Certifications-Free Zone

Safe Zone

The Safe zone is a voluntary certification built around established global standards. Free Zone accreditation is based on risk management, compliance management and a validation inspection by a vetted third party expert. From Prospect to Platinum certified, Free Zones can ultimately use this certification to apply for AEO status in accordance with relevant national customs administration.

How Safe Zone works – An Overview

The key elements of the Safe Zone program are

Voluntary application

    The Safe Zone process application process commences with:

    • A free zone operator meets the basic criteria for Safe Zone participation.

    • The submits application through world fzo Certifications hub website.

    • World FZO validates the basic criteria and, if applicable, sends a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to the applicant.

Safe Zone Self-Assessment Procedure

    The Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) is to be completed by the applicant and used to collect necessary data for later the risk assessment and the validation site inspection.

    The SAQ consists of fifty (50) questions covering the elements of the Izdihar Index:

      • Due Diligence and Risk Hazards (risks and programs) - 3 questions.

      • Trade Compliance (compliance/ noncompliance) - 7 questions.

      • Transparency and Code of Conduct (emergency preparedness and technology) - 8 questions.

      • Record keeping (meetings and auditing) - 7 questions.

      • Supply chain & security requirements - 12 questions.

      • General information - 11 questions.

      • Financial Viability - 2 questions.

    The Izdihar Index is the core instrument of the Free Zone of the Future (FZF) Program recently launched by the World FZO. The Izdihar Index is a tool that empowers any free zone, regardless of its type, size or scope, to fully realize their business potential. It helps free zones identify areas of weakness within their operational structure and measure their potential peak performance. The Index offers methods to chart a course towards that peak performance and turn it into standard operational practice.

    The Izdihar Index monitors 45 indicators of progress annually and places every free zone on a maturity curve. This maturity curve is a 5-stage graphical representation of a free zone's performance relative to its peak performance potential. The indicators are qualitative and measure a free zone's achievement in given fields every year. These indicators are used to tailor consultancy mandates for each free zone to progress on their journey to Free Zone of the Future status and the very top of the Maturity Curve.

    The applicant will perform a Self-Assessment using a formalized and structured electronic Self- Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) with a focus on compliance and security management processes. The purpose of the Self-Assessment is for the applicant to understand the Safe Zone program and to prepare for the standard required by World FZO to grant Safe Zone status. From this perspective, the SAQ is a guideline describing the level of compliance needed to receive Certificate level. The validator will use the data from the Self-Assessment together with the information gathered during the visit and other sources to perform a risk assessment. The SAQ is an important instrument for the applicant to prepare and for the validator to risk assess the applicant. The SAQ application is processed through the world FZO “certificationshub” website.

The Safe Zone Code of Conduct

    The Code of Conduct is the backbone of the Safe Zone validation process. The Code of Conduct consists of several recommendations that should be fulfilled by the free zone. We adopt the code of conduct of OECD. World FZO has decided to adopt the model Code of Conduct designed by the OECD as the Code of Conduct in Safe Zone. This allows optimal coordination and consistency in implementation. The Safe Zone program creates a framework with tools, instruments and supporting guidelines to enable the Code of Conduct to be implemented on the ground.

    Security Declaration

      • The Safe Zone Security Declaration is an instrument and supporting declaration/statement used to ensure that the operations of the Safe Zone and the operations of all the economic stakeholders within the free trade zone with whom the safe zone does business are compliant with the Safe Zone Code of Conduct.

    Validation Site Inspection

      • To ensure that the requirements of the Safe Zone model are fulfilled by the applicant, a site visit inspection is done by a internationally recognized third- party validator mandated by the World FZO to ensure that Safe Zone is understood and implemented. The validator uses the SAQ, desk reviews and pre- analysis to shape the control program of the visit.

    Safe Zone Validation Report

    • The validator creates a Safe Zone Validation Report with a recommendation as to whether the applicant is qualified for Level 1 Prospect Certification or Level 2 Platinum Certification of Safe Zone. Based on the report, World FZO’s Advisory committee decides to grant the status and the certificate.

Management, monitoring and revalidation

    As with any compliance management model, the validation is the start of the process not the end. The aim of the program is to encourage compliance and maintain and improve compliance over time for. Studies show that compliant companies are more profitable. World FZO has a mechanism through the designated contact person to manage and monitor Safe Zones. A partnership is created that enhances the business of those free zones involved in Safe Zone.

    Status is revalidated every two years to ensure continued compliance.

    Safe Zone participants failing to detect any incidents worth reporting (e.g. lack of compliance, intrusion, theft, various incidents) will be required to review and update their compliance management.