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As we enter a new month we look back on January with a certain amount of relief that it is over, and with renewed optimism in the logistics industry’s learning post Brexit.

Following the long-awaited conclusion of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on Christmas Eve 2020, and with just one week’s notice of what this agreement would bring, it was inevitable that the challenges would be considerable. Despite careful preparation by operators like us, SAE Logistics, ready for both a no deal and a trade deal exit, it is fair to say that the deal came too late. Despite logistics and haulage businesses doing as much as they could, ultimately, we had under a week to amend systems and update paperwork.

There were many unexpected challenges and a certain amount of global chaos to negotiate as we worked around the clock for our customers to help ensure both imports and exports were delivered as expected.

Some of the main issues faced included:

  • Delivering to Ireland in accordance with the new Northern Ireland protocol – operators now need an Irish EORI number – or XI number as it is now called.
  • Issues with HMRC site crashing – making the EORI numbers difficult to obtain
  • The addition of numbers to the standard VAT number (now required by EU)
  • Temporary suspension of services across some carriers
  • Full service suspensions of other carriers without notice
  • The change in customs regulations for International clients (related to VAT) fulfilling goods from fulfilling in the UK and exporting to the EU

Here are some of the key reasons problems are occurring:

  1. The change in requirements needs to be facilitated by updates to existing technology which takes time.
  2. It is incredibly busy at the ports so road-by-Europe is problematic – with new customs issues and COVID-19 testing slowing things down further – the logistics industry is under considerable pressure.
  3. International clients have only truly understood the customers’ impact retrospectively

It’s not all doom and gloom!  Our expert team have been rising to the challenge and have some top tips on how to smooth the transition of moving goods to and from the EU

Ensure you have your EORI number and apply for your XI now if you deliver to Ireland.

  • Send by air, not road.
  • Use a logistics supplier who can help you with customs documentation.
  • Hold more stock if your suppliers are EU based to safeguard your business against future delays.
  • Use logistics providers who use multiple carriers to distribute goods. So if one fails or stops/reduces services, you have multiple alternative choices.
  • Communicate with your clients, inform them in advance of potential delays. 24hr delivery to the EU – which was standard – has become a huge challenge.

 The sudden departure from the EU has made the last month difficult for sure, but any good logistics provider should be able to guide clients through this difficult phase. At SAE we are proud to be known for our “can-do” attitude and exemplary record for problem solving.  This is no different to challenges we have faced in the past, and will continue to use our expertise and flexibility to ensure minimal disruption to our customers. 

For more information on how we might be able to assist you please contact us on 01895 825258.