Feature, Freight News, Logistics, Business, Forwarding

Manchester customs agent opens Belfast office

[ December 9, 2021   //   ]

Manchester-based Avocet Clearance has expanded its services to Northern Ireland to help traders with the new declaration requirements following Brexit. The company has opened a city centre office in Belfast and appointed Patrick Stratford (pictured, right) to lead the team in Northern Ireland. He has worked with a number of local companies and has extensive knowledge of Northern Ireland trading procedures with the UK, EU and the rest of the world. 

Avocet says it has experienced a high uptake for its services since the implementation the Northern Ireland Protocol, and has increased its staff from two members to over 20 in less than 12 months. 

Holly Tonge and James O’Neill (left), who are both customs consultants by trade, founded Avocet Clearance when they identified a gap in the market for customs brokerage as the Brexit discussion ensued.

“We initially set up our office in Manchester concerned at how unprepared for the changes many traders were, and we now support over 600 clients across an array of industries, based in both the UK and Europe. It especially helped that we had experience in handling more complex consignments such as live animals and excise goods,” explained co-founder, James O’Neill.  

“When speaking to traders moving goods through Northern Ireland, we have found they are often very confused about their responsibilities, or how they are meant to go about fulfilling them in practice,” Holly Tonge added. In fact, she added: “We were shocked to hear that many importers are opting to pay unnecessary customs duties for fear of the consequences of non-compliance.”

Avocet Clearance says its experienced team removes the need for companies to try to navigate the complexities CDS, Chief or the Trader Support Service. 

Patrick Stratford said: “It has been highly rewarding taking the stress away from traders, who no longer need to worry about outstanding TSS declarations, or who were looking for alternative solutions to move goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland. We have also helped many importers save significant amounts of duty.”

Avocet can also arrange transport and origin or destination clearance across Europe.  It has also gained Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.