Southampton headquartered Meachers Global Logistics; one of the UK’s leading independent providers of logistics services, hosted a seminar in conjunction with HM Revenue and Customs, DP World Southampton and trade body British International Freight Association (BIFA) that tackled the complex subject of becoming an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) and its associated benefits.
AEO is a voluntary compliance and security standard that was introduced following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It helps to enhance supply chain security by granting recognition to organisations meeting the highest compliance standards in all aspects of their operations, and by encouraging continual best practice. HM Revenue and Customs operates three levels of accreditation: Customs Simplification (C), Security (S) and the two combined, Customs Simplification and Security Certification (F).
Over 30 organisations from across the region attended the event at which Clive Broadley, Managing Director of Meachers International Division provided a practical guide to applying for accreditation. He also told the seminar how AEO is likely to become an industry standard that will have a genuine commercial impact and highlighted how supplier tenders are already starting to stipulate AEO as a pre-requisite:
"One client, a global engineering giant, has stated that all of its suppliers will have to be AEO accredited if they wish to engage with the Company. Whilst we don’t think the standard will become mandatory we are confident that it will become an industry ‘badge’ that provides confidence to prospective partners and authorities, similar to having a Kite Mark. In achieving AEO, we demonstrate to our Clients our ability and intent to remain at the forefront of industry developments"
In addition, Peter Terry, Security Manager from DP World Southampton offered a perspective on AEO and security impacts from the point of view of Southampton Docks, whilst Robert Keen from BIFA explained how the standard affects the freight industry. Paul Carter, from HM Revenue and Customs provided background into the certification process.
Meachers Global Logistics gained Full Certification earlier this year. Full accreditation covers both Customs Simplification and the Safety and Security standards. This success follows an intensive period of inspection and audit by the HM Revenue and Customs AEO team.