UK association: Illegal stowaways threaten future of cross channel freight
The trade association that represents companies responsible for handling much of the UKs visible trade...
The trade association that represents companies responsible for handling much of the UK’s visible trade is warning that a significant recent increase in would-be illegal immigrants attempting to stowaway on trucks passing through the Calais Eurotunnel terminal and ferry port is causing major problems and threatening the future of cross channel trailer services.
Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said whilst the trade association’s members tend to be truck hirers, rather than operators, they are reporting increasing difficulties being caused by the growing numbers of illegal immigrants attempting to board trucks heading for the UK.
He said: “Over the years, we have become accustomed to seeing chaotic pictures in the media, but the recent scenes are the worst we have ever witnessed. Our members’ cross channel trailer services are being directly targeted by the migrants putting the security of drivers, vehicles and customers’ loads at risk. This can cause long delays to the scheduled arrival times of trucks in our members’ depots, jeopardise the delivery of freight for their customers and cause huge inefficiencies in their transport planning.
“Without action now from the authorities in France and the UK, I believe there is a good chance that if the situation continues, international transport sub-contractors will start to refuse to operate on the Continent-UK cross channel market, due to the personal and financial risks that they and their staff are now taking.”
“With ever-increasing traffic between continental Europe and the UK, we are pressing the authorities to step up their protection of the routes across the Channel and fulfil their obligations to let trade move unhindered before serious damage is done to this strategic freight route.”
BIFA has always encouraged its members to take strong measures to secure their vehicles from the start of their journey to the Calais area and urged their drivers to stay vigilant and accountable for their trucks and loads.
The association has welcomed the news that Eurotunnel has converted its existing terminal parking area into an extended pre check-in zone in order to provide increased security for approximately 150 additional trucks on site.
The trade association is also pleased that later this year, Eurotunnel will be opening extended terminal facilities and a new secure truck park, which should further reduce the ability of migrants to climb aboard vehicles.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.