The 52,000 vacancies in the transport and storage industry, mainly HGV drivers, have put an immense strain on imports this Christmas season, but it is not the only problem that businesses are facing.
In an ONS survey, 47% of respondents cited a change in transportation costs being a factor that affected their imports in the last year. Meanwhile, 40% of businesses mentioned additional paperwork and 32% said that customs duties and levies were issues that affected imports. With the second phase of Brexit occurring in January, these issues will only become more pronounced. That is why Aimee Spilsbury at Speedy Freight has revealed the best advice for businesses to prepare for a post-Brexit Christmas.
Declaring imports are required immediately upon entry into the UK. This is opposed to the 6 month postponement scheme that has been the norm. Moreover, from January 2022, cargo will be admitted to the British ports via the pre-lodgement or temporary storage model.
The Pre-lodgement works by ensuring that the export and import paperwork are both completed before the vehicle checks in at the port of departure. On the other hand, the temporary storage model where containers can be shipped and even landed before they are customs cleared. This will vary from port to port, so this must also be taken into consideration.
Will you need paperwork to import stock from the EU?
In short, yes. Drivers will need to have a passport (minimum of 6 months validation), the currency of the destination country (this may not be an EU member state), and Customs declaration paperwork. No order must be shipped until your delivery company has customs authorization. This means that drivers will not be allowed to board a vessel or train to the continent without the correct paperwork.
Whilst your goods may be collected without the customs paperwork, the driver will not be able to exit the port without the specific documentation. They will be unable to leave or enter the UK. With ports like Felixstowe becoming increasingly backed up with cargo, this may cause delays that you can ill afford. So make sure you prepare your orders and have the requisite paper on hand well in advance.
Will there be additional charges?
Certain goods being transported will be subject to a duty charge. To pay these additional charges, you must have a duty deferment account set up so that you can pay the HMRC and get your goods cleared through customs. This helps the delivery proceed quickly and without incident. After all, with there being a sparsity of HGV drivers and with ports being as congested as they are, you do not want there to be any delays to your product.
How should you prepare for increased order volume?
With increased consumer interest, businesses should consider how they will deal with the increase in order volume. Businesses should have already ordered additional stock for the Christmas sales, but they may also want to make sure their supply chain can handle the increased activity efficiently. This could be as simple as notifying suppliers in advance about upcoming promotions and utilising a reliable delivery service to get your stock on time.
However, regular logistics companies may fail to keep up with demand due to the lack of HGV drivers. In this case, utilising delivery companies that use smaller vehicles or express courier services should be the next steps taken.
What is the Post-Christmas Bump?
Seasonal shopping doesn’t end on December 25th, boxing day and January sales will see just as much consumer interest as Christmas itself. The after-Christmas sales could be a good opportunity to sell any additional stock you have leftover, or it could be an opportunity to get in more stock to keep up with demand. Preparing for either eventuality is important, which is why maintaining a good relationship with an express freight logistic service is key. They can help alleviate the burden of traditional logistics companies by rapidly transporting stock around the country.
These delays aren’t going away anytime soon either. Experts do not expect the port backlog to clear until early 2022 and with the ‘Great Resignation’ in full swing, there will still be an ongoing shortage of HGV drivers. That’s why this year, more so than any other year, you need to prepare your logistics well in advance.