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Defining Cross-Border Logistics

A globe on a desk in front of a bookshelf

Academics and researchers love to define things. It helps delineate where one subject begins and the other ends.

This is not always easy, especially when considering the interdisciplinary nature of my subject. Nevertheless, I will give it a try….

As a starting point let’s assert that much of the logistics and supply chain management literature concerns itself with the forces that govern and control the physical movement of goods (including materials) within companies and production systems, and the operational strategies that improve a firm’s competitive standing by addressing the challenges associated with the efficient flow of those goods.

Cross-border logistics focuses on the specific challenges associated with border management and operations, applicable control and compliance requirements, and the regulatory environment which gives shape to those control and compliance requirements.

The subject is thus linked to trade and customs policy, law, the use and application of modern technologies, prevailing administrative arrangements, and all the efforts that seek to simplify, harmonize and standardize applicable procedures.

Improved control outcomes and reduced regulatory burdens go hand in hand. Effective border management is about how various stakeholders within the cross-border environment work together in order to improve operational outcomes.

Inevitably, this also includes how relevant stakeholders inform, shape and apply governing policy and regulations.

A key objective is trade facilitation, which seeks to cut red-tape in international trade, from the top-down by adopting best practice measures within the framework of applicable trade and customs agreements; and the bottom-up by seeking solutions to frictions experienced by business operators and border agencies in their interactions.

Apart from seeking to improve control outcomes for the administrations, trade facilitation very much seeks to ensure that compliant businesses are able to ship their goods across borders with predictable control outcomes, without due delay, and with maximum ease.

Cross-border logistics touches upon supply chain management in many ways. For example, good border management practice increasingly seeks to extend control from the border to suppliers and end customers – often referred to as “supply chain security”.

Another touchpoint is the impact of trade tariffs and frictions (i.e. lack of trade facilitation) between officials and business operators upon the cost of supplies. Such costs affect supply chain procurement, configuration and location decisions.

For government agencies, efficient border management and trade facilitation is important because smooth cross-border logistics operations ensure the best use of inspection resources whilst minimizing the regulatory burden upon businesses. It encourages good compliance behaviour, a healthy business environment and provides for a wide range of social and economic benefits.

In my book, Cross-Border Logistics Operations, I have sought to elaborate on all the above by taking into account the demands placed upon business operators and the border agencies within the context of prevailing trade and customs policy.

This book, as highlighted by some of the reviewers, is a first of its kind and an essential resource for those seeking to become familiar with the subject. It is also suitable for readers at home in the subject, but in need of a summary overview.

The beauty of books is that there is always scope for updates and follow-on publications. Feedback and dialogue about the subject and the need for supporting literature is always very welcome. Please reach out via this blog or my company’s website.