The Global Logistics Crisis and What UK Retailers Can Do About It

The world is currently experiencing a crisis in the shipment of goods and it’s affecting UK businesses more than most. A combination of Brexit, Covid-19 and red tape have brought supply chains to a grinding halt, and with Christmas just around the corner, it’s a major concern for retailers.

At ILG we’re working closely with our customers to minimise the impact of the delays. But why is this happening now and how can you best manage the crisis?

Perfect storm

The problem can be traced back to before the pandemic. With the benefit of hindsight, there were growing weaknesses in the global supply chain that may have looked manageable at the time but became unmanageable in the light of Covid.

With e-commerce booming, consumer demand at the end of 2019 was at an all-time high. In the UK, the haulage industry came into the pandemic already under pressure. Lockdown turned the screw, triggering a steeper rise in online shopping and accelerating a growing shortage of lorry drivers, brought on by Brexit, the IR35 tax regulation and slow processing of new driver applications.

Prior to the pandemic, there were around 600,000 lorry drivers working in the UK, a shortfall of around 60,000, according to the Road Haulage Association. In the last two years that shortfall has grown to around 100,000. Drivers have been retiring or leaving for alternative careers and not enough have been coming on board at the bottom of the ladder.

To compound the delays, some of the world’s biggest ports were forced to close this year due to Covid outbreaks, leaving cargo ships anchored at sea, unable to unload for weeks. In August, a terminal at the third largest port in the world, Ningbo-Zhoushan in China, had to close for a month, causing a knock-on effect through other Chinese ports and adding to the backlog still being felt from the Suez blockage in March.

It was a perfect storm of swelling demand, plunging supply and major hold-ups.

Impact on retailers

For UK retailers, the crisis is having a double impact of extensive delays and soaring prices. This month we’ve received two shipments from China that were booked in April. That’s a five-month turnaround on a shipment that would normally take a few weeks. Another shipment booked in June is yet to arrive.

With everyone fighting to secure what little supply they can find, prices are going up on average £500 every two weeks. This has caught many people off guard.

Some of the world’s biggest brands have already declared that there will be shortages at Christmas and some distribution orders will not be fulfilled. And with Chinese New Year bringing its usual slowdown in January, things aren’t expected to improve until the end of Q1 2022. Even that is looking optimistic. We could well be looking at Christmas 2022 before things return to normal.

How to manage the crisis?

Our conversations with customers revolve around managing the crisis rather than finding solutions. In truth, there is no overnight solution. Eradication of the Covid threat, a revision of UK law and a streamlining of the driver qualification process will all make a positive difference, but will all take time.

In the meantime, it’s a case of being aware of the situation, managing your customers’ expectations and making sure your processes are as efficient as possible, so there are no additional delays.

Number one – get your shipment spec exactly right before submitting it. Any late changes will cause new delays, which will be magnified several times over in the current climate.

Number two – give us more notice. Shipments from China and India currently need two to three weeks’ notice rather than the usual one, so try to work to that schedule if you can.

Number three – as most quotes are only issued on a two-week basis, be prepared to book on provisional rates, so that you’re ready to go as soon as your shipment becomes available.

We’re aware that this is far from comforting news for our customers but it’s a global situation that, like Covid, we’re stuck with and must learn to live with. Along the way, we are constantly monitoring the situation, looking for solutions and helping our customers to keep their customers satisfied. It requires patience, understanding and a strong nerve but we’ll get there.

If you have any questions or need advice, we’re always here to help. Please do contact us on 0844 264 8000.

Brexit and the Road to Poland – Part 3

The twists and turns involved in establishing a warehouse within the EU.

Part 3 – The client’s tale

By Nick Pecorelli, Founder, Little Green Radicals

My business, Little Green Radicals, sells organic, Fairtrade clothing for babies and children worldwide. Everything is manufactured in India and prior to Brexit we brought all our stock into the UK, from where we could move it freely into the EU – no duty, no paperwork.

The UK and EU each comprise about 40% of our business and in Europe, Germany is our biggest market, so we decided quite early in the Brexit journey that we would want a warehouse inside the EU, preferably close to Germany. We started talking to ILG about a year and a half ago, before the original withdrawal was agreed.

Nevertheless, the terms of the Brexit deal didn’t become clear until this January. Suddenly we started incurring duty at 10%, delivery and fulfilment costs shot up because of all the paperwork, deliveries were delayed and additional charges started being levied on us and our customers that we had not been made fully aware of. It put us in an unsustainable position.

