In recent months, we have begun to see the impact of Brexit in our industry & the impact it has not only on us as, freight forwarders and logistics professionals but even more so on shippers. As an example, I organised a shipment of kitchenware for a shipper in the UK, for import at a hotel restaurant in Mallorca. Despite successfully importing goods from the UK after Brexit, on this occasion the importer was unable to clear the goods through Spanish customs due to the lack of a health certificate & they were unable to obtain one due to not having an import permit.
Of course, it is the importers responsibility to ensure they have the correct procedures worked out well in advance but it just shows how even regular importers are being caught out by new complications in UK-EU trading relations.
Another aspect of UK-EU trade is simply the delays that are now caused. This is being seen in both road & air in particular. According to Royal Mail’s website, “items are leaving the UK for all other destinations on time, but they are experiencing delays to a number of EU countries as a result of new customs processes and ongoing COVID-19 measures”. Similarly, by road, there are many trucks that try to avoid coming into the UK where possible as drivers don’t want to be stuck so they’re accepting shipments within the EU where possible at the expense of UK-EU shipments.
Some shippers have also reported that they are finding it difficult to obtain clearing agents in the UK for EU to UK shipments. This is largely a result of customs agents being overworked and unable to take on new clients. Once again, this is another factor that is causing delays and disruption to trade.
In summary, we are still only just over half a year into posthow this will continue to impact UK-EU trade going forward. Hopefully, as customs procedures become more familiar and shippers/importers are clearer on what they require prior to moving their cargo, then things should begin to smooth out. What we do not know yet is how much of a long term impact on UK-EU trade Brexit will have and whether EU shippers will source their goods from different European markets where possible for cost & efficiency benefits.
We shall continue to follow closely & eagerly.
Director – Andrews Shipping & Forwarding LTD