU freight forwarders must be familiar with.   DocumentationPhytosanitary Certificate To import agricultural produce, operators submit phytosanitary certificates for plant materials and fresh vegetables and fruits. The certificate guarantees that the produce meets EU plant health requirements, is free from pests, and has been duly inspected. Plants for… Read more

EU Regulations on Shipping Alcohol, Perishable Goods, and Other Regulated Commodities

Free movement of goods and people is a core value of the European Union, but this doesn’t mean that everything can be shipped. To ensure that small shipments and cargo pass customs, it is important to become familiar with the conditions under which items can be shipped between EU Member States. Alcohol The rules for shipping alcohol are different for individuals and businesses. In most EU countries, individuals are not allowed to send alcohol, whether by courier service or by post. Authorized online shops are permitted to ship light alcoholic beverages or they can be shipped as freight. Only authorized… Read more

U.S. Travel Ban and Its Impact on the Logistics Sector

US President Donald Trump suspended all travel from and to Europe on 13 March, and many European logistics providers wonder whether cargo will be affected.   What Trump Said about Cargo Initially President Trump announced that the restrictions also apply to cargo shipped from Europe to the United States. He then tweeted to say that the suspension does not apply to freight and trade and only to people. He also clarified that the free flow of goods between the EU and U.S. is an economic priority. His initial comment that cargo falls under the travel ban caused anxiety and confusion… Read more

Regulations and Guidelines for Safe Waste Shipping

Waste is shipped by sea, railway, and road transport across borders, and the goal is final disposal or recycling. Hazardous waste is also shipped from generator sites to processing facilities that can store, treat, and recycle shipments. Regulations In the European Union, freight forwarders that are shipping waste are subject to the ADR and IMDG regulations, EU Directive 1013/2006, and the Basel Convention Regulations. Directive 1013/2006 states that all shipments must take place in such a way as to protect human health and the environment. The directive governs shipments in transit, to and from third countries, and between EU Member… Read more

Shipping Specifics for Beauty Products

Demand for beauty products is constantly on the rise, including shower and bath products, deodorants, sun care, fragrances, and oral, skin, and hair care. What Counts as Cosmetics Beauty products that help alter or enhance appearance count as cosmetics. This category includes a wide range of products such as face masks, hair dyes, makeup, perfumes, shampoos, and hair sprays. European logistics companies also ship products such as putties, styling gels, mousses, whitening products, mouthwashes, and toothpastes. Packaging Adequate packaging is important when shipping beauty products and includes cushioning materials, thermal bubble wrap, and cardboard boxes. Leak-proof, sealed containers are usually… Read more

How Brexit Reshaped European Logistics

The Brexit deal is already a fact and transforming the logistics supply chain across Northern Europe. While retailers and consumers expect fast and efficient fulfillment of orders, movement of goods across borders may lead to delays in stock replenishment. What Brexit Means for Forwarders During the transitional period, freight forwarders may need to obtain international road haulage permits (ETCM permits) for some shipments. Such permits are valid when presented together with a certificate of roadworthiness, certificate of compliance, or ETCM logbook. All drivers are required to carry a GB sticker and vehicle logbook when travelling abroad. Other documents to bring… Read more

Technology Trends Transforming the Logistics Sector

While many freight forwarders still use low-tech solutions and manpower, more and more services providers adopt advanced solutions to meet ever-rising standards and expectations. Here are some of the tech trends that are quickly transforming the logistics industry. Blockchain Technology for Increased Automation Many services providers have embraced blockchain technology because of advantages such as improved accident management and better accountability and transparency. Advanced solutions help businesses to automate processes, reduce costs, save time, and enhance transaction flows. This results in secure supply chains at all levels. Leveraging blockchain distributed ledger technology enables businesses to store data by different indicators,… Read more

Logistics Robots Are Increasingly Used for Improved, Efficiency and Accuracy

Robots are increasingly used by European logistics companies because they help automate processes and improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Logistics robots are mostly used in storage facilities and warehouses to move, store, and transport goods. Recent Developments and Future Trends According to the World Robotics 2018 Service Reports by the International Federation of Robotics, in 2017 alone, some 69,000 logistics robots were installed in storage facilities. This is an increase of over 160 percent compared to 2016. Experts predict that businesses will purchase a total of 485,000 units between 2019 and 2021. While in 2017 some 80 percent of storage facilities… Read more

Largest and Busiest Cargo Hubs in Europe

The busiest airports and ports in Europe handle large quantities of cargo thanks to their advanced technologies and strategic location. Some of the largest cargo hubs serve more than 400 destinations and ensure reliable and safe transport. International freight forwarders ship parcels and cargo from major ports and airports such as the Heathrow Airport, Brussels Airport, Port of Rotterdam, and Port of Antwerp. European Airports Heathrow Airport has a cargo hub that processes some 1.3 million tons a year, and the goal is to reach 3 million tons in 20 years. BA World Cargo is found at the airport and… Read more

Cargo Shipping, Benefits, Coverage, and Premiums

Cargo insurance protects loads against risks such as theft, damage, loss, and other incidents. Unpredictable weather and local conditions, infrastructure quality, and policies and regulations make shipping and handling of cargo more complex. To this end, insurance helps protect cargo in storage and transit by compensating for the value of loads. Why Purchase Insurance The main reason is that the liability of shipping lines, airlines, and other carriers is limited. This means that compensation may be significantly lower than the value of goods in transit. Customers that opt for insurance coverage are offered compensation for the cost of damaged or… Read more

The serious challenges which European logistics managers are facing every day

The majority of the logistics managers from the European Logistics Network are faced with multiple challenges and need to multi-task on a daily basis. This is partly due to the boost of international trade and the increasing demand for timely, cheap and reliable international freight forwarding services but there are many other problems which need to be resolved each and every day. Here are some of the main challenges which the managers from IFA are currently facing. Improvement of customer service Proper logistics management is all about supplying the proper quantity of the right goods or cargo to the right… Read more