The UK has been hit with a “double-whammy” of issues with both Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. While it seemed doubtful for some time, and it was undoubtedly a long journey, the UK has now left the European Union. But how has this departure impacted the freight industry?
The freight industry encompasses a number of different areas, including shipping and transport. To simplify, many areas of freight are encompassed in logistics. So, what can we say about the effects of Brexit so far?
So, let’s first talk about the changes that have impacted the Freight industry, shall we? First of all, changes in customs have had a significant impact on British ports. This, in turn, has caused considerable backlogs to supply chains all across the UK.
News reports of empty shelves in supermarkets have been commonplace in the last few months. But supermarkets aren’t the only outlets feeling the effects. Many industries have struggled to get the goods they need.
While some reports claim these issues are more to do with staff shortages due to people self-isolating, this is likely just another additional problem on top of issues caused by Brexit. While this issue was predicted (to some extent), and experts are hopeful it will ease in time, it’s still quite the headache for many businesses that depend on freight from the EU.
The custom changes were brought in due to the end of the free trade agreement with the EU and Britain. Changes are pretty numerous, but to simplify, trade is now much stricter and involves more paperwork. Which means more checks need to be made that can slow the process.
Another big challenge brought on by these changes is the rising costs of freight. While rising costs of freight were again expected, many small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) were still caught by surprise due to the high prices and growing logistic challenges.
Many UK-based businesses had to either cut off sales to EU countries or found themselves being unable to get the products/ supplies they need from the EU to continue their standard business operations in the UK. This, in turn, caused numerous issues for SMEs.
Businesses across many industries lost money due to these rising costs and had their growth and development on an international level come to a halt. Logistic companies are predicting this is again an issue that will hopefully be eased over time.
However, this is unlikely to do much to ease businesses concerns right now. It’s also had a significant knock-on effect on many other industries outside of traditional retail establishments. A number of insulin suppliers in the UK, for example, stockpiled insulin to ensure they had enough to meet demand.
Finally, let’s look at transportation and how it’s been impacted by Brexit. Freight comes in many different forms, after all, doesn’t it including air, road, and sea? All these modes of transport have been affected by Brexit to one degree or another.
Increased mandatory border checks have been a big problem for on the road freight. While sea and air freight still saw issues that have actually now become the preferred method of freight for many businesses.
Air freight, for example, has seen tremendous growth compared to January 2020. However, this, in turn, has caused further logistic problems as more businesses move to air freight. Additional restrictions due to COVID-19 have made the issue of transportation more time-consuming and challenging as well.
Will Annand, the Manufacturing Account Manager at Trident Worldwide, gave a fascinating insight into this issue, saying that: “changes in documentation” and “not providing the correct information causes huge delays, and in some cases, penalties from customs, which is affecting businesses massively.”
But.. it’s not all doom and gloom
At Perform Logistics, we have been busy over the last year and a half, getting things inline for transportation of freight between the UK and Europe post Brexit, so that we can continue to provide the most cost effective and time efficient solutions.
- ETSF customs bonded warehouse – which means we can carry out the customs process in-house at our London Heathrow depot, avoiding delays and traffic at the border
- T1 transit guarantee – T1’s raised and discharged in-house for smooth road freight transport through European borders
- Imports/exports – all customs entries done in-house saving you time and money
- ATA Carnet application and processing services
We have agents and partners in all EU countries who are well versed in customs clearance procedures which significantly helps to speed up the process and gives us ‘feet on the ground’ should there be any issues.
So, you see, it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, Brexit has of course presented many challenges to overcome but with the right planning, advice and communication we can provide the service you need to meet your requirements. There will be, no doubt, more hurdles to leap and hoops to jump through as the withdrawal process continues, but we have the right products, process’s and team in place to keep your freight moving and your rates down.
If you are currently moving freight between the UK and Europe and experiencing issues OR planning to export/import to/from EU in the near future, please reach out to us for guidance. We’ll provide the most up to date advice and can work with you to find the solutions you need.
To keep up to date with the latest developments and changes, check out the official guidance from the UK government on – Transporting Goods Between Great Britain and The EU.