So it made total sense for us to set up inside the EU as quickly as possible and fortunately ILG were working hard to get the warehouse in Wroclaw ready.

Doubling up on orders

We had already started making changes in preparation. We knew there was the possibility of duty, so we had two orders for everything coming out of India, one for the UK and one for the EU. Any surplus will go to Poland where, being a bonded warehouse, we can keep it and only pay the duty as and when we need to bring it into the UK.

But all this extra stock management has involved a lot of analysis. We now carry out stock analysis on a weekly basis, whereas before it was every couple of months. That’s due to the sheer amount of stock we’re having to carry overall, and that in turn will add significantly to our cost base.

There has been a lot of additional admin too, like setting up VAT registrations in every country we’re selling to, re-evaluating all our postage and delivery charges, working out with ILG which courier services could get to our customers and, on the basis of all these factors, deciding which countries we could viably sell to.

Some countries present more difficulties than others and we’ve had to vary our decisions from one country to another, such as whether we deliver duty paid or making the customer pay the duty. Each country has its own way of doing things and we’ve had to learn as we’ve gone along. It’s taken a lot of time and cost.

The benefits of keeping stock in the EU

January and February were a turbulent couple of months. Our EU market had to shrink considerably, from 40% to 20-25%, plus we had higher costs and lots more work for the customer services team to do. But having a warehouse in Poland ameliorates all that.

Brexit has increased the amount of bureaucracy we have to deal with and we have the complexity of split stock management, but being in Poland means we can shed those costs associated with moving stock from the UK and can provide a better service to Europe than we would have done historically. It’s certainly quicker.

Paradoxically, Brexit has forced us to invest in Europe, to put in extra resources and effort, to make the most of having stock there. We’ll have a separate EU website and will do more business with Zalando, the German e-commerce platform.

If we’d had to do it all ourselves, the cost would have been prohibitive and the process would have tied us up in knots. To have a third party you’ve worked with before do that for you is a massive relief.

I think we have a good future. We’re in a good place as a brand, we have a loyal customer base and I think we’ll grow very well inside the EU. But it’s certainly been hard earned.

Brexit and the Road to Poland – Part 2

Our decision to open a warehouse in Wroclaw, Poland, was signed off in September 2020 and I was assigned to manage the project the following month.

Read more

Brexit and the Road to Poland – Part 1

In January 2020, with one year left until the UK left the EU, we made the decision to prepare a contingency plan in the event of a hard Brexit.

Read more

Thinking of moving stock to the EU? We’re ready to help you. Call ILG on 0844 264 8000 or email brexit@ilguk.com.

Brexit and the Road to Poland – Part 2

The twists and turns involved in establishing a warehouse within the EU.

Part 2 – Setting up shop

By Darren Cobby, Project Manager, ILG

Our decision to open a warehouse in Wroclaw, Poland, was signed off in September 2020 and I was assigned to manage the project the following month. Up to this point, my main role as Project Manager for ILG had been overseeing the smooth opening of new accounts. Poland, I quickly learned, would be like doing all that over an assault course.

Unfamiliar hazards and obstacles cropped up frequently, not least the Covid-19 pandemic, which prevented me from visiting the site. Fortunately I had the support of Yusen Projects and Solutions in Poland, whose presence and experience on the ground was invaluable.

Learning the hard way

Work began in earnest in December. We had a 5,400m2 (58,000sq.ft) warehouse to design, including racking, office layout and a mezzanine, which would prove a major learning experience all of its own. We discovered that Polish regulations require the installation of a sprinkler system, which would not have been a requirement in the UK, so we had to rethink our initial design.

We had to wait nearly six weeks to get new drawings done but in the end we came up with a solution that made the sprinkler system much easier to configure while remaining fully compliant with all Polish regulatory guidance.

This sort of discrepancy was a common feature of the project. Everything from forklift licenses to locker room layouts presented new rules to learn and work with.

Pause and restart

The project had to pause for three or four weeks over Christmas and New Year as we all waited for details of the Brexit deal. By the second week of January, however, the picture had become clear and we were seeing a wave of client interest. My attention turned to matters like access control, the data and power layout, CCTV installation and completing the fit out and finish.

