With the complex changes to the UK-EU border, exporters and freight forwarders are having to adapt to a very different system and many consignments and drivers are being held up around the UK and EU because of incorrect documents.
Lloyds Loading List reported: Grant Liddell, Business Development Director at Metro Shipping commented that the new changes: “…make it arguably simpler to send something from the UK to Ghana now than it is to send something to Germany.”
Liddell continued: “The new regulations add complexity and process, which increases time, resource needs, and costs. And it’s not just about ensuring compliance. Our objective is to find a way to support our customers, whilst keeping their customers happy and delivering as close to the level of service standards as pre-Brexit.”
“Under the new rules, shipments should be pre-cleared and rules of origin will be enforced, with EU officials on the lookout for third-country products and components – which is why it is critical that all commercial invoices carry an appropriate declaration of origin in the specified format that we have advised over recent months.”
Prior to January 1st, many companies tried to inform their clients, however, director of UK freight forwarder Davies Turner & Co, Alan Williams, said there were still a significant level of unpreparedness, especially among EU-based companies.
“We have been surprised just how un-prepared both European (EU-based) hauliers and (EU-based) exporters are; we expected far more compliance regarding paperwork than we got. The time spent checking and getting the correct information is causing all deliveries to be delayed by at least four days. Export is running much better as we don’t load or depart our trailers until paperwork is complete thus giving it clear route.”
The Times reported, quoting a ‘source close to the Cabinet Office’. This past month, 1 in 5 lorries have been rejected because of incorrect paperwork or drivers not producing negative COVID-19 tests. Logistics groups have now been put on high alert by officials at the Cabinet Office’s border and protocol delivery group.
Speaking of the shortage of trained staff, Liddell added: “The shortfall in customs brokers is massive and has left many shippers unable to find the support they need. EU border authorities insist that trucks arriving from Britain have been almost totally non-compliant in terms of permits and paperwork and have been sending non-compliant trucks back to the UK, yet many exporters are struggling to acquire the required transit documents, because of a shortage of agents with the authority to issue them.
“Transit documents, which allow goods to enter the European Union without delay require Custom’s authorisation and a financial guarantee, to cover any taxes or duties on the goods being moved — but they have almost all been committed and firms wanting to apply for a transit guarantee or increase the size of their existing one have struggled because of delays at HMRC.”