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How is Brexit impacting the haulage market for UK to EU Imports / Exports?


How is Brexit impacting the haulage market for UK to EU Imports / Exports?

The impacts of Brexit for UK to EU imports and exports have been rather over-shadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We saw extensive press coverage of the huge delays for Road Hauliers before Christmas when the borders were closed but we haven’t seen anywhere this level of press coverage about the impact of Brexit road haulage since.

Here at Enabling Procurement understanding the challenges our Clients face and developing strategies to overcome them is a priority.

In early January we checked the mood and impact on the transport/road haulage market post-Brexit so far, take a look at what we found…

The majority of Road Hauliers and Freight Forwarders that we spoke to had already been providing their customers with customs clearance services prior to Brexit for trade outside of the EU. As a result of Brexit they ramped up this service to cope with the new requirements. 67% said that they received between 20% and 50% more requests for customs clearance services as a result of Brexit with 33% reporting an increase of up to 20%.

There was a 3-way split in terms of the additional admin burden incurred. Some were struggling with the requirements claiming that it added more than an additional 30 minutes of their time per booking whereas an equal amount quoted 15 to 30 minutes and less than 15 minutes respectively. Those with on-line tools to assist customers to meet the requirements were incurring significantly less administration time, however insufficient customer knowledge in meeting the new requirement for documentation was frequently the reason for the additional burden. Some companies had systems that were directly linked to the government system guaranteeing that paperwork would be sufficient which is a clear benefit.
In addition to increased admin time we asked if Road Hauliers were experiencing delays to journey times and why. The majority reported delays of less than 1 hour. Causes for these delays were incorrect paperwork, Covid-19 tests, the need for drivers to call ahead before reaching some ports (taking 20 to 30 minutes) and finally any additional road congestion.

In terms of pricing there could be little long-term impact for large consignments as the fixed costs for customs declaration services and additional safety and security declarations are a very small percentage of the overall cost. It is the directly incurred costs that are the ones to watch. If delays increase or hauliers are less favourable to UK to EU routes then costs for equipment hire or 3rd party haulier services could increase as availability decreases.

In Summary

Those hauliers who are asset heavy with good systems seem to be the least impacted by the new requirements, however this one to watch in the coming months. Undoubtedly teething problems should become easier as clarity evolves and experience is gained but the UK has experienced a honeymoon period in January and this is going to change. The volume of shipments were low in January often due to stock piling in December and for some goods there is going to be a tightening of the regulations from April, so as volume increases and restrictions tighten could we see more of an impact?

So how does this affect my supply chain and what should I do?

As the situation remains uncertain and is still evolving it would be prudent to develop your immediate Plan B and also your longer-term strategy so that you can minimise the impact of an issue should one occur and in the longer term strengthen your supply chain. Even if you are well prepared others who are not can still impact your supply chain through delays at ports and even directly to your shipment where you do not occupy a full load.

Undertaking a strategic project like this can be daunting and especially so during these unprecedented times where resource is stretched and volumes uncertain. If you need additional expertise or resource to review your options then Enabling Procurement will be your perfect partner. From sourcing products locally to reviewing your transport arrangements we have the expertise and experience to find the best solutions for you