The new warehouse management system (WMS) gave me plenty to think about. Our IT support team wanted to send their choice of kit but the Polish team wanted to source something locally. We ended up agreeing that the majority will be sourced and installed locally, so it’s easier to fix. It’s up to our clients how they split stock but all they need is an EU web store and we’ll be able to tap that into our WMS.

By March I was picking up with the clients that Cliff Allen, our Head of Client Relationships, had brought on board. I began to work with them on decisions like how they planned to split orders and the documentation they needed. At the same time, preparing the warehouse had moved on to day-to-day concerns like cleaners, security, pest control and waste management.

The final push

April is when I’ll see light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be able to visit the site and start plotting where each account goes. The racking will be in, the data and power install will be complete and the office block and canteen will be built.

We have nine Polish staff, seconded from our UK workforce (a real asset – no work permits required!), going out to get everything ready for the opening on May 3rd. They’ll be assembling picking trolleys, labelling shelf locations and tote bins (8,500 in all) and taking delivery of all the packaging and consumables, carefully sourced to make sure they’re consistent with the UK packaging.

Come August I’ll be able to breathe more freely. The team will have found their feet, there’ll be a good volume of orders going out, we’ll have a new WMS system up and running and the warehouse will be filling towards capacity.

For our clients, the EU market will be viable again and they’ll be able to focus on maximising their European sales. It’s been a unique experience for me personally and I have had some steep hills to climb, but our hope is that investing the time of a collective team of eight people for the last six months will mean a much easier transition for our clients, and now we’ve got here, there’s no looking back.

Thinking of moving stock to the EU? We’re ready to help you. Call ILG on 0844 264 8000 or email brexit@ilguk.com.

Brexit and the Road to Poland – Part 1

The twists and turns involved in establishing a warehouse within the EU.

Part 1 – A Brexit contingency

By Mike Stephenson, Managing Director, ILG

In January 2020, with one year left until the UK left the EU, we made the decision to prepare a contingency plan in the event of a hard Brexit. Many of our clients have complex supply chains in and out of Europe. This was fine while we were in the EU, with no duty or customs checks adding cost and delays, but a hard Brexit, we realised, could leave some of them exposed.

One of the major benefits of ILG being owned by Yusen Logistics is that our parent company has operations in just about every country in Europe. So I was able to ask them for support in setting up an ILG warehouse, with all our brand values, offering the recognised ILG customer experience, within the EU.

Choosing a location

With access to Yusen Logistics’ European data and internal and consultative research resource, we launched a project. We were looking for a strategic location with access to a very flexible resource pool at reasonable cost, so that we could support our customers’ volume fluctuations in European markets and respond within 24 hours. Proximity to Germany was important too, as the second largest e-commerce consumer in Europe.

We looked at factors like population density, average age, unionisation, employee relations, militancy etc. After four months, we had our prime location: Wroclaw in western Poland.

Wroclaw is 80km from the German border, with easy access to Leipzig, where many carrier hubs are based. Poland is also where rail imports from China terminate. Yusen Logistics has a depot on the same estate, which would prove invaluable as we entered the next phase.

Setting a date

We signed off on Wroclaw in September 2020 and began work on preparing the site for an opening in March, details of which we’ll go into in Part 2. At this point we believed the UK Government was going to negotiate a sensible deal with the EU, but while uncertainty remained, we had to push the pause button while our clients waited to see what the deal would bring.

Come January 1st, it was clear that the Government had not secured a free trade deal at all and we had a wave of clients suddenly feeling the impact of double duty payments and customs delays, eager to take up the offer of space in Wroclaw. So it was full steam ahead once more, with a new opening date of May 3rd.

A new market opportunity

The benefit for our clients will be immense. If you have product manufactured in the EU, you can keep it in Europe without having to pay any import costs into the UK. Lead times on shipments to your customers are kept to a minimum because there are no customs protocols. Poland is also relaxing the need for UK companies to have a fiscal representation there.

Our decision to open a warehouse in Poland has been vindicated by the level of client uptake and new enquiries. We’ve got 11 clients moving with us to Wroclaw and we’ll be processing tens of thousands of orders per month from within the EU, including big deliveries to retailers around Europe. We expect the site to be at capacity by the end of the year.

What began as a defensive strategy for ILG and our clients is now turning into an exciting sales and marketing opportunity, opening up the European market. By 2025, we forecast that 30% of our overall business will come from Continental Europe and our clients are making similar predictions. If you haven’t yet made plans to move your stock to Europe, there is still time. But every day you wait could be costing money.

