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Parcels firms ‘struggling to cope’ with new customs rules

[ January 12, 2021   //   ]

Brexit delays and costs are escalating rapidly, warns the international courier services expert ParcelHero. The parcel comparison site says couriers and retailers are now struggling with the burden of customs clearances, with 20% of parcels and the same proportion of trucks being stopped at some ports.
It said that after quiet first few days in January, border issues suddenly rocketed towards the end of last week (8 January), leading to many returned parcels and lorries being turned away by customs.
Head of consumer research, David Jinks said that delays and increased costs are beginning to hit shoppers and retailers and the situation is likely to get worse as trade increases post-holidays.
“Senders are struggling to come to terms with tariff codes and a host of other new requirements. Both individuals and companies now need to fill in new documentation including detailed item descriptions and the reason for sending their parcel. Traders also have to include details such as EORI numbers, proof of origin and tarif codes. As a result, one of ParcelHero’s courier partners revealed on Friday it was seeing up to 20% of its parcels being sent with incorrect or incomplete data attached. The company had to return all these parcels and, due to the escalating problems, suspended all its European road services.
He added that theRoad Haulage Association said that one in five trucks was being turned away from the Dover-Calais crossing while ferry company DFDS that a large volume of vehicles were being refused and delayed at the Ports of Calais, Dunkerque and Dover, due to incorrect paperwork being presented at check-in.
Marks & Spencer also complained of “very complex administrative processes” and that increased red tape would significantly impact its business.
Moreover, Jinks added, while French customs said they were taking a light touch last week, they would be considerably stricter from now on.
But he added that most express parcels handled by international couriers are sent to the EU by airfreight rather than surface and so far, these services have been less affected by delays and airport customs are not currently as stretched as those at ports.
Nevertheless, most international couriers have introduced an additional surcharge on all shipments between the EU and the UK, averaging around £4 and with higher fees for heavier packages.
Another looming issue are parcels shipped to Northern Ireland. While yhe UK Government has granted a three-month grace period on the need to complete customs declarations, some GB retailers have already suspended sales to Northern Ireland in anticipation of further red tape.

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