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Lack of Brexit readiness understandable, says CH Robinson

[ January 14, 2021   //   ]

Not all UK businesses were as prepared for Brexit as they could have been, but this was understandable given the uncertainty created by trade negotiations going down to the wire, says CH Robinson Europe director of account management, Chris Mills.

Leaving the EU has placed an increased burden on supply chains thanks to new complex process and some major retailers have temporarily suspended shipments between Great Britain and Northern Ireland due, he says.

He predicts: “The impact on the logistics industry looks set to remain during 2021 and beyond. Tighter customs, more administration and additional duties have become a reality and it’s vital everyone involved in shipping understands the changes – and keeps on top of any future developments – to ensure the efficient movement goods.

While there are no import duties and quotas on general cargo between the EU and UK, import and export declarations need to be issued for crossing the EU-UK border.

Shipping to the UK (or EU) from a third country will not change and import duties will be charged. But when shipping to the EU from a third country and the import is done in the EU, moving the shipment onwards to the UK must be customs cleared. The UK will also charge import duties, because of the goods’ third country origin.

Non-EU companies registered in the EU for import/export activities who want to have the same options in the UK must now apply for a UK EORI/VAT number.

Mills concludes: “The new border between the EU and UK needs time to settle and the logistics world is quickly getting up to speed with what’s required of them. For example, there have been well-documented delays at ports, many as a result of incomplete or incorrect paperwork and entire consignments can be held up if only one item doesn’t have the correct customs forms. This is just one thing that piles on additional pressure on supply chains as parcels need to be returned to customers so the required data can be provided.

“Of course, not everything is going to be plain sailing from the outset and it’s going to take time to get used to the new norm. However, logisticians should take advantage of the raft of help and advice readily available to ensure the smoothest transition possible.”

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