Thinking of moving stock to the EU? We’re ready to help you. Call ILG on 0844 264 8000 or email brexit@ilguk.com.

Ready for Brexit? Read our Checklist

Brexit is happening. With just days left until new rules and processes come into force on 31st December, all UK businesses that trade with the EU need to be prepared. ‘No-Deal’ is fast becoming a reality, bringing the prospect of border delays, stalled deliveries and extra regulations and costs.

To help you through the confusion and ensure you’re as prepared as possible, we’ve put together a useful list of your essential Brexit tasks.

Use the ILG Brexit Checklist to stay on top of all the latest requirements and regulations.

Are You Ready for a No-Deal Brexit?

On Thursday 10th September, we hosted our first webinar, tackling the main areas of concern as we approach that 31 December watershed. With hopes of a deal being struck by then looking increasingly forlorn, the Government has set a date of 15 October to complete talks, in order to leave time for businesses to prepare their supply chain for the changes to come.

The question is, what will those changes be?

A poll held among webinar attendees revealed that the two most pressing concerns are delays in the movement of goods and increases in taxes and tariffs on imports. With a panel of Brexit specialists selected for their expertise in supply chain, VAT and Customs, our aim was to offer some valuable advice and guidance on mitigating these areas of risk.

The webinar was hosted by Tom Ashley, Chief Operating Officer, ILG, and Tom was joined by a panel comprising: Simon Dixon, CEO and Founder, Hatmill; Mark Ellis, Indirect Tax Partner, BDO; James Colson, Astrazeneca Global Key Account Director, Yusen Logistics; and Sharon Murrell, Logistics & Compliance Manager, Yusen Logistics.

You can watch a recording of the full webinar below

Below is a summary of the main topics discussed

Protecting your supply chain
Simon Dixon, Hatmill

It’s important for businesses to recognise that they are one step in a long chain. Even if you manufacture and sell your products within the UK, there will be parts of your supply chain that are affected by Brexit. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the risks and where they lie.

Map all the touchpoints in your end-to-end supply chain that are likely to be affected. Include your suppliers in this exercise. As you go through your processes, from purchasing to processing to selling to dispatch, identify the risks. Eg disruptions to supply, pressure on cash flow, volatility in demand or higher freight costs.

Create several future scenarios to predict what could happen and how you might be able to mitigate against it. Test those scenarios against your current operation. Stockpiling, for example, could be a tactic, but it’s only a short-term one. Test each option rigorously to prepare the best strategy for your business. Then, if you can, repeat this process for your customers, suppliers and competitors. The more you can predict and prepare for your whole supply chain, the better placed you’ll be.

And with customers likely to be doing the same and researching their options, the volatility in demand will throw up opportunities for those who are best prepared. So treat the changes as a project – not business as usual. Have a plan, devote resources to it and follow the cycle of Plan-Do-Review.

Multiple stock locations?

One option is to split stock between the UK and EU. Simon offers this advice:

  1. Really understand your range, channels and customer base and ask yourself whether two sites is an appropriate strategy.
  2. Do you want those sites to be mirror images of each other or should you use one for fast moving goods and the other for slower moving stock?
  3. Be careful to control what’s being purchased for the two sites. Buyers tend to regard an increase in space as an invitation to buy more.

Getting smart with your VAT
Mark Ellis, BDO

Exports to the EU

Each EU country has its own VAT system and its own VAT rates: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vat-rates_en – you should now (i) calculate what rate of VAT will apply to the import of your goods into that country and (ii) what the rules are there for (a) paying the import VAT and (b) subsequently reclaiming it

In order to reclaim EU import VAT, you may need to register for VAT in the EU country of import and file local VAT returns there – apply now to get registered for VAT there in time for 1 January 2021

Some EU countries (eg Belgium) may require the appointment of a local fiscal representative in their country before allowing a non-EU business (ie a UK business from 1 January 2021) to register for VAT locally – where necessary, appoint a local fiscal representative now in order to obtain/maintain an EU country VAT registration

Imports into the UK

From 1 January 2021, UK import VAT can be paid to, and reclaimed from, HMRC via the same VAT return form under a scheme called postponed import VAT accounting – you should revise cashflow forecasts accordingly and understand the impact on the level of your UK import VAT/Customs Duty deferment guarantee (which will only need to cover UK Customs Duty in future).

