By Chris Ndibe
At the recently concluded World Free Zone Organization Conference in Barcelona, the President KGH Border Services, Lars Karlson, narrated how Free Zones can be an integrated as part of the secured Global Supply Chain.
According to Karlson, International Supply Chains are the platform for trade.
Driven by globalization as well as multilateral, regional and bi-lateral trade initiatives, increase trade between nations is a major contributor to development, particularly amongst low-income and developing countries.
Experts reasoned that increased trade also brings with it risks that must be managed.
whether these risks are in the form of potential terrorist threats, fraud or intellectual property crimes, it is important that international supply chains are secured and the risks properly managed.
World free zone organization, against this background, launched its Safe Zone Model based on international standards and drawing on best practices from around the world. The Safe Zone model aims to contribute to the security and integrity of international supply chains.
Using international standards and harmonization to manage the risk that emerge in international trade can lead to the creation of safe and secured end-to-end supply chains, extending from the manufacturer to the customer.
The safe model will create a new international standard for free zone operators and provide either Gold or Silver creditation to those free zones able to meet the model’s standards and criteria.
The model will allow free zones to integrate into secure supply global chains including those governed by bi-lateral or multi-lateral Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Mutual Recognition Agreements.
World Free Zone Organization maintained that free zones will be able to take advantage of the opportunities safe zone provides without companies losing the benefits they gain from operating in a free zone.
Safe Zone is a compliance management model based existing and standards, in particular the World Customs Organization’s SAFE framework of standards and Revised Kyoto Convention. This alignment means that Safe Zone certification can be used as a part of joining a new or existing Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme.
Once fully operational, the Safe Zone model will also allow risk incidents to be reported online to the Safe Zone database where they can be used to detect and address risk patterns and global trends in risk and compliance management.
In a time when there is increasing focus on the risks association with international trade, the Safe Zone Model provides a way for free zones to integrate into secure global supply chain programmes through the World Free Zone Organization.
It also provides a way for free zones to enhance their image and take advantages that free zones provide to international trade and to companies that operate in free zones around the world.