It's now only 80 days before we leave the European Customs Union.
From all of the conversations we're having with importers, exporters and the industry communications we're seeing, we're getting the very strong feeling that UK importers and exporters (particularly the small-medium sized customers or SMEs) aren't prepared for BREXIT. It could be because they''re distracted by COVID-19 or that they are hoping for the elusive "deal" to be agreed, but they need to make certain preparations regardless (deal or no deal) as we'll have a Customs border from 1-Jan as will the EU.
Because we become so involved with importers and exporters in the course of our Freight Reviews, Freight Management and Customs Compliance work, and have over the last 11 years, we know that many companies find the freight and Customs acronyms, so-called "logistics speak" to be a big turnoff, and they often expect their freight forwarder to "sort it out" for them and no doubt many will be thinking something similar now.
Thing is, the BREXIT changes have wider impacts than freight forwarding, there are other areas which will be impacted, and there are actions only you, the importer or exporter can take, but not many companies have fully digested this, and it's understandable.
So we thought, let's take a helicopter view of the post-BREXIT landscape, map out everything which will be affected, Customs, freight, pricing, delivery times and translate it into plain English (as much as is possible) and then share it with our customers, some of whom do use us to manage their EU imports/exports (although that's not been our main focus, most appoint us to review and then manage their non-EU traffic eg imports from Asia/US as this has hitherto been more complicated and offers more opportunity to reduce cost and improve performance).
Our pdf guide is free to download from the homepage of our website, summarizes the BREXIT situation as it is today and is split into 2 sections, so importers and exporters can use the bespoke guidance. We've had some very positive feedback from our customers since we sent out the guide and we also had our bulletin featured by the UK's leading daily logistics publication, Lloyds Loading List on 9th October who were very interested in what we'd done.
So that's it really, it may not be perfect but I am confident it will help you cut through the confusion and help you to protect your business, it may even give you a competitive advantage, pretty vital in these challenging times!
Anyone working in (or using) international logistics since March, be they importers, exporters, freight forwarders, airlines or container shipping lines will agree it’s been a really tough time. Rates spiraling, flight schedules evaporating (think USA and China), stretched operations due to furlough, everyone under pressure. From our side, we’ve been in the trenches working alongside them, keeping the shipments moving for our UK customers, it’s been all hands to the pumps. Having worked in freight forwarding operations for 10 years at the start of my career, I have truly felt for the staff on the front line (I even suggested to Lloyds Loading List Global Freight Awards that we have an award for outstanding commitment by an operations person during the pandemic).
We’re now in a more stable period (actually the calm before the storm) as we move into very busy period from September, when the logistics infrastructure is going to be stretched again, on imports in particular, as air freight space tightens (think i-Phone 12, Sony Playstation 5 and rising PPE demand as face coverings become mandatory in workplaces and other settings across Europe).
So in July, we decided it was time to give our website a complete refresh. Every single page has been updated, we’ve also added our latest customer testimonials and so we’re ready, willing and able to create new success stories for customers who are keen take action and lower their freight costs without risking delivery performance.
We also provide expert advice on all matters logistics and Customs which will be really valuable as we move into what will surely be a very challenging economic landscape for many UK businesses, and that’s before we even mention the dreaded BREXIT word, which looks to be going to the wire. According to Radio 4 this morning, David Frost, our chief negotiator says that significant gaps between EU and UK teams still remain, which is a major concern, given the lack of preparedness of UK companies for a hard BREXIT and the lack of support for SME traders only experienced in intra-EU trade (withdrawal of Transitional Simplified Procedures being a prime example).
In many ways, the current economic environment reminds me of the year we launched SCL (2010), when we were facing the global financial crisis, and we were able to help many customers to get a real grip on their costs and make considerable savings at exactly the right moment. The only difference now is that this is far worse, demand is very weak and logistics costs for many have risen because of capacity issues, especially from the US and China, many customers have just lost all control of their costs in their desire to just take delivery.
So, it really is time to act, there's no time to waste. Please do drop me a line or call me and I’d be happy to see if we can help you. We may both learn something:)