On 11 April 2019, HMRC issued a statement that, with effect from 15 July 2019, UK import VAT paid can only be reclaimed by the ‘importer of record’ if they held ‘legal title’ to the goods (ie the ‘importer of record’ was also the ‘owner’ of the goods) at the time of their import into the UK – this HMRC edict will affect even more UK businesses from 1 January 2021.

On 20 July 2020, HMRC issued a statement that, from 1 January 2021, import of goods <£135 in value will attract ‘normal’ UK VAT, not import VAT, including goods <£15 in value (which can be imported VAT-free at present).

Managing the new Customs rules
Sharon Murrell and James Colson, Yusen Logistics

From 1st January 2021, new border controls will be implemented for Imports & Exports between the EU and UK and the UK Global Tariff will be in place.

Exports will be in line with Rest of World requirements from the 1st January and will require Customs Declarations and Safety & Security Declarations.

Imports will be introduced in a 3 phased approach.

Phase 1 – from Jan 2021

  • All Imports from clothing to electronics will need to prepare for basic Customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods. Importers will have up to six months to submit a declaration to HMRC paying the duty and VAT due. Subject to approvals.
  • Controlled goods (such as excise products) will require full standard declaration at time of import. Any inspections required to be completed will be done at the point of destination rather than the frontier.
  • Traders importing or exporting using the Common Transit will need to follow the Transit procedures as these will not be introduced in stages.

Phase 2 – from April 2021

  • All products from animal origin will require pre-notification and relevant health certificates (48 hours notice). Any inspections will be completed at point of destination.

Phase 3 – from July 2021

  • Traders will be required to complete full declarations (or simplified if authorised) at time of import.

All this will require a new border infrastructure, some of which will be located inland.

Additional grant funding of £50million will be made available to encourage the expansion of the Customs Intermediary Sector.

For details of these grants, click here.

What you should do now

  • Consider how you will complete your customs formalities from 1st January, will you be completing yourselves or will you require support from a Customs intermediary?
  • For non-controlled goods, decide whether you will defer declarations and duty payments for six months from import date (obtain the necessary authorisations or intermediary to do this) or complete full declarations.
  • Decide how you will account for UK VAT. If you are UK registered, will you complete postponed VAT accounting? If using deferred declarations, you will only be able to use postponed VAT accounting
  • Review your trading terms with suppliers and customers. Know who is responsible for customs declarations at origin and destination.
  • Check your commodity codes and duty liability
  • Check documentation requirements

Continuing to deliver
Tom Ashley, ILG

Much of the legislation around Brexit is complicated and riddled with jargon. ILG and the Yusen family are here to support our clients through the new customs regulations and provide solutions to the supply chain challenges.

We have been busy researching the most optimum location for ILG to open our own facility to serve Continental Europe and have narrowed down the options to Poland and Czech Republic. We have based our search on the following considerations:

  • Labour rates – are they competitive?
  • Flexible skilled employee availability – could we scale up quickly?
  • Access to carrier hubs and costs – do they provide a good range of options?
  • Facility costs and standards – do they meet the ILG service standards?

Yusen Logistics has facilities in both countries, which we can lean on as required. We will be making our decision on 23 October, so before they we want to hear from you about your requirements. Ultimately, client demand will drive the location and size of the site we choose.

If you have any questions or concerns about Brexit, please call ILG and one of our team will happily talk you through the steps you should take. We are ready to help all our clients through this period of transition and establish a smooth, efficient import/export process as quickly as possible.

If you need to talk to us, please contact:

Fulfilment clients – Cliff Allen – Cliff@ilguk.com
Delivery clients – Chris Ellard – Chrise@ilguk.com

They Think it’s all Dover… are you Prepared for When the Brexit Whistle Blows?

By Tom Ashley, Client Services & IT Director

Article updated July 2020.

Back in 2018, at the height of Brexit uncertainty, I attended a seminar that helped crystalise the main areas of concern for UK businesses currently importing or exporting goods to Europe. There were a number of points that came out of the seminar that are still relevant and interesting today, which I would like to pass on.

The seminar was hosted by ILG’s new owner, Yusen Logistics, with guest speakers James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), and Peter Ward, CEO of the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA).

