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VOICE-OVER: In the Netherlands the Dutch company ‘Lanning’ imports cut-flowers for delivery to European supermarkets. The flowers are produced by regular business partners in Uganda. One of the partners of Lanning is ‘Rose Farm’, a grower near Kampala.
The production scheme of Rose Farm shows which orders will be processed today. When the roses are collected from the greenhouse, they are cleaned and wrapped in a large cool room. At the end of the day the orders are ready for transportation to the airport, from where they will be flown to the clients in cool-room conditions on board.
Rose cultivation depends greatly on good timing. The logistic process is set up so that the cut and wrapped roses spend minimum time outside the cool room conditions. This means that the transportation to the airport is done as late as possible.
The Phytosanitary Authority has to check the compliance with export regulations of consignments leaving the airport.
On arrival at the airport, the roses are transferred to a loading tray. During this process the roses are to be inspected. But because the available time is short, thorough control is hard to maintain. There is little time and space, and a rejected batch poses immediate problems.
Another problem is of administrative origin. The final data on a consignment develops during transferring and loading. The grower creates the first part of an application, but at the airport the shipping-agent will produce the final quantities and weights.
These and other problems can be solved with the introduction of an electronic system for applying and issuing certificates. Such a system…
will simplify the process. Accurate data on consignments are available instantly and for everone concerned. For the public authorities it is easier to keep track of shipments with the system, and applicants can be served faster. By working with a central system, information is always accurate and up-to-date. If a regulation is changed by a government official, it is available for everone concerned. What is more, with a direct delivery of data from one public authority to another (even internationally) fraud can be reduced. Documents en route cannot be interfered with.
The certification process itself can also benefit from the system.
Inspection arrangements with growers can replace part of the batch inspections. By inspecting growers on a regular basis, part of the certification process can be done in advance, so it will not interfere with the logistic process. Data on a shipment can be entered when it’s status is finalized. And the final certificate is issued only when necessary.
The core of the CLIENT system is a central database accessible to all users through a secure Internet connection. Depending on their level of access permission, users can view, edit and add data to the system.
Let’s first look at the administrator of the system, the Phytosanitary authority.
The Phytosanitary Authority registers the conditions all consignments should meet. The tab ‘Import regulations’ shows a list of all regulations.
Let’s look at the import regulations that apply to roses destined for the Netherlands. This list shows 24 active regulations. For each regulation details are available. This regulation for instance, demands that consignments should be free of the ‘Accleris’ moth. For each requirement, the possible safeguards are registered. Safeguards confirm that requirements are fullfilled.
In this example, the easiest safeguard is an official notice from the Ugandan authority that the moth does not exist in Uganda. If this safeguard is dropped, for instance because the moth is found, the system moves to the next safeguard.
In this case an inspection arrangement is the second best safeguard. This means that the Phytosanitary authority visits the grower on a regular basis, and inspects whether production meets requirements. If so, inspection arrangements can fullfill the requirements.
If this safeguard also fails, for example if the moth ís found at a production facility, the third safeguard applies: inspection of consignments. Of course the system can be extended with many safeguards such as company quality systems, EU-certification or third party declarations.
The tab ‘Pest-status’ shows the presence of organisms in the exporting country. This presence or absence can then be applied in several requirements and safeguards. This list shows that the Acleris moth –as mentioned in our example- is absent. If it is detected the Phytosanitary Authority can change the status, linked to a specific date. From this date on, all shipments with this requirement will need another safeguard.
The system also registers all inspection agreements and their status. If an organism that doesn’t belong there is found at a grower, the inspector can terminate the inspection arrangement. The grower will not be able to rely on the arrangement as a safeguard, and inspection of consignments will be needed.
The next user with access is the grower, in this case ‘Rose Farm’, the flower exporting company. This user has limited access and can only view and edit data that is relevant to its business.
This screen opens with contact information the grower can edit. This company has an inpection arrangement. Regular inspections by authority officals verify that listed organisms are absent on the production facilities.
The tab ‘Production Facilities’ shows the user the current status of the inspection arrangements. If an authorized official withdraws an arrangement, it’s shown here immediately.
At ‘Representation’ the grower keeps track of who’s authorized to complete shipping data. In this case ‘Fresh Handling’ is authorized as shipping-agent. This list shows the current applications and their status. Now, the grower will apply for a new export certificate. Here, he can choose from previous product – destination sets or apply for a new combination. Information about the sender is automatically entered. After that, the addressee data is entered.
Apart from approximate tranport data, the applicant enters the expected arrival at the airport, for possible inspection. In this way, the Phytosanitairy Authority keeps track of all consignments, even if they are not inspected.
In the next step a description of the content of the consignment is entered. The quantities are finalized at the airport, but the grower enters which types will be send, and roughly in which quantities. Now the inspection authorities can decide which consignments should be inspected.
This screen shows the list of requirements the consignment should meet, and their safeguards. Some safeguards are provided by the Ugandan authorities, other requirements are safeguarded by an inspection arrangement. For this consignment all reguirements are met.
This overview shows all information for the application.
By choosing ‘Apply’ the request for a certificate is forwarded to the Phytosanitary authority.
In the list of current applications an entry is added for this consignment. The status column shows that the consignment is compliant with all requirements. Only the consignment details need to be completed, but this will be done at the airport. As soon as it is applied for, the request is system wide available. The inspector receives the request and can review the details.
When the inspector logs on, his personal to-do list is shown with all current requests. The most recent request is the one just added by ‘Rose Farm’. For each request all details are available. Another list shows only consignments that should be inspected. So there is a list with all consignments, and the inspector knows which should be inspected.
The shipping-agent at the airport is authorized to complete the request. With his access code the shipping-agent is limited to view and edit an even smaller area. Sections the grower entered cannot be edited. On transfer to a loading tray the consignment is weighed and finalized, since airport traffic planning could influence the possible quantities. Now the flight number is also available and entered. Consignment data is now complete.
The status of this request is now adjusted. The certificate is ready to be issued. As soon as the grower or shipping-agent visits the inspectors office, the certificate can be endorsed. In the inspectors log the status is also adjusted. This screen with details shows all data entered by the grower and shipping-agent. When the inspector confirms the export certificate, the data is fixed and filed. Data relevant to the certificate is stored in XML-format. In this way the data can be available for the authorities of the importing country. The grower could also use this data for his trade administration.
By only showing the entered data, it can be added to pre-printed certificates. The complete form can also be requested. The certificate will then show as if printed. The data can also be made available for other public authorities such as customs and chambers of commerce.