With the UK still sitting in its transitional period, there are five possible scenarios for how Brexit will progress, four of which end in no deal. While this may not necessarily mean there is an 80 per cent chance of the UK leaving the EU with no deal, it does show that there is sufficient risk of a ‘no deal’ outcome for us all to be planning for it.

Possible scenarios for the next phase of Brexit

Our thanks and acknowledgement go to the Institute for Government for the above diagram

Possible impacts of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on the logistics sector

The logistics sector will find itself at the forefront of any waves coming from a ‘no deal’ departure from the EU. We’re advising our customers to pay careful consideration to the following areas of potential impact:

Customs and administration

HMRC currently handles around 90 million import/export declarations per year relating to territories outside the EU. If EU shipments have to be included after Brexit, that number would increase to 300 million. How will the system cope with that rise in volume, and how will your business systems cope?

Port congestion

More administration at customs will cause congestion at the ports. How will the resultant delays affect the movement of your goods and what can you do to mitigate against delays?

Transport and licensing

Changes in rules governing vehicles and driver approval could lead to a transport shortage. If you have all your dispatch eggs in one basket, this could pose a serious threat to delivery times.

Increased lead times

Delays at the ports and a shortage of transport options will lead to increased lead times, affecting the delivery terms you can offer your customers. How will this affect your value proposition and what can you do about it? What discussions do you need to have with your supply chain around lead times and stock building?

Warehouse space

With increased lead times, the ‘just in time’ supply chain model may change, forcing retailers to carry more stock. If you decide to stockpile, do you have access to more warehouse space, are you geared up for the extra stock management, can your suppliers meet your increased stock requirement and what will the effect be on your P&L?

Recruitment and staff retention

If Brexit brings about a change in the rights of EU nationals to work in the UK, how much of your workforce will be affected? And how will it affect your ability to recruit in the future?

Rising costs

How exposed are you financially to a fall in the value of the pound? New duties and taxes could also come in, pushing up your costs and forcing a rethink of your pricing model. You may find that the terms you currently offer on delivery and returns become unsustainable and need to be revised. What effect will that have on your sales?

How is ILG preparing for a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

We’ve been looking closely at all these threats for some time now and have been putting contingencies in place to help our customers ride out any impacts from a ‘no deal’ Brexit with minimum disruption.

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about ILG’s specific Brexit preparation processes.

Warehousing

Our warehouse capacity has expanded considerably in the last five years and now that we are part of Yusen Logistics, our warehousing capability extends to offer a Global capability. This allows us to support growth in stock holdings as well as a allowing you to split your stock profile between the UK and Europe if that’s your strategy.

Admin resources

Because we already ship to the rest of the world, our experience of the customs administration outside the EU enables us to assess the possible increase in customs requirements in the case of no deal. We have made sure we have the resources to handle them and can offer customers first-hand advice.

Human resources

There are a number of initiatives taking place, aimed at protecting the rights of non-UK nationals to work and live in the UK post-Brexit. We are keeping a close eye on this situation and working with employees to offer them support and advice.

Transport

We are autonomous in our choice of transport and delivery providers and have good relationships with a range of different carriers. If there are backlogs at the ports, we can switch to airfreight to make sure our customers’ goods reach their destination on time.

Lead times

We are talking to our suppliers to get a clear picture of the likely outcome of a ‘no deal’ scenario on lead times. Our use of different transport modes enables us to mitigate against increased lead times, finding the fastest delivery solution from a choice of options.

How can you prepare your brand’s logistics for a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

While we have the resources in place to cope with the expected impacts of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, and are working with the FTA and UKWA to lobby Government to secure the best deal for our industry, we cannot do this alone. Knowledge is power and every UK business that trades with the EU would be well advised to carry out its own research and work together with any third parties to ensure there are no gaps in their Brexit strategy.

Awareness is the first priority. The more you know and understand the implications of Brexit, the better you can prepare. The efficiency and accuracy of your admin is important; for example, by making sure your commodity codes are kept up to date, you will help to avoid inaccurate customs declarations, saving a lot of time and money. Similarly, by keeping your logistics partner informed of any planned increases in stock, you can avoid the risk of space being unavailable.

Below are some useful links to more information on this subject. I strongly recommend that you read them and talk to your logistics partner about any concerns you may have. Together we can plan your path through Brexit so that ‘no deal’ doesn’t have to mean ‘no business’.

More information:

British Chambers of Commerce Guide

Government guidance

EU guidance